Since the 1952 historic painting trip to Bali embarked by pioneer artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi, Chen Chong Swee and Liu Kang, which invigorated the local art scene with fresh subject matters and pictorial styles, many artists in Singapore sought to explore the diverse and exuberant landscapes and cultures of Southeast Asia. The multifarious modes and expressions in which Singapore artists articulate their encounters with the scenes and peoples of the region constitute a dominant thread in the evolution of the early Singapore art scene (1930s – 1980s).
Featuring 25 artworks that include oil, ink and batik paintings, Nostalgic Chronicles: Ten Men Art Group is a commemorative exhibition that carries audience back in time to appreciate the visual inspirations and adventures characterising the painting trips made by a passionate group of local artists between the period of 1961 and the early 1970s. On showcase are works by Yeh Chi Wei, Lim Tze Peng, Seah Kim Joo, Chen Cheng Mei, Tan Choh Tee, Choo Keng Kwang and others. Apart from its rich historical narrative, the exhibition guarantees a feast for the eyes; in particular, works by Yeh Chi Wei are rare sightings outside of precious institutional displays.
Informally led by pioneer artist Yeh Chi Wei, these group trips comprise a loose line-up of regular participants that include Lim Tze Peng, Choo Keng Kwang and Seah Kim Joo, along with others such as Chen Cheng Mei, Yeo Hwee Bin, Shui Tit Sing, Chee Phee Chye, Lai Foong Moi, Tan Choh Tee, Tan Teo Kwang and Lee Sik Khoon. Each of these road trips culminated to an exhibition (usually self-funded by the participating members) that showcased that works produced by the artists during and after the trip.
Despite being an informal art group, the success and cross-cultural interactions established by the Ten Men Art Group and its exhibitions eventually led to the formation of the Southeast Asian Art Association in 1970, with Yeh Chi Wei as its president. This formal organization continues in the spirit of the Ten Men Art Group by regularly organising cross-border trips and exchanges between artists of the region.
Venue: artcommune gallery, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #03-39, Singapore 180231
When: 24 Jun - 3 Jul 2016, 12noon - 7pm daily