5 Artists You Need To Know In Singapore

By Chong Seow Wei

From an introverted painter to a pint-size embroiderer, here are five artists to know in Singapore

Tatler Asia

The Singapore art scene is evolving. In 2016, the country saw almost 6,000 non-ticketed performing arts activities. From 2012 to 2019, it saw a total of more than 5.1 million visitors frequenting its museums and heritage institutions. And then, between 2012 and 2017, the government pumped in nearly US$220 million to boost the country’s culture sector. 

As a result, the country’s talent pool is growing. From a visual artist with a knack for zoology to a painter exploring the boundaries of public art, here are five artists you need to know in Singapore.

See also: 5 Creatives You Need To Know In Hong Kong

Ruben Pang

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Above  Ruben Pang


Best Known For His colourful ethereal paintings, which are created using oil paint and alkyd resin. His work reflects his spontaneous approach—Pang paints, scratches and erases his paintings using brushes, palette knives, sandpaper and his hands. 

Need To Know His art has been widely showcased, from galleries across Asia to exhibitions in countries such as Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Australia and the US. 

Quote “We’re all very well-trained in being critical and I think that’s necessary for developing ourselves, but we also start seeing very little value in just observing without judgement.”

Did You Know? If he didn’t become an artist, Pang might have pursued a career as a race-car driver. The idea came to him after he watched movies such as Vanishing Point and Gone in 60 Seconds. “There’s great pleasure in the physical and sonic feedback of pushing a machine to its limits and familiarising yourself with something powerful and volatile,” he says. “It’s about chasing an out-of-body experience.”

Teresa Lim

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Above  Teresa Lim

Embroidery artist

Best Known For Her fun and vibrant embroidery work, which manifests as one-of-a-kind fashion accessories, commissioned pieces and now face masks. 

Need To Know Lim, whose artist moniker is teeteeheehee, has done collaborations with numerous big-name clients including Netflix, Gucci and Changi Airport. 

Quote “I hope that by using thread to tell stories, my work can be used as an example to prove that we can express ourselves in different forms without being bound by rules.”

Did You Know? A classical music lover, Lim's other hobby besides her main craft is playing the violin.

Farizwan Fajari

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Above  Farizwan Fajari

Multidisciplinary artist

Who? Most commonly known by his moniker Speak Cryptic, Farizwan's work explores the relevance of public art, particularly street art and graffiti, and its place in Southeast Asia’s social and cultural landscapes. He also draws inspiration from his Malay heritage and the punk subculture.

Need To Know Farizwan is purposefully making his art accessible to all as a way to debunk the misconception that the fine art world is one with high barriers to entry.

Quote “Nothing matters more to me in life than having empathy and a good cup of coffee.”

Did You Know? A regular work week looks like this for him: “I only do meetings and administrative work on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, while Wednesdays and Fridays are strictly reserved for creating.” He also has a habit of writing down everything he did at the end of each day.

See also: Are Comics The Art Form Of The People?

Esther Goh

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Above  Esther Goh


Who? An independent illustrator and art director who began her career at creative agencies AKQA in Shanghai and Kinetic—run by fellow honouree Pann Lim—in Singapore. 

Need To Know Her thought-provoking work, which treads a fine line between fiction and reality, has caught the eye of the likes of Kenzo and the WWF. 

Quote “The best advice I’ve ever received was from my former creative director at Kinetic, Pann, who told me that when the work gets tough, you really only have two options—you either choose to give up or you get the job done. It’s a simple principle that has stayed with me all these years.”

Robert Zhao

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Above  Robert Zhao

Visual artist

Best known For His works, which illustrate our relationship with nature, as well as being the founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists, a creative, interdisciplinary research centre that provides an alternative perspective to how humans view animals.

Need To Know In 2017, Zhao was the only Southeast Asian finalist of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists.

Quote “Success, to me, is made up of many failures.”

Did You Know? The forest is not only a major source of inspiration for him, but also his greatest fear.

See more honourees from The Arts category in the Gen.T List.

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