Indian-origin novelist Meira Chand honoured with Singapore's highest arts awardtext_fields
Singapore honoured Indian-origin novelist Meira Chand, along with fellow novelist Suchen Christine Lim and Malay dance veteran Osman Abdul Hamid, with the Cultural Medallion, the city-state's most esteemed arts recognition.
The ceremony, held at the Istana, saw President Tharman Shanmugaratnam presenting the accolade to the recipients, reported The Straits Times.
At 81 years old, Meira Chand was acknowledged for her exceptional artistic contributions and commitment to enriching Singapore's arts and cultural landscape. The award, accompanied by an SGD 80,000 (over Rs 49 lakhs) grant for each awardee, signifies their artistic excellence and dedication.
Of Swiss-Indian heritage, Meira Chand is acclaimed for her literary works that vividly portray multicultural societies. Her novel 'The Painted Cage' (1986) earned recognition by being longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize.
In a statement, President Tharman highlighted the recipients' profound influence on multiple generations of artists, emphasising their exploration and inspiration through life's journeys.
Meira Chand's life journey, reflected in her novels, traverses continents, spanning from England to Japan, and India to Singapore. Born in London to a Swiss mother and Indian father, she grew up and received her education in the UK. Her experiences in Japan and India significantly influenced her literary pursuits.
Recalling her time in India, she expressed, "For the first time in my life, I met a half of myself I had never known. There was simply no way I could understand that experience but through writing," as mentioned on her website.
The Cultural Medallion, established in 1979, acknowledges artists whose exceptional contributions have significantly enriched Singapore's arts and culture. It celebrates practitioners who demonstrate professional excellence and have made outstanding contributions to the nation's artistic growth.
Recognising 132 artists across various artistic domains, the award celebrates those who have made a remarkable impact on Singapore's artistic development. Last year, Aravinth Kumarasamy, a 56-year-old Tamilian Hindu, was among the recipients of this prestigious accolade.