Salleh Japar



Salleh Japar (b. 1962, Singapore–) is a Singaporean contemporary artist who came into prominence in the late 1980s.1 He uses multiple mediums in his artworks which include sculptures, installations and paintings. Salleh has participated in more than 60 programmes and exhibitions in Singapore and overseas.2 In 2001, he represented Singapore in the prestigious Venice Biennale, which is a major accomplishment for an artist.3

Art education and career
Salleh graduated in 1986 with a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) in Singapore.4 He furthered his education at the Curtin University of Technology, Australia, in 1989 and graduated the following year with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Distinction). Upon his return, Salleh became a lecturer in art history at NAFA and remained there until 1995. He subsequently obtained his Postgraduate Diploma in Art Education from the University of Central England, United Kingdom and Masters of Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.5


Besides lecturing at NAFA, Salleh has also worked as an assistant curator of art at the National Museum of Singapore. He is currently a senior lecturer and programme leader for undergraduate studies at LASALLE College of the Arts.6

Influence and philosophy
Salleh draws inspiration for his art from his own cultural heritage. His work, however, transcends his personal background and reflects the beliefs and teachings from religions such as Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism. According to Salleh, there are universal elements and themes that are common across different cultures and religions.7


Referential to Islamic thoughts, Salleh views nature as being filled with symbolic meanings.8 Many of his works are imbued with traditional cultural-religious and contemporary symbolism that he uses “not only to explain the spiritual but also the urgent messages of day-to-day life”.9

Salleh would like to see his art promote self-awareness as well as awareness of one’s surroundings.10 He views modern knowledge as “hierarchical” and “governed by political and economic relations”.11 In his Gurindam dan Igauan exhibition, for example, Salleh created an art installation depicting the “struggle against history, perspective and interpretation”.12

Accomplishments
Salleh has taken part in major national and international exhibitions. Internationally, his works have been exhibited in Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Australia. In December 1999, he was selected for the first cultural exchange programme between Singapore and India, and was attached to the Lalit Kala Akademi. The attachment gave him the opportunity to be immersed in the Indian art community, and enabled him to observe first-hand the differences between Indian and Singaporean art.13 In 2008, he was one of 28 artists commissioned by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to create artwork for the Paya Lebar Mass Rapid Transit station.14

The many awards and grants that Salleh has received are a testament to his talent, but one of the highest accolades he has received is being selected as one of the four artists representing Singapore in the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. For the event, he created a massive installation piece titled “Kemelut” (Turbulence) using a variety of materials such as metal sheets, PVC pipes, wood and an assortment of spices.15

Apart from creating his own works, Salleh has contributed to the development of Singapore art by training and nurturing budding young artists at NAFA and LASALLE. He has also been involved in sculpture projects and children’s art works, and was a volunteer art tutor for the handicapped.16 Tapping on his experience at the National Museum of Singapore, Salleh curated an exhibition titled “Batik Forms: Rethinking Tradition at the MICA ARTrium in 2005.17

Selected exhibitions
1984:
APAD (Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya) Malay Festival Week II Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / 1st Sculpture Workshop and Exhibition, St Patrick’s Art Centre, Singapore / 2nd ASEAN Youth Painting Workshop and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

