About Irene

Dr. Irene S. M. Lee studied Chinese calligraphy and brush painting under masters from the Shanghai School golden stone style in Singapore, and a master calligrapher in Tokyo.

She further studied fine arts and art history at Cornell University in New York, taught CAD and
programming at Harvard, and is a Harvard trained architect/urban designer and environmental
entrepreneur who has worked and lived for many years in Germany.

She is an award-winning artist who has participated in many competitions and exhibitions, and her works are in museums and public and private collections.


The digital revolution has brought about technologies like virtual reality, cloud, 5G, new media etc… and
we can be everywhere without actually going anywhere. As digital nomads, we can have multiple identities
online, avatars and illusions that can transcend time, space and reality. Hence we need our roots.

Chinese calligraphy is considered the supreme visual art form prized above all other art forms in traditional
China. It was established as the major art form during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) and has
thrived for two millennia thereafter. Chinese Calligraphy is more than mere writing and it emphasises
expressing one’s emotions. It is an exercise that coordinates the mind, spirit and body in bringing across
the message or content of the writing. It is a most uplifting yet highly disciplined exercise indeed for one’s
physical well-being and spiritual cultivation.

In this calligraphy series for the Identity Nomad exhibition, I am expressing the search for my roots, my
ancestry, nostalgia for and recollections of the past, the colourful treasure trove of our cultural history and
identity, and dance of my soul!
I am human and not a bot.

What inspired you to create your work for Identity Nomads?

In the series for „Identity Nomads“ I am expressing via Chinese writing, the search for my roots, ancestry, nostalgia for and recollections of the past.

Short Biography


2018 Journey in Ink: The Legacy, German Center, Singapore
1989 Contemporary Chinese Paintings, Hartell Gallery, New York, USA


Gold Award for the 24th World Calligraphy Grand Competition

Awarded Bronze Prize, The 23rd World Calligraphy Grand Exhibition, China, Korea & Singapore
Dr. Tan Tze Chor Art Award 2019 for Outstanding Work, The Art Awards Exhibition, Singapore
International Art Forum & Art Exchange Exhibition 2019, International Art & Culture Federation, Singapore
“Revisiting History, Visualising the Future”, The Singapore Art Society Exhibition 2019, Bicentennial Edition, Singapore
“Impression Singapore”, Singapore Bicentennial and National Day Art Exhibition 2019, Federation of Art Societies, Singapore
Singapore Art Society Exhibition 2019: Bicentennial Edition, Singapore
School Motto Calligraphy Exhibition, Singapore
The Singapore 200th Year International Women Truth, Goodness & Beauty Art Exhibition, Singapore
“Thriving Through Art” Singapore Women Artists Grand Art Exhibition 2019, Singapore
Singapore Art Society Annual Exhibition 2019, Singapore

Dr. Tan Tze Chor Art Award 2018 for Outstanding Work, The Art Awards Exhibition, Singapore
The Molan Reunion Art Exhibition 2018, Singapore
Phang Weng Kiong and Students Exhibition 2018, Singapore
Hwa Han Art Society 45th Anniversary Art Exhibition, Singapore
International Women’s Day Art Exhibition, Singapore

The Molan Art Association 50th Anniversary Art Exhibition, Singapore
Fan Chang Tien and His School of Ink Artists, Singapore

2015, 14
Da Vinci: Shaping the Future, ArtScience Museum, Singapore (co-curator)

Little Sun Launch, Tate Modern Museum of Art (with Olafur Eliasson), London

International Women’s Art Exhibition 2004, Federation of Art Societies, Singapore
Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition 2004, Federation of Art Societies, Singapore

Hwa Hun Art Society Art Exhibition, Singapore

Exhibition of Artworks by Singapore Artists, Empress Place Museum, Singapore

Photography Exhibition, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, USA
Finalist/Highly Commended: 12th Annual Photography Contest, Photographer’s Forum, USA

The Council of Creative and Performing Arts Award, New York, USA
The Council of the Creative and Performing Arts Individual Awards 1986-89 Exhibition,
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA

The Shell Discovery Art Exhibition, Shell Companies in Singapore

1988, 87, 85
Highly Commended (1988, 1987), Second Prize (1985): The National Painting and Calligraphy Competition,

1988, 87, 86, 85, 82
The National Day Art Exhibition, Ministry of Community Development, Singapore

Highly Commended: The Ministry of Communications and Information Art Competition and Exhibition, Singapore
The Willard Straight Art Gallery Multi-Media Art Exhibition, New York, USA
The National Museum Centenary Art Exhibition, National Museum, Singapore

1987, 86
The National Day Visual Arts Fair, Singapore

1986, 85
The Sculpture Workshop and Exhibition, Ministry of Community Development, Singapore

National University of Singapore Arts Festival Exhibition

National Kidney Foundation Art Exhibition, Singapore

First Prize: National Day Art Competition, Singapore

First Prize: „Keep Singapore Clean Campaign“ Art Competition, Singapore

Works in international public and private collections.

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