Ong Kim Seng was recently a panel speaker for the “Art and society in 1950s: A Discussion Series on Art Collectives and Community”which was in conjunction with A Heroic Decade: Singapore Art 1955-1965, A Special Showcase in Conjunction with Singapore’s 40th Year of Independence Celebration. Held at the SAM Glass Hall on 15 Sept. 2005, the workshop touched on the local and global realities of post-colonial economic and political situations, social realism, beyond an aesthetic import, that took root in Singapore as one of the anchors of local art practice. Art associations in the 1950s were crucial in spreading these critical ideas of art making. During the talk series, Ong Kim Seng touches on several areas such as the role of art associations and the circumstances that promoted interests for socially-oriented artistic approaches in the 1950s.
The forum also explores how universal elements of social realism were absorbed into the local context.