1985: APAD Contemporary Art 85, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / Environmental Art Workshop, Goethe-Institut, Singapore / Australian Art Award, Australian High Commission and National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1986: PSA Young Artist Encouragement Scheme, Singapore Maritime Museum, Singapore.18
1987: Quintet, Arbour Fine Art Gallery, Singapore / 3rd Young Artists Exhibition, Regent Hotel, Singapore.
1988: Trimurti, Goethe-Institut, Singapore.
1989: First ASEAN Painting and Photography Exhibition, travelling exhibition to various ASEAN countries / Civilisation I Installation, Chiddarcooping Nature Park, Western Australia / Walking Trees and Fire Installation, Chiddarcooping Nature Park, Western Australia / Crossroads I, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Western Australia.19
1990: UOB Painting of the Year Award Exhibition, Empress Place Museum, Singapore / Crossroads II, NAFA Art Gallery, Singapore / Vision III, The Substation, Singapore / 25 Years: Urban Artists, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / Modern Art Travels East-West, Singapore and Rotterdam, Netherlands / Art in Nature, Empress Place Museum, Singapore / Young Artists’ Exhibition, a Singapore Arts Festival fringe programme, Suncraft Fine Art Gallery, Singapore.20
1991: Many-in-One: 25 Years of Art from Singapore, travelling exhibition across the United States / 2nd ASEAN Painting and Photography Exhibition, travelling exhibition to various ASEAN countries / National Sculpture Exhibition, National Museum, Singapore / International Watercolour Exhibition, South Korea and Japan.
1992: Hope and Heal Project, 5th Passage Gallery, Singapore / International Watercolour Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan.
1993: Four Asian Artists, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan / Art in Asia, Singapore Art Fair, World Trade Centre, Singapore / Confess and Conceal: 11 Insights from Contemporary Australian and Southeast Asian Artists, travelling exhibition to Australia and various ASEAN countries / Project R. O. H, Goethe-Institut, Singapore
1994: Window to Singapore, travelling exhibition to Hong Kong and China / Project Pre-fx Point, Creative Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Directions, Takashimaya Gallery, Singapore.21
1995: 7th Bangladesh Biennale, Bangladesh.22
1996: Beyond Boundaries, NAFA Art Gallery, Singapore / Rapport Exhibition, 8 artists from Australia and Singapore, a travelling show.23
1997: Art 35: APAD 35th Anniversary Exhibition, The Substation, Singapore / F.O.R.M, Barli Museum, Bandung, Indonesia / LooK LASALLE-SIA Faculty Exhibition, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.
1998: Trimurti and Ten Years After, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore / Cultural Sinkholes, Nokia Singapore Art, Singapore Art Museum / Drawing and Diagram: Ideas Personified, Chijmes, Singapore / Pekan Seni Ipoh III, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia / 3rd International Nature Art Exhibition & Symposium, Kong Ju, Korea / Semiosis Faculty Exhibition, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.24
1999: Topographies, LASALLE Gallery, Singapore / City and Community, Nokia Singapore Art, Singapore Art Musuem, Singapore / Signes Et Inscriptions, Alliance Francaise, Singapore / Open Studio Exhibition, Victoria College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia / Praxis, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore / Ambulations, Lasalle Gallery, Singapore / Carte Blanche, Alliance Francaise, Singapore.
2000: Yokohama International Nature Art Exhibition, Yokohama, Japan / Pekan Seni Ipoh V (Ipoh Art Festival V), Yayasan Seni Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia / Between, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.
2001: Quebec Snow Sculpture Event, Quebec Winter Carnival, Montreal, Canada / 49th Venice Biennale, Schola Di Santa Apollonia, Venice, Italy / Catatan Lanskap Eksotik (Installation), Dingo Flat Farm, Australia.25
2002: Portraits Reassessed, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.26
2003: Wahana, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
2004: Gurindam dan Igauan, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore / The LASALLE School’: 20 Years of Fine Arts from the LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore.27
2008: APAD: Tradition, Innovation and Continuity, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore.28
2015: Talwin And Tamkin, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.29

Selected awards, grants and residencies
30
1989:
National Arts Council Study Grant, Singapore / Lee Foundation Scholarship, Singapore.

1993: National Arts Council Project Grant, Singapore.
1994: Singapore International Foundation Project Grant.
1996: National Arts Council Project Grant, Singapore.31
1997: Visual Arts Award, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
1999: Singapore Youth Award (Arts & Culture), National Youth Council.32
1999: Artist-in-Residence, Lalit Kala Akademi, India.
2002: National Arts Council Travel Grant, Singapore.33



