RI alumni show off artworks

RI alumni show off artworks
Some of the Raffles Institution alumni exhibiting their artworks are (from left) C.K. Kum, Dawn Ng, Lee Suan Hiang, Choy Weng Yang and Kum Chee Kiong.

SINGAPORE - Raffles Institution (RI), which celebrates its 190th anniversary this year, is known for producing Singapore's first two prime ministers, top civil servants and leading professionals in many fields.

But a group of seven old Rafflesians, including Cultural Medallion recipient Lee Wen, 56, and painter Dawn Ng, 31, want to show that the school has produced artistic talent too.

They have come together to stage Art Rafflesian, an exhibition of more than 20 works which opened at Chan Hampe Galleries last Saturday.

Among the works are four watercolour paintings, one dating to the early 1930s, by the late Lim Cheng Hoe, a founding member of the Singapore Watercolour Society in 1969, who was taught by British watercolourist Richard Walker when he was at Raffles Institution between 1928 and 1932.

Lim died in 1979, aged 67.

Also on show is a reproduction of a botanical art painting by a Chinese artist known as A Kow, who was probably commissioned by Sir Stamford Raffles, the Singapore founder and nature lover, to create the work in the early 19th century.

The idea for the exhibition was mooted by twin brothers, C.K. Kum and Kum Chee Kiong, both 51, and architecture graduates from the National University of Singapore who are now full-time artists.

They were supported by Mr Choy Weng Yang, an old Rafflesian and graduate from the Hornsey College of Art in London, who is showing three of his recent abstract works.

Now an art critic, he was curator of art at the National Museum between 1978 and 1985.

"We just want to bring some of the old Rafflesian artists together for a happy gathering to mark the school's 190th anniversary," said Chee Kiong, who has two sculpture works to pay tribute to Raffles in the show.

His brother, C.K., outgoing president of the Singapore Sculpture Society, said Raffles Institution may not have produced many of Singapore's artists because the school is better known for maths, science and sports, but it has artistic talent too.

"Some of the well-known artists from our school, including Ming Wong, are overseas," he added.

Another old Rafflesian taking part is 63-year-old Lee Suan Hiang, a former top civil servant well known in the art circle.

He was the National Arts Council's chief executive between 2003 and 2009.

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