Depth of Being: Wee Beng-Chong

24 March 2021

水牛 Water Buffalo (1974) , Ciment fondu, 40 x 68 x 28H cm

31 Mar 2021 (Wed) – 14 Apr 2021 (Wed), 11am to 7pm daily
The Ngee Ann Kongsi Galleries 1 & 2, NAFA Campus 1
80 Bencoolen St, Singapore 189655
Free admission, closed on Mondays
Enquiries: [email protected] / 6512 4000

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is proud to present Depth of Being: Wee Beng-Chong 黄明宗缤纷艺境展, a survey exhibition featuring sculptures, paintings, calligraphy and seal engravings from across six decades of practice and experimentation by eminent art educator and artist, Wee Beng-Chong. One of the first recipients of the Cultural Medallion since its establishment in 1979, Wee presents his 15th solo exhibition showcasing close to 70 wide-ranging works from the 1960s to 2019.

The diverse mediums and styles in the exhibition provide a lens into the versatile artist’s mastery, style and story. Highlights of the exhibition include his early works such as Backstage – Puppet Show 后台—木偶戏 (oil on canvas, 1961), depicting coloured blocks carefully arranged to reflect the lively atmosphere of the stage behind the scenes.  His extraordinary sensitivity to material and mastery of sculpting led to several commissions of portrait busts for prominent people and businessmen such as UOB founder Datuk Wee Kheng Chiang (ciment fondu, 1974). Young Lady 少女 (ciment fondu, 1971) is a life-like portrait bust of a young student which skilfully exudes the personality and innocence of the subject. A selection of works which has never been exhibited in public are also featured in this extensive repertoire. Rooted in Chinese writing and Western modern art concepts, his works are bold and innovative. At 83 years of age, Wee is still learning and pushing himself to explore new possibilities with each new piece he creates.

Born in 1938, Wee Beng-Chong is a prolific figure in the development of visual arts and arts education in Singapore. His formal education at NAFA from 1955 to 1958 was instrumental to his development as he studied with pioneer artists such as Lim Hak Tai, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi, Cheong Soo Pieng and Georgette Chen, and was exposed to diverse styles and approaches to art-making. After graduation, he ventured abroad to Paris to enrol in L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts where he studied sculpture. Wee returned to NAFA in 1981 as a teacher, heading the Fine Art Department from 1982 to 1989 and continued to teach full-time at the academy for the next four decades as a Senior Teaching Fellow. To this day, he remains a valued part of the faculty as an adjunct lecturer.

An active member of the visual arts community, Wee co-founded the Modern Art Society Singapore (1964)  and the Shicheng Calligraphy & Seal-Carving Society (1994); and founded the Contemporary Print Making Association of Singapore (1980) and the Lanting Art Society, Singapore (1987). He continues to play an advisory role in many art societies in Singapore today.

Depth of Being: Wee Beng-Chong 黄明宗缤纷艺境展 pays homage to heritage and history of arts and pioneer artists in Singapore, while looking to inspire learning and growth through education and practice. The exhibition further spotlights Wee as a symbolic individual who personifies NAFA’s spirit of creativity, exploration and resilience.

ANNEX 1 – Images of Selected Works
ANNEX 2 – Artist Biography
ANNEX 3 – Background Information