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The late Liu Shi Ming diligently sculpting the fine facial features of his art piece.

To nurture the next generation’s appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences, the

Liu Shiming Art Foundation has established the Liu Shiming Art Scholarship in support of students at NUS College (NUSC) pursuing Asian Studies or Art History as their major

or minor.

Liu Shi Ming, who passed in 2010, is famous for his sculptures capturing everyday life, a theme he developed while conducting research on folk art in remote regions decades ago. Previously, he stated that continuously acquiring knowledge on the cultures he drew inspiration from helped evolve his craft. The products of this philosophy speak for themselves; Liu’s work is widely studied and paves the way for future generations of sculptors. His works have been displayed in major cities including Beijing and New

York City.

The Liu Shiming Art Foundation was set up in 2021 and aims to keep Liu’s legacy alive by supporting young artists to develop their skills, knowledge, and creativity.

Zhiyong Yang, the Director of the Foundation, cites the alignment between the organisation’s goal of enhancing cross-cultural experiences through art and NUSC’s interdisciplinary educational curriculum as the driver behind this collaboration. “We firmly believe that comprehensive interdisciplinary learning lays the groundwork for the younger generation to grasp the complexities of the world they inhabit and equip themselves for the future,” he says.

Liu’s son, Liu Wei, shares more about his father’s artistic pursuit, from the city of Beijing to provinces Henan and Hebei. Although the living and working conditions were difficult, his father gained a deep appreciation for Chinese history and the simple mundane lifestyle of the working class. Liu added, “He developed a profound understanding of folk and traditional art, leaving behind a collection of art pieces that vividly captured the unique cultural characteristics of different regions, radiating with charm.”

Responding to Liu’s inspiring life journey, Prof Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS College, added, “Liu Shi Ming was a trailblazer – courageous and authentic. Even as he achieved fame in Beijing, he remained devoted to his craft and explored it in the rural regions of China also. Many of us follow trends, but Liu’s approach to merge ancient Chinese styles with Western techniques, was revolutionary. In a small way we hope to do the same thing at NUS College, inviting our students to learn from different disciplines and explore connections inside and outside the classroom. With our unique offerings, we provide the resources and autonomy that enable them to break open the classroom and see the world in new ways.”

In the long-term, the Foundation aims to establish a platform that promotes cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. The beauty and value of cultures do not originate from theories and books, but from the intangibility of inheriting, embodying, and reciprocating art, history and customs. The Liu Shiming Art Scholarship to NUSC students pursuing Asian Studies and Art History is but another step in that direction of cultivating the next generation of torch bearers. Liu Wei reckons the importance of art as a means of bridging communities cannot be overstated.

“You could say that art made my father’s life fulfilling and perfect.”

Left to right: Rachel Phoon (Head of Development, NUS College), Professor Simon Chesterman (Dean, NUS College), Andy Serwer (Co-chair of the Advisory Board, Liu Shiming Art Foundation), Puiking Hui (Director of External Affairs, Liu Shiming Art Foundation) & Victor Koh (friend of NUS College and Foundation)

Andy Serwer and Puiking Hui of the Liu Shi Ming Art Foundation presenting books compiling Liu Shi Ming’s art pieces to Prof Simon Chesterman, symbolising the inspiration of interdisciplinarity placed upon NUS College.

Written by Jeriel Tan Yi and Kooi Xiu Min ’26

For more information about the exhibition on view, please check the website:

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