“Your success will be determined, only on the scope of your dreams and your hard work to achieve them.” There's so much more, as these women have demonstrated. Get inspired by these women who have advocated change through their masterpieces, many of which you may find familiar.
Zaha Hadid: the one who believed in skyscrapers
She believed in building dreams, and building them upwards, where only the sky's the limit.
The first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004), the most prestigious accolade in the architectural world, the late Zaha Hadid thrived in a male-dominated environment and made her way onto the international stage through grit, passion and sheer brilliance in her craft.
Her architectural works are known to defy conventional design norms, and she's widely recognised as an icon in the world of architecture, with her very own distinctive style. She will always be remembered as a remarkable architect who was unapologetically proud to be herself.
To us, her architectural genius is exemplified at d'Leedon, the largest condominium project in Singapore. Rising majestically to a height of 36 storeys, the development's seven blocks each boast an elegant undulating silhouette that redefines the urban landscape in the prime area of Singapore's District 10.
What a beauty! All because this particular individual had the courage to believe in skyscrapers.
Han Sai Por: the one who brought it all together
Know someone who has a knack for bringing what seem like impossible differences together, and making it all work? Here's where Han Sai Por is a real inspiration. The leading female sculptor in Singapore was conferred the prestigious Cultural Medallion award in 1995, and her works often ingeniously combine diverse materials, textures and styles to form sculptures that hold meaningful significance.
She's no stranger to us, and many of our spaces proudly display her masterpieces.
Take for example Shimmering Pearls, which stands at the entrance of Capital Tower. It's Han's only work in Singapore that uses glass as the main medium, capturing the bubbling movement of water.
Glass globes of different sizes interplay with water jets of various configurations to showcase and celebrate movement and liveliness.
Providing a juxtapose to this water display are four of her signature stone drums, cool and understated, sitting quietly amidst the buzz of the central business district.
There is Flight and Forest at the entrance of Suzhou Center, China. This installation comprises 22 stainless steel sculptures, each at times suggesting a flying bird, yet other times a growing plant. It sits on a water feature, reflecting light while giving shade, signifying both organic growth and soaring in triumph amidst life's controversies. Extremely meaningful and symbolic!
It's a creative and organised mind at work, marrying the intricate technicalities of creating larger-than-life sculptures with the fluid nature and originality that mark a great piece of art. Definitely a woman we admire.
Jessie Lim: the one who shapes her own life, with her own hands
Initially trained as a teacher, Jessie Lim later started formal training in pottery and ceramics. And the rest as they say, is history. She's since gone through related art training in Italy, Rhode Island and New York; and is also a familiar face in local campuses like Laselle College of the Arts and National University of Singapore, where she's taught ceramics.
If you're heading to Tokyo this sakura season and putting up at the luxurious and elegant Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo, check out her ceramic sculptures at the property. Abstractscan be interpreted as a series of drawn forms put to 3D - the lines, curves and edges celebrate accidental occurences, anchored by the pursuit of perfection. While Orbis an intriguing display of roundness and self-containment - full-formed and pregnant with promises.
See how far her dreams and hard work have brought her; from local shores to the international landscape. Literally - and figuratively - taking things into her own hands and moulding them just the way she intended. It's an inspiring lesson for all of us.
Ketna Patel: the one who flew places but always remembered her origins
Ketna Patel isn't actually a Singaporean, but she's lived primarily in Singapore for 20 years. In fact, the well-travelled artist has lived in three different continents - Africa, Europe and Asia. She's of Indian descent but is born in East Africa and holds a British citizenship!
The global citizen and award-winning artist has gained a reputation for her Asia-Pop art pieces which span multiple genres and media.
Two uniquely Singaporean masterpieces of hers are Old Doors - Jalan Singapura, and Singapore Memoir - both found within Ascott Raffles Place Singapore. Both capture the nostalgia of Singapore in their own heartwarming ways, drawing reference to things like historical buildings and street names, household utensils, product labels, even glazed floor tiles - all reminiscent of a bygone era. It's art with technique and heart, so representative of her fondest memories and deep-rooted sense of identity.
Kumari Nahappan: the one who finds stories from life
A colourful life is one with many stories to tell. And Kumari Nahappan is a master story teller in her own right, with a meaningful tale behind each of her art pieces.
Her work has been displayed in Asia, Europe and the USA; and she's received many accolades including the 2011 Sculpture of the Year at the Shanghai Art Fair.
Find a theatrical showcase of dance and song in Twist, a bronze sculpture that reaches for the sky at The Interlace, Singapore. It's a display of large red hot chillis each exuding its individual personality and emotion. The twist is also a dance that was highly popular from the 1950s to the 1960s.
In the heart of town, at the entrance plaza of ION Orchard, the Nutmeg and Mace sculpture is sure to catch your eye. It tells of the rich history of Singapore's Orchard Road, where plantations of various crops such as nutmeg once thrived.
This masterpiece comprises a nutmeg fruit, cut open to reveal its seed and mace - symbolising life, rejuvenation and growth. All the things we hope for in Life itself.
And how often do we look into the details of life and draw stories from our experiences to share with those around us?
Hong Sek Chern: the one who embraces heritage and the contemporary
This lady has won many awards including the Young Artist Award (2000) and the President's Young Talent Award (2001) - all testimonies of youthful talent and drive, but is not afraid to embrace the rich heritage of art and culture.
Hong Sek Chern's paintings have used traditional Chinese ink and brush techniques to execute contemporary vibes.
In Sites in the City 01, located on level 2 of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, modern city life is represented by a meshwork of lines and grids from multiple viewpoints.
The mainly sepia colour palette is nicely balanced by the bold brush strokes, showcasing the Chinese ink-on-paper genre.
How about this #truestory of how age - and gender - has no part in limiting our goals and potential?
We're all capable of building legacies that last.
We're definitely very inspired by these women who have turned their passions and dreams into their own realities, and impacted their communities - even the world- with their work!
Everyone has their story. What's yours?
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