Cultural Medallion sees 2 winners this year
Sean Au
Friday, September 24, 1999

A literary writer and a painter have been awarded this year's Cultural Medallion.

The National Arts Council also awarded five arts practitioners with the Young Artist Awards.

The awards were conferred by Information and the Arts Minister Lee Yock Suan at a ceremony Friday evening.

One of the winners of the medallion is 66-year-old Abdul Ghani Bin Abdul Hamid.

He has had a varied career as a bilingual writer, critic, painter and theatre activist.

Mr Abdul Ghani has written hundreds of poems in Malay and English, published eight anthologies of his poetry, and had his poems included in 19 other anthologies in Singapore and Malaysia since 1948.

Said Mr Abdul Ghani:

"I try to increase my contribution within my means.

At the same time if I've the chance to invite youngsters to come forward and give their contribution much better."

Artist Chua Ek Kay, 52, combines the richness of Chinese sensibility and Western aesthetics in his work, which is a perfect display of the artistry of a modern Singaporean.

Mr Chua's paintings have been displayed in several solo and group exhibitions in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia and the United States.

Said Mr Chu:

"This Cultural Medallion award is the highest recognition that has been given to me.

So I take this award as an encouragement that I'll work harder and also to contribute further for the arts in Singapore."

The two men received the Cultural Medallion from Information and the Arts Minister Lee Yock Suan at a ceremony attended by some 200 supporters of the arts, including some former award recipients.

Five artists were also presented the Young Artist Award which the National Arts Council confers in recognition of artistic excellence.

Said the chairman of the National Arts Council, Liu Thai Ker:

"Investing in our artistic talents will undoubtedly give added impetus to the goal of developing a nation of creative people.

This is the extra competitive edge that is needed as we move on to the next millennium."

With an expected increase in funding for the arts, the new millennium will mark the beginning of a more exciting cultural life in Singapore.