Friday, 15 November 2019, 6.30pm
Lim Hak Tai Gallery
Mr Jerry Soo, NAFA Vice President (Academic)
Mr Boo Sze Yang, Artist
Dr Wang Ruobing, Lecturer, McNally School of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts
The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) proudly presents “Soul Yield”, the first solo exhibition by award-winning contemporary artist, NAFA alumnus and long-serving lecturer Chiew Sien Kuan. The exhibition showcases a selection of 30 prints, paintings, assemblage and installations that traces his artistic journey from 1993 to recent years.
Chiew Sien Kuan is a dedicated educator who has been on the NAFA Fine Art faculty since 1995. He was Acting Head from 1995 to 1998, Deputy Head in 1999, 2007 to 2014 and subsequently served as a Programme Leader from 2015 to 2018. Despite his academic duties, he has persisted in his professional practice. Chiew has extensive experience in creating public art and has provided advisory services for public or community art projects in the last ten years.
This exhibition’s organic, thought-provoking and contemplative works offer a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind. As an artist, Chiew seeks to explore profoundly abstract concepts and principles relating to how people live and think, and how art is made. His interest lies in re-examining and re-inventing traditional aesthetics through his use of found objects collected over a period of time (often spanning 10 to 15 years), as well as recycled, experimental, and conventional items. His works, which are constantly evolving, often reflect complex social and environmental challenges that arise from issues of modernity, rapid urbanisation, economic progress and technological development, providing commentary on their influence, as well as how people react to the changes all around them.
One highlight of the exhibition is ‘Warffin 02 (Blow)’. The title is a combination of ‘War’ and ‘Coffin’, and the work is an assemblage of wood, readymade objects and stainless steel which were pieced together with deliberate and thoughtful care across a span of 3 years from 2013 to 2016. Another highlight is the painting ‘Landscape of the Western Island - Lightning’ that was created from 2018 to 2019, it vividly encapsulates his ruminations on the Bible and how its verses connect to what he has painted. These two works reflect Chiew’s trademark free-spirited and cathartic style.
A masterclass workshop with Chiew titled ‘A sum of its parts, deconstructed assemblage’ will be held in conjunction with the exhibition. This 3-hour masterclass comprises an exhibition walkthrough with the artist as well as a studio session where the participants get to create their own assemblage project to tell a story through natural and manmade found objects.
Dr Bridget Tracy Tan, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts and Art Galleries at NAFA commented that, "This exhibition showcases Chiew Sien Kuan's practice and is a story about making. Sometimes, exhibitions show stories about different themes or concepts, but this show is truly a story about making things." She further elaborated: "There's an enigmatic quality to material things that defy convention. And Chiew Sien Kuan's show offers the audience an engaging and unique perspective on this in contemporary Southeast Asian art today."
This unique, ever-evolving showcase of works by a respected local artist as well as the accompanying workshop, is aligned with NAFA’s mission to inspire the creative learning and growth of the academy’s students, artists, and faculty, strengthening NAFA’s position as a premier arts institution in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Annex 1 – Selected works
Annex 2 - About the Artist