Bookends

Ms Chloe Cai is a senior art specialist.
Ms Chloe Cai is a senior art specialist.PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHLOE CAI

Who: Ms Chloe Cai, 31, is the business development manager and senior art specialist at Merlin Frame Maker & Art Gallery, the organiser of the exhibition, Appreciating The Art Of Chen Wen Hsi By Johnny Quek. Chen is one of Singapore's pioneer artists and Mr Quek is the director of the gallery.

The free exhibition, which started on July 29 and ends tomorrow, is at the gallery in Waterloo Street. Art pieces by other renowned local artists are also on show.

What are you reading now? The Letters Of Vincent Van Gogh by Mark Roskill and Vincent Van Gogh. His letters chart a haunting narrative of his personal struggle and eventual descent into mental illness.

The book is an insight into the brilliant mind of a brilliant artist. But more importantly, it's so real. Van Gogh expresses his humanity poignantly and you feel like you're getting to know him personally.

You will empathise with him, you will feel his struggle and pain. It's a great piece of literature combining art history and human nature. It also gives you a better appreciation of his art to know his mindset and the circumstances in which he had to create in. The letters paint a sincere and moving picture of the human condition.

What books would you save from a burning house? My lifelong collection of diaries. I can buy any other book again, but I cannot do that with my private musings.

Ms Chloe Cai is a senior art specialist.
The Letters Of Vincent Van Gogh by Mark Roskill and Vincent Van Gogh

I've kept diaries for almost as long as I could write. Recording my experiences gives me the opportunity to reflect on each day, and again and again as the months and years go by, to see how I've grown and to see how I can move forward.

These diaries allow me to take a step back and evaluate my life, through the lens of the experiences that have shaped who I am today and who I want to become.

• The Letters Of Vincent Van Gogh by Mark Roskill and Vincent Van Gogh (Touchstone Books, 2008, $27.21) is available at Books Kinokuniya.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 07, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe