Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts celebrates 80 years of arts education

02 February - 02 February 2018
NAFA Campus 1

Singapore’s pioneer arts institution expands campus space with Tower Block

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) launches its 80th anniversary celebrations and officially opens its newly minted facility, Campus 1 Tower Block. The milestone events are officiated by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defense.

Year-long festivities
For 80 years, NAFA has been home to pioneers in the creative community and a leader for arts education in Singapore and the region. It has groomed 13 Cultural Medallion recipients, including Chua Mia Tee and Han Sai Por, 14 Young Artist Award winners including Goh Boon Teck and Hong Sek Chern, as well as numerous outstanding artists, designers and performing artists who have made an impact in their diverse fields of practice. In addition to a wide range of diploma courses and degree courses in partnership with reputable universities from the UK, NAFA also offers programmes for children and working adults in its Arts Kindergarten, School of Young Talents and Centre for Lifelong Education. Each year, NAFA sees more than 12,000 students pass through its doors for these programmes and courses.

To commemorate the Academy’s 80th Anniversary milestone, renowned local sculptor and NAFA alumna Han Sai Por was commissioned to create a sculpture for NAFA. Titled ‘Seed’, the sculpture gives synonymous meaning to an arts school. NAFA has grown from 80 years ago, and its heritage and roots run deep. Today, the Academy continues to progress and remains relevant to the creative industry. The iconic artwork is placed along Bencoolen Street, among street benches designed by NAFA’s 3D Design students and alumni.

NAFA has also lined up year-long festivities to celebrate its eminent history. Programmes include an eight-week long arts festival, opera production, commemorative book, homecoming events for our alumni, and a rich variety of performances. Participants and visitors to these events will be able to enjoy and appreciate the great works produced by both seasoned and budding artists. More information on the activities can be found on the academy’s website at

Campus 1 Tower Block Officially Opens
The completion of NAFA Campus 1 Tower Block adds 20 per cent more space for the Academy. The expansion of campus space is the first following the move to the school’s permanent home in Bencoolen in 2004. Sitting above the recently opened Bencoolen MRT station, the twelve-storey building, of which eight levels belongs to NAFA1, has a total floor area of 7,700 square metres. The additional space goes to state-of-the-art classrooms, studios and student interaction spaces to benefit NAFA’s students. Currently, the Academy has a full-time diploma and degree student population of 2,700.

At the Campus 1 Tower Block opening ceremony, NAFA Board Chairman Ms Low Sin Leng said, “NAFA has come a long way since 1938. We have grown from strength to strength and learnt to never rest on our laurels. With a strong teaching faculty, a robust and holistic curriculum which focuses on knowledge, technical skills and soft skills and strategic partnerships to optimise students’ learning experience, we continue to aim to inspire learning and growth through the arts, and become a leading arts institution in Asia.”

Many donors have been steadfast in their support towards NAFA and the Academy is extremely grateful. Ms Low said, “Our achievements today would not have been possible without the steadfast support of many stakeholders. This includes our esteemed donors and the Ministry of Education, without which NAFA’s reach and impact as an arts institution would not be as significant.”

Annex 1 - Description of sculpture ‘Seed’ and biography of Han Sai Por


Performances by NAFA’s Theatre, Music and Dance students to welcome Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence

Minister Ong with NAFA Board Chairman Ms Low Sin Leng (in blue cheongsam), Mr Lim Yew Kuan, son of NAFA founding principal Mr Lim Hak Tai, Mr Chia Mia Chiang (in blue shirt) and NAFA students from Dance programme

Minister Ong officially launches NAFA’s 80th anniversary celebrations. From left: Ms Nur Diyanah, student from School of Music, Ms Oscar Ng, NAFA alumna & staff from Office of Student Care, Mr Goh Boon Teck, NAFA alumnus and Young Artist Award Winner, NAFA Board Chairman Ms Low Sin Leng, Minister Ong, Mr Wee Beng Chong, NAFA alumnus and Cultural Medallion winner, Mr Chia Mia Chiang, NAFA President and Mr Khairuddin Bin Hori, NAFA alumnus and winner of Distinguished Alumni Medal

Minister Ong with students and staff of NAFA

Minister Ong and Ms Low Sin Leng presenting token of appreciation to Mr Lim Yew Kuan, son of NAFA founding principal, Mr Lim Hak Tai

Minister Ong officially launched the opening of NAFA Campus 1 Tower Block. Looking on are, from left, NAFA Board Director, Mr Hoong Bee Lok, NAFA Board Chairman Ms Low Sin Leng, Minister Ong, NAFA Board Director Dr Lucy Ooi and NAFA President Mr Chia Mia Chiang.

NAFA Board Chairman presenting token of appreciation, a miniature sculpture of ‘Seed’, to Minister Ong Ye Kung