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Sunday, 7 October 2001

Looking for herself through art

by Mahes Perera

Soon to become a recognised feminist artist in Singapore is young Tan Yen Peng who was in Sri Lanka as one of the members of the Culture Society of Singapore, on the occasion of the launching of their Society Showcase: Art, Sculpture, Photography and Poetry Exhibition.

Tan Yen Peng poses with her painting subconscious!

The exhibition which was held at the Galadari Hotel revealed many facets of Singapore art, with artists using besides the traditional oil painting, other media like water colours and Chinese ink. Florence Shen does Chinese painting, Chinese calligraphy, stone seal engraving, portrait painting and cartoon drawing. Irene Hong Kim Geok a well known artist in Singapore has exhibited locally and overseas and her works are collected worldwide.

Young Tan yen Peng a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore majored in oil painting and spent a year in Birmingham's Institute of Art and Design to obtain her Masters in Fine Arts. Her paintings that were exhibited were effective in communication through her use of pastel and natural colours. The works displayed a sense of calmness which was extremely pleasing to the viewer. She exhibited four paintings Piecemeal, Secrets and Subconscious 1 and 2.

"Painting never provides an answer. Even if I have a definite meaning the viewer may not see it" a philosophical gambit from the vivacious Tan Yen Peng who explains that 'Piecemeal is a self portrait in shadow. What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to find myself...who am I? Secrets and Subconscious 1 and 2 carry the same theme and I feel at ease using Western techniques.' Young and full of the zest to enjoy life her paintings in contrast reflect a calmness.

Artist April NG Kiow Ngor's painting entitled 'Touching' - photo etching and screen-painting

"I was fortunate to have my art exhibited in Singapore, London, Birmingham and now here in Sri Lanka. In Singapore it was a solo exhibition, the works expressed social issues through surrealistic art. Actually I changed my style when went to Birmingham, I began to know myself better and reach out to my inner self. In Singapore, I teach children art and I try to wean them away from the violence they see on TV and help them to know themselves better and express their experiences through paint and brush."

Tan Yen Peng who is hoping to have another exhibition in Scotland soon, tells us she enjoys reading Chinese poetry and Chinese literature and wanted in her youth to be a philosopher - but chose art. "Maybe because I dream a lot - and art will make me continue to dream" quipped Tan yen.

Produced by Lake House
Copyright 2001 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.