National Gallery Singapore’s latest My Masterpiece ambassador Suhaimi Yusof reflected on the way in which nature has been his constant reminder to appreciate the simpler things in life. The multi-talented performer was captivated by Liu Kang’s Artist and Model, which portrays a painting within a painting set against a picturesque landscape.
“Being in the show business, nature offers an escape for me. Every now and then I will drive around with my family to places like the parks, the beaches and even farms just to get away from city life,” said Mr Suhaimi. “This painting reminds us to take time to appreciate the natural beauty that’s all around us.”
The showbiz veteran, who has spent more than two decades in the limelight, mused on the wonder of natural beauty in its purest state. Describing the scene of a woman posing for an artist in the painting, Mr Suhaimi added, “Look at the artist and his relaxed model – to me, a woman is the most natural subject of adoration.”
In 1952, Liu Kang, together with three other pioneer artists, Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi and Chen Chong Swee, went on a painting expedition to Bali in search of a visual expression that was distinctly Southeast Asian. Created from their time in Bali, Liu Kang’s Artist and Model is based on a scene of a Balinese woman posing for artist Chen Wen Hsi. Following their inspiring and fruitful time together, the group held the “Bali Exhibition” at the British Council Hall in Singapore. This exhibition has been widely perceived as the beginning of the Nanyang School, one of the most influential and prominent art movements in Singapore and Malaya. Just as the beauty of Bali animated the pioneering Nanyang artists in portraying facets of life in Southeast Asia, the latest My Masterpiece ambassador was drawn to ponder the art of life through Liu Kang’s artwork.
For the rest of this year, the Gallery will continue to unveil significant artworks which encompass diverse periods, marking key moments in the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia. The artworks were created by important artists from the region and personally chosen by 12 local personalities who express their unique connection with these artworks. The other ambassadors in the My Masterpiece campaign include popular MediaCorp actress Joanne Peh, celebrity chef Willin Low, distinguished writer Professor Edwin Thumboo, comedian Kumar Chinnadurai, entrepreneurs Elim Chew and Olivia Lum and award-winning director Anthony Chen. You can view Suhaimi Yusof’s video and find out more information about Liu Kang’s Artist and Model on the Gallery’s Facebook page here.
Educating and Inspiring Singaporeans
My Masterpiece is the first of an exciting line-up of initiatives and activities that will bring Singaporeans closer to their arts heritage leading up to the opening of the National Gallery Singapore in November 2015. The Gallery aims to capture the artistic spirit of Singapore and Southeast Asia. By sharing stories of our region’s distinctive art within the global context, we seek to be a leading visual arts institution that inspires and engages our people and our neighbours, creating a dialogue between the art of Singapore, Southeast Asia and the world. The Gallery also seeks to encourage a deeper appreciation of art, and foster a greater sense of national and cultural pride.