Singapore in rhapsody of colours

One of the works from the Sunrise series (above) by China-born oil painter Wu Xueli.
One of the works from the Sunrise series (above) by China-born oil painter Wu Xueli. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
One of the works from the Sunrise series by China-born oil painter Wu Xueli (above).
One of the works from the Sunrise series by China-born oil painter Wu Xueli (above).ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

China-born oil painter Wu Xueli's feelings for Singapore, where she has lived the past 25 years, are shown in the 30 semi-abstract works she is showing at her exhibition, Rhapsody Of Colours, which opens at the Pan Pacific Hotel tomorrow.

The 53-year-old artist, who moved here from Beijing in 1991 and became a Singaporean after marrying a chartered insurer her age here three years later, says the hues she layered in yellow, red, blue and green on her recent paintings represent Singapore's four main racial groups - Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians.

Wu, who is known for her bold use of colour, with depth and strong textures, says she has been inspired by the batik painting of the Malays and the vibrant colours used by the Indians.

Calling herself a "colourist painter", she says she has been using colours, more than form, to express herself over the past 20 years.

An example is the Sunrise series in the show, which she painted at East Coast Park two months ago. They include one in golden yellow measuring 1.2m by 1m and another similar-sized painting in purple. The first painting shows hope, with the glow of the morning sun, and the beauty of rosy pink clouds over the sea at the start of a new day is reflected in the second artwork.


  • WHERE: Public Art Space, Level 2, Pan Pacific Hotel, 7 Raffles Boulevard

    WHEN: Tomorrow to May 1, 10 am to 9 pm daily


Another is her abstract and colourful depiction of the three towers and Sands SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, measuring 2m by 1.2m in blue, red, green and yellow.

"Besides the new landmark in town, I frequent the Botanic Gardens, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park to paint because I am fascinated by the plants and trees there. These are captured in some of my other works completed recently for the show," says Wu, who has a master's of fine arts from RMIT University in Australia, in addition to a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from Beijing.

The mother of a 19-year-old daughter has been a part-time lecturer in art appreciation at SIM University since 2013, but is taking a semester off this academic year.

On her works, Mr Jack Yu, director of Goshen Art Gallery, which is staging her show, says: "They reflect the artist's visual expression of her inner soul, creative thinking as well as her feelings in the process of painting."

After the show, which is her eighth solo exhibition here since 1991, the artist says she plans to travel to Guilin in southern China to paint the beautiful scenery there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore in rhapsody of colours'. Print Edition | Subscribe