Singapore, May 2015 – The circles of art and comedy have never come closer, as the National Gallery Singapore names the renowned Singaporean comedian, Kumar Chinnadurai for its My Masterpiece series. Kumar is fifth in the line-up of local personalities in the My Masterpiece campaign which was launched in January this year. Among them are popular MediaCorp actress Joanne Peh, celebrity chef Willin Low, distinguished writer Professor Edwin Thumboo and award-winning director Anthony Chen.
“I am honoured to be part of the My Masterpiece campaign. I believe it is important for the National Gallery to make art in all its forms accessible to the people in Singapore,” said Kumar. The attraction of Kumar to the masterpiece “Wounded Lion (c.1839),” by the prominent modern Indonesian artist Raden Saleh, was sparked by the realistic and dramatic expressions in the painting that resonated deeply and powerfully with the comedian.
“If you look at the painting carefully, the lion is actually not roaring mightily but is growling in pain. A broken spear sticks out from its back, which goes to show how much force it must have been hit with,” said Kumar. In the video that will go live on the National Gallery’s Facebook on 13 May, Kumar expressed how the artwork evokes the struggles he has encountered away from the spotlight, “I went through a very bad past. But I moved on like the lion baring all its teeth, pushing on and fighting the world to be who you are. There can be so much pain, but also so, so much power that comes out from all the battles we face in life.”
One of Southeast Asia’s pioneering modern artists, Raden Saleh was considered the first modern artist from Indonesia, his realistic renditions of animals and battle scenes earned him recognition not only in Southeast Asia but also in Europe.
For the rest of the year, the Gallery will continue to unveil significant artworks which encompass diverse periods, marking key moments in the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia. The artworks were created by pioneering artists from the region and personally chosen by 12 local personalities who, in their own way, felt a connection with these artworks. Through this collaboration, the Gallery aims to introduce modern art of Southeast Asia and Singapore to the masses.
Educating and Inspiring Singaporeans
My Masterpiece is the first of an exciting lineup of initiatives and activities that will bring Singaporeans closer to their arts heritage leading up to the opening of the National Gallery Singapore in October 2015.
The Gallery aims to capture the artistic spirit of Singapore and Southeast Asia. By sharing stories of our region’s distinctive art within the global context, we seek to be a leading visual arts institution that inspires and engages our people and our neighbors, creating a dialogue between the art of Singapore, Southeast Asia and the world. The Gallery also seeks to encourage a deeper appreciation of art, and foster a greater sense of national and cultural pride.