The National Gallery Singapore has commissioned Channel NewsAsia to produce a three-part docudrama on pioneer Singapore artist Georgette Chen (1906-1993). The role of Chen will be played by MediaCorp actress Rui En.
Titled The Worlds Of Georgette Chen, the English-language drama will be telecast in April 2015 on Channel NewsAsia and MediaCorp Channel 5. It will also be adapted into Chinese for Channel 8.
Said Rui En on portraying the artist: "In her days, it was rare for women to paint professionally. She was a pioneer on many fronts and her quiet strength and love for life will certainly inspire women today."
Chen received her art education in Paris, New York and Shanghai. She was a prominent figure in local art history for over four decades and is one of the pioneers of the Nanyang Style of art which marries tropical subject matter with Western painting techniques. She taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts until her retirement in 1981, and received the Cultural Medallion in 1982.
The docudrama will portray her transnational life and is set in three periods: the French period from 1927 to 1933, the Chinese/Hong Kong period from 1934 to 1948 and the Penang/Singapore period from 1950 to 1980. It will also show the works of art she created over the years, including still lifes, portraits and landscapes.
The Worlds Of Georgette Chen will be aired in the run up to the National Gallery's opening in October 2015. Her artworks will be on display in the Gallery, which is being refurbished at the site of two national monuments, the City Hall and the former Supreme Court.
This is the first docudrama it has commissioned. If funding permits, it hopes to develop more docudramas on other pioneer artists in Singapore.