Tan Kian Por

b. 1949


Tan Kian Por | 陈建坡 (b. 1949, Chaozhou, China) is a Chinese calligrapher, ink painter and seal carver whose artistic style is influenced by Chen Chong Swee and Chinese ink painters Shi Xiangtuo, Wu Changshou and Ren Bonian. His Chinese ink works are considered masterpieces in the Nanyang style.

While at secondary school in Tuan Mong High School, Tan studied art under artists Shi Xiangtuo and Huang Zailing. He then discovered a love for Chinese painting and calligraphy. After completing secondary school, he attended the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (1968 to 1970) where he majored in Western art, as Chinese painting courses were not offered then. After graduation, Tan took on day jobs while practising Western art. He returned to traditional Chinese art forms in 1972.

Tan is the founder and former President of the Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal Carving, Calligraphy and Painting Society (‘Siaw-Tao Society’), and the first Singaporean to be appointed as an overseas honorary member of the Xi Ling Art Society of Hangzhou, China. He lectured in Chinese brush painting at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1980. Tan was awarded the Cultural Medallion (2001), the Distinguished Art Award of the Siaw-Tao Society (2005) and the World Peace Award from the World Peace Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition Committee, China and Singapore (2010).

Tan has exhibited widely. His solo exhibitions include The Art of Tan Kian Por: Chinese Brush Painting, Calligraphy & Seal Carving at the National Museum Art Gallery (1988) and The Art of Tan Kian Por at the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy (2015). His other exhibitions include Modern Art Exhibition at the National Museum (1987), 25 Years of Art in Singapore at the National Museum Art Gallery (1990), and Swatow Art Exhibition in the Guangdong Art Museum and Beijing Art Museum (2000).

Tan’s work has been collected by Singtel and public and private collections. His painting Life (1982) is in the National Gallery collection.