SINGAPORE - A show shining the spotlight on five Cultural Medallion artists has sprung up at STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery. The maestros are the late Chinese ink painter Chua Ek Kay, collage artist Goh Beng Kwan, sculptor Han Sai Por, watercolour painter Ong Kim Seng, and performance artist Amanda Heng.
As the global pandemic rages on, STPI has decided to focus more on local artists this year, says the exhibition's curator Rachel Tan, noting that the selected artists, aside from being recipients of Singapore's highest accolade for the arts, had also previously done residencies with STPI.
Many of the works in the show respond to environments in Singapore, meditating on nature, urbanity and their intersections.
"This pause for reflection invites a tone of quiet contemplation. Slower looking is something we are trying to encourage," Ms Tan adds.
VIEW IT/SHAPING VISIONS
Where: STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery, 41 Robertson Quay
When: Daily till Nov 15, 10am to 7pm (weekdays), 9am to 6pm (Saturdays), and 10am to 5pm (Sundays). Closed on public holidays.
Admission: Free. Most of the works are for sale.
A virtual dialogue between Amanda Heng and Joyce Toh will take place on Oct 10, from 3 to 4pm. Click here to sign up.
Here are some of the works on display:
Reflections On The Lotus Pond (2002), a dynamic, rhythmic work by Chua Ek Kay , displays the freehand style of xieyi ("write ideas"). This lithograph on handmade paper work is part of his Lotus Pond series.
Punggol wasn't always a concrete jungle: decades ago, the north-eastern neighbourhood was home to pig farms. Ong Kim Seng pays tribute to the estate's history in the watercolour on paper work Punggol Flats (2008), where a sow and her piglet appear in a shadow on a HDB block.
Goh Beng Kwan's mixed media collage Rock Island (2000) was born of a stormy time in his life, when his wife was unwell and he had to be the rock of his family. The dark background of the work gives the illusion of a grid that moors, locks and traps the elements in place.
These white marble forms by Han Sai Por seem like mutations of organic shapes - gesturing, perhaps, towards the manicured artifice of the garden city. These sculptures, which have a remarkably animated, pliant quality, were sculpted last year (2019) as part of Han's Flora series.
Amanda Heng's Another Woman series, created in the 1990s, explores the bond between Heng and her dialect-speaking mother, one of many older women who felt displaced in a rapidly changing Singapore. The photographic prints in the series appear next to Twenty Years Later (2014), which shows Heng and her mother in an intimate embrace.