A show of his lifelong passion

Eng Siak Loy's (right) latest work of a Kathmandu scene (left) and The Aftermath (above), which shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, are some of the pieces presented in Art, Heart & Soul.
Eng Siak Loy's (above) latest work of a Kathmandu scene and The Aftermath, which shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, are some of the pieces presented in Art, Heart & Soul.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Eng Siak Loy's (right) latest work of a Kathmandu scene (left) and The Aftermath (above), which shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, are some of the pieces presented in Art, Heart & Soul.
Eng Siak Loy's latest work of a Kathmandu scene and The Aftermath (above), which shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, are some of the pieces presented in Art, Heart & Soul.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Artist-designer Eng Siak Loy presents about 60 oil paintings from the 1960s to the present in his third solo exhibition

Second-generation artist-designer Eng Siak Loy is staging his third solo exhibition, showing about 60 of his oil paintings from the early 1960s to the present.

Titled Art, Heart & Soul, it is presented by the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Botanic Gardens and the 75-year-old artist himself.

Most of the paintings depict the flora and fauna at the Botanic Gardens, now a Unesco World Heritage site.

Others are from his travels after he retired from NParks as head of its graphic and art department in 2009.

That was also the year when he held his second one-man exhibition which coincided with the Botanic Gardens' 150th anniversary celebrations. At that show, NParks named an orchid after him, Dendrobium Eng Siak Loy, for his contributions which included his design of the Botanic Gardens' main gate, sculptures and murals there and in places such as Gardens by the Bay and Fort Canning.


Eng Siak Loy’s latest work of a Kathmandu scene (above) and The Aftermath, which shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, are some of the pieces presented in Art, Heart & Soul. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

  • VIEW IT / ART, HEART & SOUL

  • WHERE: CDL Green Gallery, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road

    WHEN: Till April 2, 9am to 6pm daily

    ADMISSION: Free

His first exhibition, of his flower series of paintings, was held in 2006.

The current exhibition, which opened at the Botanic Gardens' CDL Green Gallery last week, is a retrospective show of sorts as it includes his earlier works dating to the early 1960s. The earliest piece, which is dated 1961, is The Aftermath. It shows the scene after the Bukit Ho Swee fire that year which left thousands of kampung dwellers homeless. His latest work of a Kathmandu scene was completed only last month.

"This show took me a year to plan and it illustrates my lifelong passion in art," says Eng, who now spends more time painting.

The China-born artist left his hometown in Chao'an county in Guangdong province with his mother when he was eight to join his father and maternal grandfather, who had arrived in Singapore earlier.

After graduating from the now- defunct Singapore Art Academy in 1960, he worked as a graphic artist with the former Radio and Television Singapore. He later worked for the Education and National Development ministries before joining NParks in 1990.

Married to a schoolteacher with three children, he started designing postal stamps, coins and currency notes in 1969, several of them award-winning ones. In 1999, he designed the entire Portrait Series of Singapore currency notes featuring Singapore's first Head of State Yusof Ishak.

He won the President's Designer of the Year Award in 2007.

Photographs showing his major sculptures and murals for NParks and samples of some postal stamps, coins and currency notes he designed are also exhibited at the show.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'A show of his lifelong passion'. Print Edition | Subscribe