A space for artists to create and experiment

Telok Kurau Studios is home to 28 artists and art groups who use the space to produce their works. Veteran artist Lim Leong Seng is one of the first batch of artists to hone their craft there.
Mr Lim in his studio space at Telok Kurau Studios. The veteran artist said his move to the place, the first visual artist centre developed by the NAC, was the turning point in his career. "The space allowed me to create and experiment with my art. Ha
Mr Lim in his studio space at Telok Kurau Studios. The veteran artist said his move to the place, the first visual artist centre developed by the NAC, was the turning point in his career. "The space allowed me to create and experiment with my art. Had I not come here, I wouldn't be the artist I am today," he said. PHOTOS: ST VIDEO
Mr Lim in his studio space at Telok Kurau Studios. The veteran artist said his move to the place, the first visual artist centre developed by the NAC, was the turning point in his career. "The space allowed me to create and experiment with my art. Ha
Mr Lim working on a sculpture at Telok Kurau Studios, which is home to 26 artists and two art groups.PHOTOS: ST VIDEO

The first time he tried his hand at sculpting was at home in a kampung as a budding artist in the late 1970s.

To date, veteran artist Lim Leong Seng has created 30 public sculptures and held eight solo exhibitions. He is known for his bold and experimental works of art, which include those using bronze, steel, Chinese ink, oil and mixed- media collage.

The 67-year-old remembers his kampung home in Island Club Road as a place where he could "create whatever artwork or installation I wanted". He said: "It was a beautiful place with lots of nature. There was a lot of space, so storage of my works was not a problem."

After moving into a Housing Board flat in 1981, however, most of his artwork and installations had to be discarded as there was no storage space.

He returned to painting and put aside his passion for sculpting.

Then came 1997.

That year, Mr Lim was one of 20 artists selected for the National Arts Council's (NAC) Arts Housing Scheme at the former Telok Kurau Primary School.

The home-grown sculptor said his move to Telok Kurau Studios was the turning point in his career.

The scheme was started to provide affordable spaces for artists and art groups to create and exhibit their works. Telok Kurau Studios was the first visual artist centre developed by the NAC.

"The space allowed me to create and experiment with my art. Had I not come here, I wouldn't be the artist I am today," he said.

In this episode of Living City, Straits Times Video visits Telok Kurau Studios, home to 26 artists and two art groups.

Living City is a 10-part video series that explores overlooked spaces and the stories of the people who dwell in them.

WATCH THE VIDEO

http://www.straitstimes.com/videos

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2017, with the headline 'A space for artists to create and experiment'. Print Edition | Subscribe