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NUS President speaks on art and travel at first CFA Speaker Series in 2011

18 January 2011

CFA SPEAKER SERIES: Kicking off the Series this year was Prof Tan Chorh Chuan who spoke on "Living in the Present through Travel and Art" to a rapt audience, comprising distinguished personalities, art professionals as well as NUS students, faculty and alumni

NO NOVICE AT ALL: The audience were given a rare glimpse of the artistic passion and impressive works of the multi-talented NUS President
As a student, NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan's greatest fear was that he should turn out to be mono-dimensional. But at the recent Centre For the Arts (CFA) Speaker Series on 13 January 2011, where he was the first speaker to be featured for the year, he appeared to have completely quelled that fear. The audience saw another side of Prof Tan - the artist and adventurer - in addition to his public personas of senior administrator and medical doctor that they knew well.

Showing his photographs, sketches and paintings of memorable sights he beheld during his trips to China, England, India, Japan, Mongolia, Peru and Venezuela, Prof Tan shared about his artistic endeavours and his views on "Living in the Present through Travel and Art", the topic of his presentation.

Being present is a very important part of travel, said Prof Tan. He urged his audience to live in the present and experience what is going on around them, in spite of the human tendency to spend the present thinking of what happened in the past or what to do in the future.

He added: "Art and travel are very powerful ways of external discovery but equally, they present a very powerful impetus for internal discovery. And together this can bring about a multidimensionality to your character and experience which is very important and very enriching."

Among other things, he spoke of the intense exhilaration, the heightened awareness of the ordinary that travel can arouse; and the way travel and painting force him to see more clearly and define the essentials that make a scene or moment particularly memorable, as well as challenge him to present that in a creative and interesting way.

Prof Tan is the first in the line-up of 11 prominent personalities in the Speaker Series during the first half of 2011. Organised by the NUS Centre For the Arts, this Series aims to encourage the development of artistic interests in tandem with one's pursuit of academic and career achievements.

For more information on the CFA Speaker Series, please click here.