* DESIGNER OF
THE YEAR 2007

Eng Siak Loy


National Parks Board

Stamps are national treasures and have been regarded as miniature encyclopedias which record our way of life, rich and diverse cultural heritage and its environment - capturing a nation’s history through specially designed images that are each painstakingly drawn and hand-painted. The man behind many well-loved Singapore stamps such as the Chek Jawa Nature Series, Wetland Wildlife Series and the Singapore Tropical Freshwater Fish Series is none other than Eng Siak Loy. He is a prolific designer of Singapore stamps and coins, and has to date designed
56 sets of Singapore stamps and 18 sets of coins.

Siak Loy has had a long and successful art career which began with his training at the Singapore Academy of Art in the 1960s. He has staged many art exhibitions - notably the Singapore Artists' Art Exhibition in Moscow in 1978, the 5th Festival of Asian Art in Hong Kong in 1980, and the 1st and 2nd Bru-Sin Art Exhibitions in Negara Brunei Darussalam in 1988 and 1991.

As an acclaimed artist, his paintings can be found in both private and public collections. Siak Loy has also won several awards in various local and international art competitions. With his strong affinity to nature, it is no wonder that his design of the 2002 HSBC Care-for-Nature Heritage Trees stamp series was awarded 'Asia's Most Beautiful Stamps' and the '2nd Most Beautiful Stamp in the World’ in 2003 by Paris-based Timbropresse Group, a leader of the French-speaking philatelic press with Timbres Magazine.

In the recent launch of the 2007 HSBC Care-for-Nature series, inhabitants of the sea such as the False Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris), Sea Anemone (Stichodactyla sp.), Singapore Goby (Crytocentrus leptocephalus), Blind Shrimp (Alpheus sp.), Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Remora (Echeneis naucrates), Razorfish (Aeoliscus strigatus) and Sea Urchin (Diadema sp.) burst into life with Siak Loy's palette of bold and vibrant colours.

Siak Loy had also designed the stamps for the 600th Anniversary of Admiral Zheng He's Voyages. In 1999, he had the honour of being the first Singaporean in the nation's history to design the entire Portrait Series of currency notes launched by the Board of Commissioners of Currency (Singapore). The Portrait Series is an important slice of history, as it introduces Singapore's fourth series of currency notes that for the first time features a portrait as the central theme, instead of flowers, birds and ships.

Dr Tan Wee Kiat, Advisor to National Parks Board, Project Director (Gardens-by-the-Bay) commented, "As the pioneer of our Graphics & Art team, his passion for art and design has moulded a strong foundation and contributed enormously, not only to the growth of the in-house design team but also the entire organisation. His designs have played a key role in forging the branding and image of National Parks Board." Siak Loy has also played an instrumental part by creating a myriad of park signages, murals, sculptures, furniture and plaques for many of Singapore’s public parks and gardens. The recent re-opening of Botanic Gardens welcomed the installation of a brand new Tanglin Gate, with its intricate leaf motif design, which is also one of his invaluable contributions. "His work has injected an additional layer of meaning and creativity to Singapore's highly celebrated 'City-in-the-Garden' story," says Mr Ng Lang, CEO of National Parks Board.

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‘‘As an artist, one should possess sharp observation and judgment skills, in order to excel in one's very own characteristic. A good piece of art should not merely be fascinating, it should be well received and recognised.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What does it mean to practise as a designer in Singapore?

As a designer, I attempt to bring out art in every aspect of our lives. I think it's important to inspire and promote the public's interest in art through my designs.

How has Singapore's design industry evolved over the past decade or, indeed, since you started practising?

The arts scene in Singapore has evolved in tandem with the city's transformation into the ideal of a city in a garden. The public's appreciation of the arts and design is much more sophisticated than when I first started as a designer more than fifty years ago. This has been an important driving force behind the flourishing and development of Singapore's design industry.

What is the responsibility of a designer to the community or society?

The role of a designer is to use art and artistic direction to create works that can be enjoyed by the people, to bring out important ideas that excite, inspire and resonate with the community. A designer must stand firm by his principles and design perspectives, to develop a piece of work that is original and that positively influences the environment and the society.

Citation

‘‘As an artist, one should possess sharp observation and judgment skills, in order to excel in one's very own characteristic. A good piece of art should not merely be fascinating, it should be well received and recognised.’’

Jury Citation

In an age where we are inundated with digital design, it is very inspiring to see that the Arts and Crafts tradition is still alive and thriving in Singapore, through the versatile public design works of this Grand Master. His sense of precision, attention to details and application of delicate texture is manifested in many different forms and medium. These wonderful works range from very small scale designs such as stamps, currency notes, coins, right to the very large with huge murals and six-tonne sculptures that greet visitors at many national parks in Singapore. This award recognises and honours the long, prolific career of Siak Loy, who has dedicated himself to his craft and has created truly exceptional bodies of work for the public domain that many generations can continue to enjoy.

VIEW JURORS

Nominator Citation

LONG SEEN HUI
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (DESIGN BRANCH)
NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Eng Siak Loy has had a long and successful art career which began with his training at the Singapore Academy of Art in the 1960s. He has staged many art exhibitions – notably the Singapore Artists' Art Exhibition in Moscow in 1978, the 5th Festival of Asian Art in Hong Kong in 1980, and the 1st and 2nd Bru-Sin Art Exhibitions in Negara Brunei Darussalam in 1988 and 1991.

As an acclaimed artist, Siak Loy has also won several awards in various local and international art competitions. These include his design for the 2002 HSBC 'Care-for-Nature Heritage Trees' stamp series which was awarded 'Asia's Most Beautiful Stamps’ and the '2nd Most Beautiful Stamp in the World' in 2003 by Paris-based Timbropresse Group, the leader of the French-speaking philatelic press with Timbres Magazine. His paintings can be found in both private and public collections. He is also a prolific designer of Singapore stamps and coins, and has to date designed 55 sets of Singapore stamps and 18 sets of coins.

The designer of the new Portrait Series currency notes launched by the Board of Commissioners of Currency (Singapore) in 1999 – Siak Loy has the honour of being the first Singaporean in the nation's history to design the entire series of circulating notes.

OTHER RECIPIENTS