Until Lai Foong Moi paved the yellowbrick road to the art world of Paris in 1953, few in Malaya/Singapore thought it possible for them to traverse such a path.
Malaya was not even independent yet, and a woman’s place then was in the shadows and in the kitchen. Formal education in Fine Arts too, for a woman, was unheard of; preposterous, even.
But Lai, born in Seremban and educated at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) in Singapore where she later taught after graduating from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts (ENSBA), defied the odds. She was greatly inspired by her Nafa mentor, the debonair Georgette Chen (nee Chang Liying, 1906-1993), with her sophisticated New York-Shanghai-Paris chic.
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