Eight arts practitioners conferred Singapore’s top arts accolades at the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award Ceremony

The ceremony included six Young Artist Award recipients.

Brandon Leong

Compulsive playlist maker.

Published: 26 November 2021, 10:57 AM

The National Arts Council has conferred two Cultural Medallions and six Young Artist Awards, recognising outstanding Singaporean artists for their artistic expertise and distinctive body of works. The distinctions were presented to both 2021 and 2020 recipients on Nov 24 at the Istana.   

The six Young Artist Award recipients include singer-songwriter and producer Charlie Lim, 33, alongside Norhaizad Adam, 34. Charlie has established himself over the last decade as a prominent regional voice in the music scene, with his songs transcending genres. 

Norhaizad is a dance artist and artistic director who continues to push boundaries and explore unheard traditional narratives, such as the themes around morality and behaviourism in Malay culture through choreography and intimate performances.  

Writer-director Yeo Siew Hua, 36, and environmentalist artist and educator Zen Teh, 33, were also awarded the esteemed accolade. Siew Hua gained acclaim for his exploration of the lesser-known stories in society, as typified by his 2018 feature neo-noir film A Land Imagined, which clinched the Golden Leopard grand prize at the 71st Locarno Film Festival. 

Zen has been in collaborations involving geologists, historians, and environmental groups, expressing her work through a blend of photography, material, and sculptural applications to highlight contemporary urban realities. 

Carnatic musician Chitra Poornima Sathish, 35, and Han Xuemei, 34 round up the six recipients. Chitra composes, educates, and contributes to the performance and academic endeavours at the Temple of Fine Arts Singapore. 

Xuemei is a multidisciplinary theatre practitioner who has also been an active advocate for youth engagement, mentoring two batches of participants under Drama Box’s youth wing ARTivate and student groups. 

On top of the Young Artist Awards, two Cultural Medallions were awarded to two highly influential artists who have made invaluable contributions to the local arts and culture scene while also breaking uncharted territory for younger artists.  

 The recipients are Chia Joo Ming, 62, who is celebrated for his distinct Singaporean tales, drawing upon historical developments, unique multicultural background, and themes from everyday life. 

Veteran singer and performer Rahimah Rahim, 66, whose versatility in a wide range of genres from pop to jazz, coupled with her multilingual ability to sing in English, Malay, Mandarin, and Japanese, have made her an icon of local Malay music. 

The Cultural Medallion was established in 1979 and recognises individuals whose artistic excellence and contributions and commitment to the arts have enhanced Singapore’s cultural landscape. 

The Young Artist Award was established in 1992 with the aim to encourage young practitioners aged 35 and below to continue their pursuit of creative excellence, and recognises their potential for greater leadership roles in Singapore and on the world stage.

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