Classic furniture mixed with art

Classic furniture mixed with art

SINGAPORE - Works by well-known Asian artists adorn adman Jeff Cheong's home in Telok Kurau Road.

Five Iskandar Jalil pottery pieces sit in a lit display alcove, near the three-storey terrace house's front door. The ceramist, a Cultural Medallion recipient, had taught Cheong basic design at Temasek Polytechnic in 1993 and he started collecting his teacher's works last year. There are also two other pieces by the artist's students.

In the dining room, a sculpture of a sack-carrying coolie by local artist Lim Leong Seng has pride of place between two paintings.

Mr Cheong says he bought the sculpture to remind his three children - Seth, nine, Beth, seven, and Janneth, four - of their family history. Their great-grandfather had worked as a coolie when he came to Singapore from China after World War II.

On decorating his home with art, the vicepresident of Tribal Worldwide Asia, an advertising agency here, 37, says: "I buy these pieces because they each tell a story, not because I plan to sell them for money. I believe it's necessary to pass down a bit of history to my kids, especially with visual works of old Singapore places that are no longer around."

Chinese sculptor Wu Liang Yan's The Pressure Of Studying, a bronze depiction of a chubby- cheeked student, is perched on the living room television console. All the better "to poke fun at" his children's "plight in school", says Mr Cheong. He bought it from Ode To Art in Raffles City.

Head up the stairs and you will find more works: a painting by Malaysian artist Janiz Chan, titled World War II, of a boy mesmerised by paper planes whizzing past his head as bombs go off in the background and - Mr Cheong's favourite piece - a calligraphy piece by Cultural Medallion recipient Lim Tze Peng bearing the Chinese characters for not giving up in life.

His collection of around 20 artworks was amassed over a few months. He bought from galleries such as artcommune in New Bridge Road and Ode To Art, where general manager Jane Low helped him look out for the right pieces, as well as fairs such as the Affordable Art Fair. He declined to say how much he has spent on the art.

While the house may look like an art museum, it is also a space for entertaining friends and church mates. And it is designed to accommodate the family's love of eating and cooking.

Mr Cheong, his wife Faith, 37, who works in finance, and their children moved into the house six months ago - after three months of renovation, which cost about $300,000. Previously, they had lived in a condominium in St Patrick's Road and before that, in a four-room flat in Bedok Reservoir.

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