TAN SWIE HIAN
B. Indonesia, 1943
Inscribed and dated in Chinese characters “Dedicated to Yao Tuo 1977” with one seal of the artist on lower left
Chinese ink on rice paper
70 x 45 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
“I create to show how a free mind functions. To me, it is like a hummingbird flying forwards, backwards, sideways, as it soars, swoops or remains stationary in the air. Art could be the rainbow that leads to the ultimate great white light of man and the universe.” – Tan Swie Hian
Tan Swie Hian is one of Singapore’s most prolific and acclaimed multidisciplinary and multilingual artists. A self-taught poet, philosopher and artist of a variety of mediums, Tan has received recognition across his varied creative output. Described by Time magazine as “Singapore’s Renaissance Man” in 2003, Tan has received many international honours, including being named as an Officer of the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur. In 1987, Tan received the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to visual arts in Singapore.
Born in 1943 in Pulau Halang, Indonesia, Tan Swie Hian moved to Singapore with his family at the age of three. He attended the Chinese High School for his primary and secondary education, and went on to Nanyang University, graduating with a BA in Modern Languages and Literature in 1968. Throughout his school days, Tan would pursue his creative passions, picking up knowledge and teaching himself as he went along.