Acclaimed Singapore artist Choo Keng Kwang, known for his oil paintings of Chinatown and doves, died early yesterday morning at the age of 88. The master artist, who was admitted to Sengkang General Hospital earlier this month after suffering a stroke, is survived by his wife, five children and six grandchildren.
Born in Singapore in 1931, Mr Choo was the only son of a Teochew trader. After gaining certificates from Catholic High School and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) – where he had enrolled simultaneously – he began his career as a teacher. He was later the principal of Sin Hua School and head of the art education department at Nafa.
He started on-the-spot painting in the streets when he was in his 30s. Accompanied by his tireless father, who would carry the easel and paints, and an umbrella to shelter his son, he headed to places such as Chinatown and staked out his subjects for hours on end. Mr Choo eventually gained a reputation as a painter who could combine Western impressionism and rules of perspective with traditional Chinese brushwork.
He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1976 for his contributions to art. A long-time philanthropist, he has also donated his paintings and proceeds from their sales to charity.
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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.