Chng Seok Tin (1946 – 2019)
Chng Seok Tin said that she did not set out to be an ‘artist’ but would rather see herself as an ‘avant-garde’ practitioner of her time. Born in 1946 in Singapore, she attended Chung Cheng High School and took classes with local painter and sculptor Yeo Hwee Bin before she became a Chinese language teacher. In the early 1970s, she enrolled in a Western painting course at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts before furthering her studies at Saint Martin’s School of Art and Hull College of Higher Education in England. In 1980, she received the first Cultural Foundation Award and embarked on postgraduate studies at Hornsey College of Art (now part of Middlesex University) in London before moving to Paris to learn intaglio and engraving under the tutelage of printmaker Stanley William Hayter at the world-famous Atelier 17. Her love for printmaking took her further to the United States where she learnt traditional intaglio printing from Spencer Fidler and later trained under printmaker Mauricio Lasansky. Though better known as a printmaker, Chng was also a prolific writer fascinated with Chinese classical literature.
In 1988, an accident caused Chng to lose her eyesight. It was a time of intense struggle, but she managed to emerge afresh. Her subsequent foray into modes of crafting in three-dimensional forms and mixed media are regarded as a new beginning through varied themes and caricatures of truth and morals: the complex nature of man and the resilience of human spirit. A member of several art and literature societies, she has been lauded for her significant writing accomplishments and was honoured with the Singapore Chinese Literary Award by Singapore Literature Society in 2007. Chng was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 2005. She passed away in Singapore in 2019.