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Trailblazers What Matters To Me: Grace Tan, Artist

What Matters To Me: Grace Tan, Artist

What Matters To Me: Grace Tan, Artist
By Generation T
May 18, 2020
Former fashion designer Grace Tan is the artist behind some of the most captivating public artworks in Singapore

In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters

Grace Tan’s journey from fashion designer to artist has been a long one. She left defunct Singapore label Song & Kelly in 2003 and starting creating her own unique pieces, which gradually became more experimental and evolved from clothing to art.

She is known for large, site-specific works at locations including Duo, Marina One, Raffles City and Little India Station, and has exhibited at the Pola Museum Annex in Tokyo, the RMIT Gallery in Melbourne and the Asian Civilisations Museum and Fost Gallery in Singapore.

Here, she describes her work in her own words.

When I was working in fashion, I respected the craft and the construction process—how clothes are put together. But I struggled to come to terms with the nature of the industry, how we had to create new things every season. It made me question myself, whether this was the right place for me.

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As an artist, I hope to create meaningful works that connect with different groups of people. We’re moving so fast in life, and it’s easy to get so engrossed in our own world that we sometimes forget the importance of the human connection.

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We’re moving so fast in life, and it’s easy to get so engrossed in our own world that we sometimes forget the importance of the human connection

Grace Tan

With commissioned work, I take my inspiration from the space where it will be placed, its cultural connotations and how people interact with and within it.

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I’m currently fascinated by the blurring line between what’s real and what’s fake. For example, I once walked past a building with a green wall that previously featured real plants. But I didn’t realise they had replaced them with artificial ones until I got much closer to the wall. Artificial things are increasingly being normalised.


See honourees from The Arts category of the Gen.T List 2019.

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Trailblazers What Matters To Me

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