The late S. Namasivayam was a central figure to the development of figural art in Singapore as a founding member of Singaporean art collective, Group 90. The group was significant as it was arguably the very first of its kind in the region, focusing exclusively on the practice of life drawing and providing it with a platform that facilitated the exploration of figural art. With the group, he exhibited alongside prominent artists like Chia Wai Hon, Sim Tong Khern, and Brother Joseph McNally the Founder of LASALLE College of the Arts, in key exhibitions such as Group 90’s inaugural exhibition FIGURAMA in 1990.
Namasivayam was a Colombo Plan Scholar and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Figure Painting/Drawing (1961). He lectured at the Singapore National Institute of Education from 1962 to 1981, at the Singapore Educational Media Service (Ministry of Education) from 1982 to 1985, and at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts as a Fine Arts and Specialist Lecturer in Figure Drawing from 1987 to 2001. At LASALLE, he introduced ‘‘Life Drawing’’ as a subject into the Fine Arts Curriculum in 1987. His works are collected by several private collections in Singapore, United Kingdom, Japan and, America.
VIDEO PART 1 CLICK HERE: Presentation by Yang Yilin about the production of the nude in 20th century Singapore and Group 90, the first informal arts group to focus exclusively on the practice of life drawing and the figure in Singapore in this video.
VIDEO PART 2 CLICK HERE: Presentation by Jolene Teo from Yeo Workshop about the research the gallery has done on Namasivayam using various historical sources and methods, featuring archival materials such as the artist’s sketchbooks and personal notes.
Points of Articulation, 22th December 2019
Points of Articulation wishes to provoke new inquiries into Singapore’s art history as well as to acknowledge Namasivayam’s significant contributions. In conjunction with the exhibition, Yeo Workshop has invited 4 contemporary artists (Alvin Ong, Jason Wee, Mike HJ Chang, and Milenko Prvački) to create new works in response to Namasivayam’s works and writings. These works are being shown at the space operated by our venue partner Art Outreach, and this section hopes to illustrate how figurative art has evolved and continues to remain relevant today.KNOW MORE
Exhibition Text for Solamalay Namasivayam: Points of Articulation- Download PDF