Born in Singapore on 28 September 1921, Lim Tze Peng is one of Singapore’s most significant artists and a living legend. Renowned for his Chinese ink drawings and paintings of post-independence Singapore, he also practices Chinese calligraphy. Alongside numerous solo and group exhibitions, both local and international, his masterpieces are exhibited in the Singapore Art Museum and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and are part of many prestigious collections. Lim has been bestowed several awards including the Special Prize at the Commonwealth Art Exhibition in England in 1977 and the prestigious Cultural Medallion in Singapore in 2003. In May 2012, he broke records with the sale of his works at a Christies auction in Hong Kong.
Even though Lim was born and educated in Singapore, his diligent studies and daily dedication to practicing his craft enabled him to excel in the Chinese ink tradition. His new ink works are deeply rooted in tradition, yet, they have a palpably contemporary feel and can be enjoyed by those who are schooled in other traditions.
Lim is famously known for his Chinese ink drawings and paintings of Chinatown and the Singapore River produced in the early 1980s after having embarked on his artistic journey in the 1950s. His paintings of these landmarks signified and reflected the change these prime locations were undergoing during urban development in Singapore. These paintings are a memory of what Lim saw as a Singaporean watching his kampong transform into an urbanized capital, and documented the cultural diversity and transformation of the city. Lim shows that Singapore's multi-cultural environment may provide a context in which artists can respond to a variety of influences without being trapped in a defensive form of traditionalism or a superficial form of cosmopolitanism.
Having a solid foundation in Chinese philosophy, art and culture, Lim also practiced Chinese calligraphy, especially in the 1990s. Lim's creative impulses for his new works is clear, where previously it was "I see and I paint, now it's I reflect and I paint." His latest series of calligraphic works reveal a new level of artistic maturity - their raw energy reflect an aggressive swiftness and decisive ferocity, injecting the calligraphy with invigorating tension.
Service Medal at the National Day Awards.
Cultural Medallion Award, Singapore
National Day Award (PBM), Singapore
Special Prize,Commonwealth Art Exhibition, England
National Day Award (PPA), Singapore
Housing Development Board Singapore
Prime Minister's Office Singapore
Singapore Art Museum
Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation
United Overseas Bank
Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore
Shenn's Fine Art, Singapore
IBM Singapore Pte Ltd
Lee Kong Chian Art Museum
National University of Singapore
From Then to Now, Capturing Life - Ode to Art, Singapore
Soul of Ink: Lim Tze Peng at 100 - The Arts House, Singapore
A Century of Memories - Ode to Art, Singapore [Digital Exhibition]
墨缘 - The Spirit of Ink, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, India
Portrait of the Heart - 心象, Ode to Art, Singapore
Climb: The Later Style of Lim Tze Peng, National University of Singapore
Impressions - Ode to Art, Singapore
Larger than Life - Ode to Art, Singapore
攀登 The Journey - Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Black and White - Ode to Art Gallery, Singapore
Tze Peng in Bali - Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore
My Kampong, My Home - Singapore Management University Gallery, Singapore
Inroads: The Ink Journey of Lim Tze Peng - National Art Museum of China, Beijing,
China Inroads: The Ink Journey of Lim Tze Peng - Liu Haisu Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Inaugural Exhibition, NTU Art and Heritage Gallery, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Inroads: Lim Tze Peng's New Ink Work - Art Retreat Museum, Singapore
Lim Tze Peng: Singapore River Memory - Cape of Good Hope Gallery, Singapore 2006
Tze Peng in Paris - Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore
Infinite Gestures-Recent Paintings by Lim Tze Peng - Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore
Tze Peng - Singapore Art Museum, Singapore