Cultural treasure trove opens at The Arts House
An interactive showcase recognising the achievements of those who have been honoured with Singapore’s highest accolade for the arts – the Cultural Medallion – has opened at The Arts House. Our Cultural Medallion Story will also serve as a great new venue for book launches, talks, exhibitions and workshops.
The Cultural Medallion has been conferred on 130 artists since its inception in 1979 under the auspices of the National Arts Council (NAC). Recipients can access up to $80,000 for projects that enrich the cultural landscape and encourage the general public to engage with the arts.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Edwin Tong, described Cultural Medallion recipients as “cultural heroes” and expressed hopes that Our Cultural Medallion Story will “inspire, motivate and deepen our understanding of who we are as Singaporeans and as a nation.” His sentiments were supported by poet and academic Edwin Thumboo, a recipient of the Cultural Medallion in its inaugural year. “Art, in whatever its form,” he said, “helps to define the texture, the rhythm, the symbolism, the energy of life in a society.”
NAC Chief Executive Officer Rosa Daniel linked Our Cultural Medallion Story to initiatives by the National Library Board (NLB) to document Singapore’s artistic heritage and make it accessible to the public. Accessibility is the watchword, and to attract as many people as possible, the showcase is open daily from 10am to 7pm and admission is free for all.
Visitors get a Near Field Communication (NFC) token to interact with the exhibits and explore the artistic paths trodden by Cultural Medallion recipients in literature, film, and the visual and performing arts.
Selected content for the physical showcase has been adapted for a digital platform. The Our Cultural Medallion Story website hosts a treasure trove of information and images, linking to relevant resources held by NAC, NLB, National Archives Singapore and Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay. The site will be updated with details of upcoming programmes and new works by Cultural Medallion recipients.
Meanwhile, NAC is working with NLB to develop an integrated national digital storehouse of local arts content called the Singapore Online Arts Repository (SOAR). The repository will be released in phases and highlights feature on the Our Cultural Medallion Story website.