Indian-origin Singapore author Meira Chand among three Cultural Medallion awardees

Eight individuals from the field of art and culture in Singapore were conferred the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award at the Istana this week. The awardees include Indian-origin Singapore author Meira Chand. Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the Guest of Honour at the ceremony, alongside First Lady Jane Ittogi.

2023 Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award recipients with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and National Arts Council officials.
2023 Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award recipients with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam; First Lady Jane Ittogi; Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law; Goh Swee Chen, Chairman of the National Arts Council (NAC); Low Eng Teong, Chief Executive Officer of NAC; and Lynette Pang, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NAC. Photo courtesy: National Arts Council

Chand, born in London and now a Singaporean citizen, is an acclaimed novelist and also the writer of a story that inspired the hugely successful Singapore stage production, LKY The Musical, about the life of the country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.

Presented by the National Arts Council of Singapore, the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award are part of the Pinnacle Arts Accolades. They recognise outstanding practitioners who exemplify distinctive artistic talent while elevating Singapore’s position in the global arts sector.

The three Cultural Medallion recipients and five Young Artist Award recipients made significant contributions to Singapore’s vibrant arts and cultural landscape across different art forms, said a media release. “Collectively, they have helped to shape and define our distinct cultural identity over the years, drawing from the richness of communities within Singapore and around the region,” it added.

President Tharman said, “I commend this year’s recipients of Singapore’s Pinnacle Arts awards for their dedicated craftsmanship and significant contributions to our growing arts and culture scene. Each of our three new Cultural Medallion recipients is being recognised for their explorations through life, and for inspiring many others, not least the next generation of artists.”

Cultural Medallion

Established in 1979, the Cultural Medallion recognises individuals whose artistic excellence, as well as contributions and commitment to the arts, have shaped Singapore’s growing cultural landscape. Individuals conferred with Singapore’s top arts accolade have made significant strides locally and internationally, displayed extraordinary leadership and inspired younger artists.

This year, the Cultural Medallion was awarded to three individuals — Meira Chand, Osman Abdul Hamid, and Suchen Christine Lim. This brings the total number of Cultural Medallion recipients to 135.

Award-winning novelist Meira Chand has captivated readers worldwide with stories that reflect her multicultural heritage and explore themes around the multiplicity of cultural identities.

Veteran dancer, choreographer, artistic director, producer, and educator Osman Abdul Hamid is a trailblazer in Singapore’s Malay dance scene. Cutting across disciplines, he has enthralled audiences with his interpretation of contemporary Malay dance, which are often multisensorial experiences.

Suchen Christine Lim is an award-winning author and one of Singapore’s most accomplished writers. She was the recipient of the inaugural Singapore Literature Prize in 1992 for her novel Fistful of Colours, which became the first Singaporean novel to be selected for the GCE A-level English Literature syllabus in 2007 and has been studied at universities. She explores themes of multiculturalism and interculturalism through her works, which are often set against significant historical events.

Young Artist Award

Instituted in 1992, the Young Artist Award honours practitioners aged 35 and below, in recognition of their impact to the community and how they continue to be inspiring role models who shape Singapore’s arts and culture. This year, five recipients — Daryl Lim Wei Jie, Julian Wong, Melissa Tan, Shyan Tan, and Wang Chenwei — from diverse fields such as film, performing and visual arts were conferred this award. Including this year’s recipients, the Young Artist Award has been conferred on a total of 178 artists.