MILESTONES

Acting Minister for Culture and Guest of Honour Ong Teng Cheong, speaking at the inaugural 1979 Cultural Medallion award ceremony on 3 March 1980.

Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
1979
The Cultural Medallion is instituted, as an initiative by the then-Acting Minister for Culture, Mr Ong Teng Cheong.

The award, created by the Ministry of Culture, is to recognise individuals who excel in the visual arts, literary arts, performing arts and film. It acknowledges the contribution and commitment of the artists who have enriched and shaped Singapore’s arts and cultural landscape.
1980
Guest of Honour of the event, Mr Ong Teng Cheong, presents the award to the first Cultural Medallion recipients at a ceremony held at the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) Auditorium on 3 March 1980. They each receive a medal and an accompanying certificate.
1981
(from left) Wong Men Won, Lee Hock Moh, Ng Eng Teng, Goh Soo Khim, Ahmad Bin Ja’afar and Joanna Wong.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1982
(from left) David Tay Poey Cher, Goh Poh Seng, Leong Yoon Pin, Lin Chen and Minister for Culture S. Dhanabalan. Georgette Chen Li Ying was unable to attend due to health reasons.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1983

The Patron of the Arts (PoA) Awards are introduced at the Cultural Medallion awards ceremony to recognise and encourage corporate sponsorship for the arts.

1984
(from left) Kam Kee Yong, S. Varathan, Thomas Yeo and Yip Cheong Fun.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1985
The Ministry of Community Development is formed.

It takes over the cultural functions of the defunct Ministry of Culture to oversee the arts in Singapore under its Cultural Affairs Division. These include the administration of the Cultural Medallion.
1986
(from left) Tay Chee Toh, Low Ing Sing, Tan Lip Seng and Lee Tzu Pheng.
Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
1987
(from left) Almahdi Al-Haj Ibrahim (Nadiputra), Paul Abisheganaden, Goh Choo San, Pan Shou, Wong Yoon Wah, Minister for Community Development Wong Kan Seng, Teo Eng Seng and N. Palanivelu.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1988
(from left) Tan Swie Hian, Max Le Blond, Muhammad Ariff Bin Ahmad, Minister for Community Development Wong Kan Seng, Som Bte Mohd Said, Lee Lim and Teng Mah Seng.
Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
1989
The first cultural masterplan is released.  

Put together by the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts (ACCA), it is a roadmap for realising the vision of a culturally-thriving society.
1990
The Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA) is formed.

It takes over arts promotion from the Cultural Affairs Division of the Ministry of Community Development, including overseeing the Cultural Medallion awards.
1991
The National Arts Council (NAC) is formed on 15 October.

The statutory board will spearhead the development of the literary, performing and visual arts in Singapore.
1992
For the first time, a 16-artist panel – consisting of Cultural Medallion recipients as well as Public Service Star and Medal awardees – is set up.

The panel serves as a bridge between the National Arts Council (NAC) and the arts community, serving advice and feedback to the Council.
1993
(from left) Jamaludin Jalil (YAA), Lim Jen Erh (YAA), Shane Thio (YAA), Ying E Ding (CM), Phan Wait Hong (CM), Minister for Information and the Arts, Brigadier-General George Yeo, Wang Sui Pick (CM), Choo Hwee Lim (CM), Liang Wern Fook (YAA) and Lee Tiah Khee (YAA).
Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
1994
(from left) Tay Teow Kiat and Minister for Information and the Arts, Brigadier-General George Yeo.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1995
(from left) Mohamed Noor Bin Sarman (YAA), Ghanavenothan Retnam (YAA), Han Sai Por (CM), Baet Yeok Kuan (YAA), Goh Lay Kuan (CM), Nirmala Seshadri (YAA), Simon Tay Seong Chee (YAA) and Lim Seng Tiong (YAA).
Source: Lianhe Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1996
(from left) Lew Poo Chan (Dan Ying) and Phoon Yew Tien.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
1997
The scope of the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award is expanded to include film. This is to recognise the artistic contribution by film-makers.
1998
(from left) Minister for Information and the Arts, Brigadier-General George Yeo and Rama Kannabiran.
Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
1999

(from left) Chua Lik Wuk (YAA), Aravinth Kumarasamy (YAA), Henry Low Swee Kim (YAA), Chua Ek Kay (CM), Minister for Information and the Arts Lee Yock Suan, Abdul Ghani Bin Abdul Hamid (CM), Ang Gey Pin (YAA) and Chng Nai Wee (YAA).

Credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
2000
National Arts Council announces a $1 million funding support for Cultural Medallion winners and their projects, to be given out over the next five years.
2001
The Cultural Medallion Fund of $50,000 is introduced.

This is to support Cultural Medallion recipients in their artistic contribution to Singapore’s arts and cultural development, as well as engaging the wider community.
2002
National Arts Council publishes Narratives: Notes On A Cultural Journey.

The book documents the achievements of the 76 Cultural Medallion recipients from 1979 to 2001, and provides a valuable reference to artists, patrons and students on Singapore’s cultural history.
2003
(from left) Lim Tze Peng, Ong Keng Sen and Yeng Pway Ngon.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
2004
(pictured) Teo Bee Yen.
Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction
2005
The scope of the Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award is expanded to cover more genres, including technical theatre, multi-media art and pop music. Photography is redefined and included under the visual arts category.
2006
The Cultural Medallion is presented by the President of Singapore for the first time and hereafter.

It signals the prestige befitting the country’s highest arts accolade.
2007

The amount for the Cultural Medallion Fund is raised from $50,000 to $80,000.

This is to help Cultural Medallion recipients embark on new projects and create original works, raising their profile here and overseas.

2008
(from left) Iskandar Mirza Ismail, P. Krishnan and Chia Hwee Pheng (Xi Ni Er).
Credit: Image courtesy of National Arts Council
2009
(from left) Angela Liong Pui-Yin, Lan Shui, Ang Ah Tee and Tham Yew Chin (You Jin).
Credit: Image courtesy of National Arts Council
2010
(from left) Liang Wern Fook, Suratman Markasan and Amanda Heng.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Arts Council
2011
The Young Artist Award grant is doubled from $10,000 to $20,000.
2012
National Arts Council introduces the Cultural Medallion Speaker Series for Cultural Medallion recipients to engage with the public and share their artistic philosophies and journeys.
2013
Recipients of the Cultural Medallion are no longer categorised by art forms.

This is due to increasingly multi-disciplinary practices, reflecting Singapore’s evolving arts landscape.
2014
(from left) Chong Fah Cheong, Alvin Tan and KTM Iqbal.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Arts Council
2015
2015 Cultural Medallion Awards
2016
 
 
2016 Cultural Medallion Awards
2017
 
 
2017 Cultural Medallion Awards
2018
 
 
2018 Cultural Medallion Awards
2019
The Cultural Medallion marks its 40th year as Singapore’s highest honours in the arts.

Since 1979, it has been conferred on 126 artists, whose contributions to the arts have enriched Singapore.
2020
 
Engagement Session with Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award (CMYAA) 2020 Recipients
2021
 
National Arts Council (NAC) commissions a showcase on the Cultural Medallion recipients at The Arts House.

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