In 1938, a group of 14 students pioneered what would be a legacy in Singapore's art industry, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).
In the face of the school's financial struggles, NAFA's only three teachers were dedicated enough to teach without salaries and its then principal, Mr. Lim Hak Tai, reached into his own pocket to support the school's expenses.
Now 70 years on, NAFA is widely lauded as the foremost arts institution in Singapore. It currently operates eight departments that offer a staple of diploma and degree programmes to over 2,000 students from all over the world.
To mark its 70 years of art heritage, the school will be holding an exhibition titled "Nanyang 70 Years After: A Reunion of Artists in the Academy".
Works of celebrated artists like Tay Bak Chiang and Wee Beng Chong - the first to receive the Cultural Medallion in 1979 - will be on display to showcase the academy's fine art traditions from the 1950s till present time.
The exhibition is the flagship event of NAFA's 70th anniversary celebrations, which kicked off in April 2008.
Previous features of the 70th anniversary celebrations include a coffee-table book and a Founder's Day dinner.
Bridget Tracy Tan, Director of Art and Corporate Knowlegde at NAFA, described artists at NAFA as not just people who have been part of the school.
"When we speak of the artists who have trained at NAFA, we do not mean individuals of a particular style and country," she said.
"We refer to the courageous leap made 70 years ago and 70 years on, by artists who began with a dream to make art, and who live that dream today, still."
'Nanyang 70 Years After: A Reunion of Artists in the Academy' will be held from December 20 2008 to January 17 2009 at NAFA Galleries 1, 2 & 3, NAFA Campus 1.