Tang Da Wu (b. 1943) currently lives and works in Singapore. Chinese-educated while growing up in Singapore post-World War II, Tang attained a Diploma in Youth and Community Works as the first graduating cohort of the National Youth Leadership Institute in 1968. While not professionally trained in art, Tang enjoyed drawing and actively practised painting while learning from more established painters. Following his first solo exhibition of drawings and paintings in 1970, Tang sought to further his artistic pursuits by studying abroad. He received a BFA in sculpture from the School of Fine Art, Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham Institute of Art and Design) in 1974 and pursued advanced studies in sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martins) from 1974-75. In 1985, he received an MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
After returning to Singapore in 1979, Tang began to work in performance art, and in 1988, cofounded The Artists Village, a collective committed to promoting experimental art through the provision of studio and exhibition space. In 2017, he started the performance art group Stichen Haus da Opera (now La Tristesse Opera), comprising more than 60 art educators, students, and fellow local artists. Through performance, installation, painting, and drawing, Tang explores social and environmental themes including deforestation, animal endangerment, and urban transformation.
Tang has performed and exhibited widely in countries such as England, Japan, Germany, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Recent exhibitions include Art School SG: Artists See Colours Differently and This One is Dangerous, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore (2022); Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and National Gallery Singapore, Singapore (2018-2019); Earth Work 1979, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore (2016); No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Hong Kong, and NTU Centre for Contemporary, Singapore (2013-2014).
He was featured in the Singapore Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), and also participated in the 3rd Gwangju Biennale (2000); the 1st Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial (2000); the 1st Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (1999); and the 1st Johannesburg Biennale (1995). Important performances include Don’t Give Money to the Arts, Asian International Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery and Singapore Art ’95, Suntec City, Singapore (1995); Tiger's Whip, National Museum of Singapore and Chinatown, Singapore (1991); They Poach the Rhino, Chop Off His Horn and Make This Drink, National Museum Art Gallery, National University of Singapore, and Singapore Zoo, Singapore (1989); and Five Days at NAFA and Five Days in Museum, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and National Museum, Singapore (1982).
Tang was the recipient of the Visual Arts Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1978, as well as the Artist Award from the Greater London Arts Council in 1983. In 1999, he was awarded the 10th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in Arts and Culture. His works are in major institutional and private collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka; National Gallery Singapore, Singapore; and Singapore Art Museum, Singapore.