Author

Mok Mei Feng



References
1. Salleh Japar. (2015, July 24). Talwin and Tamkin. The Straits Times. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
2. LASALLE College of the Arts. (2016). McNally School of Fine Arts: Salleh Japar. Retrieved 2016, August 7 from LASALLE College of the Arts website: http://www.lasalle.edu.sg/academics/salleh-japar/
3. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 40. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); All roads lead to Venice. (2001, July 25). The Australian. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 40. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL)
5. LASALLE College of the Arts. (2016). McNally School of Fine Arts: Salleh Japar. Retrieved 2016, August 7 from LASALLE College of the Arts website: http://www.lasalle.edu.sg/academics/salleh-japar/ LASALLE College of the Arts. (2016). McNally School of Fine Arts: Salleh Japar. Retrieved 2016, August 7 from LASALLE College of the Arts website: http://www.lasalle.edu.sg/academics/salleh-japar/
7. Southeast Asian art today. (1996). Singapore: Roeder Publications Pte. Ltd., p. 179. (Call no.: RSING 709.59 SOU)
8. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 44. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN)
9. Southeast Asian art today. (1996). Singapore: Roeder Publications Pte. Ltd., p. 179 (Call no.: RSING 709.59 SOU)
10. Sabapathy, T. K. (Ed.). (1998). Trimurti and ten years after. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum, p. 83. (Call no.: RSING 700.95957 TRI)
11. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 45. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN)
12. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL)
13. Sian E. J. (2000, February 16). To India, for inspiration. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Artists in the circle. (2008, August 21). The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, pp. 44–45. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN)
16. Many in one: 25 years of art from Singapore. (1991). Singapore: National Museum. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 MAN)
17. Kolesnikov-Jessopsept, S. (2005, October 1). With steady hands and eyes, batik artists make their mark. (2005, October 1). International Herald Tribune (Paris). Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
18. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 42. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Goh, E. C., & Japar, S. (1996). Beyond boundaries, 21–24 January 1996. Singapore: Golden Earth Printers, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 GOH)
19. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL); Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, pp. 40, 42. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Goh, E. C., & Japar, S. (1996). Beyond boundaries, 21–24 January 1996. Singapore: Golden Earth Printers, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 GOH); Southeast Asian art today. (1996). Singapore: Roeder Publications Pte. Ltd., p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 709.59 SOU)
20. Southeast Asian art today. (1996). Singapore: Roeder Publications Pte. Ltd., p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 709.59 SOU); Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 42. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Goh, E. C., & Japar, S. (1996). Beyond boundaries, 21–24 January 1996. Singapore: Golden Earth Printers, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 GOH)
21. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL); Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, pp. 40, 41. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Southeast Asian art today. (1996). Singapore: Roeder Publications Pte. Ltd., p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 709.59 SOU); Wong, S. (1994, November 18). Five different styles, but one common objective. The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL)
23. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 41. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Goh, E. C., & Japar, S. (1996). Beyond boundaries, 21–24 January 1996. Singapore: Golden Earth Printers, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 GOH)
24. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL); Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 41. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN)
25. Singapore Art Museum. (2001). Singapore: Schola di Santa Apollonia, Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4310, San Marco, Venice, Italy. Singapore: Author, p. 40. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 SIN); Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL)
26. Asia Art Archive. (2013, June 5). Portraits reassessed. Retrieved 2016, August 7 from Asia Art Archive website: http://www.aaa.org.hk/Collection/Details/9062
27. Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL)
28. Martin, M. (2008, December 19). From batik to mat rockers, Today, p. 106. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Happenings – Arts [Microfilm no.: NL 33575]. (2015, July 24). The Straits Times, p. D10.
30. Prefx point exhibition. (1994). Singapore: Ahmad Abu Bakar. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 PRE); Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2004). Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan igauan. Singapore: LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, p. 50. (Call no.: RSING 709.040745957 SAL); National honour. (1999, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. National Arts Council. (1996). Annual report [Microfilm no.: NL 26724]. Singapore: The Council, p. 70.
32. Continuing excellence after SYA. (2002, December 10). Today, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. National Arts Council. (2002). Annual report. Singapore: The Council, p. 85. (Call no.: RCLOS 700.95957 SNACAR-[AR])



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Visual Arts
Arts>>Mixed media art
Artists--Singapore--Biography
Salleh, Japar, 1962-
Arts>>Visual Arts>>Multimedia