Asian Art Histories

Dissertation Title

The Rise And Fall Of Social Realist Art In Singapore

Dissertation Abstract

This thesis discusses the social, political, economic and cultural that influenced the emergence and subsequent decline of social realist art in Singapore. Although social realist art originated from Europe, Chinese immigrant artists and those who were Chinese educated dominated its practice in Singapore. The influence of Communist ideology from China as well as racial communalism was also associated with the rise of social realist art in Singapore. Artists such as Koeh Sia Yong, Lee Boon Wan, Ong Tian Soo and Chua Mia Tee were pioneer social realist artists of Singapore. They organised art societies that drove the social realist art movement which was active in the 1950s and early 1960s. However the conditions for the rise and fall of this form of art were dependent on the political motivations of ruling parties. The art form reached its peak in the 1950s but declined in the 1960s due to certain political actions.