Della Butcher Award
In recognition of her lifetime commitment to championing for Singaporean art, Professor Tommy Koh had made a formal request to the Rotary Club of Orchard, Singapore to create an award and to be given to the best graduate painter from Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts in her honour. This request was made on the formal installation ceremony of the Club's third President, Professor Val Winslow on 15 June 1993. The trophy was designed by Temasek Polytechnic, with a S$2,000 prize money sponsored by Mastercard.
The Club invited Lasalle to select five outstanding students with consistently high performances as nominees for the award, and presented to the best art student with the first Della Butcher Award at a closed-door ceremony in 1994. In 1995, this Award opened its doors to 5 other nominated students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). But unlike the inaugural Award, all 10 nominees from the Academy and Lasalle were recognized for their unique artistic expression. The fourth President of the Rotary Club Orchard Vijay Krishnan believed that recognizing a wide spectrum of artistic expression would be ideal in honouring Della's spirit and her open-ness to supporting all forms of Singaporean art in her lifetime. In 1996, the Award continued to expand its recognition of art forms, and presented to a graduating art student from the National Institute of Education.
In November 1995, Friends of Della Butcher and the Club held an exhibition-cum-auction of Della's personal trove of art prints and 75 paintings. These works of art were by artist-friends like Ong Kim Seng, Tay Bak Koi, Nai Swee Leng, Prabhakara Jimmy Quek and Ang Ah Tee, and bought with Della's own pocket as her support for these artists in their struggling years. The total collection valued at S$87,000, was displayed and auctioned at the Regent Hotel. After the three-day event all the money raised was used to fund the Della Butcher Foundation, ensuring the Della Butcher Award can continue to be awarded to promising young artists. At the same time, the Foundation had intentions to give out art scholarships for promising young artists in Singapore in the future.
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“The award of a pure gold medal for poetry would flatter the recipient unduly: no poem ever attains such carat purity.”
—Robert Graves (18951985)