Forum: Singaporeans also play an equal and important role in cherishing artists, Forum News & Top Stories

We thank The Sunday Times (Showcasing the legacy of arts pioneers, June 20) for its editorial on the Cultural Medallion.

We agree it is important to highlight the contributions of artists who have been conferred the nation’s highest cultural honour, and ensure this cultural heritage will enrich future generations of Singaporeans.

On the Cultural Medallion Fund mentioned, the National Arts Council (NAC) would like to assure your readers that we take a customised and flexible approach with the funding of proposed projects. 

These projects have ranged from public presentations to community initiatives and the documentation of a lifetime of works. Our colleagues are always ready to assist Cultural Medallion artists in tapping the fund to bring their projects to fruition.

We agree that one way to honour these artists’ legacy is to build archives that the public can access.

NAC has commissioned the upcoming gallery at The Arts House to showcase these artists and their works. This gallery will give the broader Singaporean public a deeper understanding of how they have contributed to the nation’s cultural scene.

Over the past year, NAC has begun work with the National Library Board (NLB) to systematically catalogue works and key documents from our leading artists in an integrated digital repository.

The repository will be made available to the public and will build cultural appreciation in Singapore, across art forms and ethnic communities.

We have been talking with some of our Cultural Medallion artists who have welcomed this development and will reach out to the rest in stages.

We expect the first stage of updates to be ready in 2023, with more materials progressively made available on NLB’s websites.

As the government agency that champions the arts, NAC will take the lead on this. But for our artists to be cherished, Singaporeans play an equal, if not more important, role.

We invite all Singaporeans to discover our distinctive and diverse arts and appreciate how our leading artists have enriched our lives, brought communities together and helped shape our collective culture.

May Tan

Director, Education and Development

National Arts Council