A visit to Singapore Artist Master Choo Keng Kwang
Author: Katie Zheng
Early this morning, I was accompanied by my colleague Master. Ong Chuan Kim to pay a visit to the residence of the artist Master Choo Keng Kwang. As Mr Choo’s work has received great attention and firm recognition from the Singapore and South East Asia art community, therefore I was really looking forward to finding out more about him in person during the visit.
Prior to the visit this time, I had done a little bit of research and studies on his artwork, including his painting styles and context. From time to time when I was studying the art pieces from his album, I deeply admired his humble touch yet incredible romantic artistic expression from his work. Through his paintings, they brought me back to the fading memories of the old China town of Singapore with street barbers, theatre performances, the smell of smoked duck when crossing the streets and cheerful lantern makers , through his paintings, I find myself as if among the mysterious tropical villages, watching Balinese dancers with their sensational local performances… when i finally met up with him and had listened to his stories of his open air outdoor studio work, I found Mr. Choo’s work speaks directly of himself. Mr Choo told me about his unique experience of his 60 years of creative yet hard work. Some of his work has been selected by the Singapore government as national gift exchange with other official country heads, e.g, when Mr Lee Kuan Yew paid his first visit to President Mao in China back to 1970’s, Mr Choo’s painting of ‘Harbour’ was a national gift to President Mao as state gift from Singapore. Also we can find that his work has been presented in many prestigious institutions and organizations such as in the Embassy of Singapore in Washington D.C. but Mr. Choo never said too much of his achievements.
To be humble and stay true to himself and painting the world through his loving eyes is what I felt from Mr. Choo when I met him in person, and I believe that these distinguished parts of his character, such as being humble, generous loving and creative make him more of an respectable and outstanding artist in the world art arena.