Anthony YS Tan

Artist’s Love for Art and the Sea Sends him on a Journey to Lend Budding Artists a Helping Hand

Songs of the Sea II – The Voyage

4 – 12 March 2006

Gallery, The Arts House

Free Admission

Singapore, 22 March 2006 – Singaporean artist Anthony Y.S. Tan, will be exhibiting a new collection of some 20 paintings at The Arts House from 4 – 12 March, themed around the marine environment. The artworks, which form the exhibition Songs of the Sea II – The Voyage were inspired by Mr Tan’s recent visit to the Riau Islands.

Mr Tan is a self-taught artist. His body of work reveals his passion for the sea, which is the subject of his works; his mediums of choice are oils, acrylic and aquarelle. As a child, his favourite pastimes include fishing and swimming as well as spending a lot of time on kelongs. The many places he used to frequent as a child, include Bedok Jetty, Marine Parade and the Riau Islands. The sea has been his source for inspiration from a young age. In fact, it is his love for the sea that inspired him to hold this exhibition. Through this exhibition, he hopes to raise awareness of the sea as a universal element that links people together.

His first public solo exhibition entitled, Songs of the Sea, was held at the Alliance Francaise in 1998. The artworks then featured many themes, mainly figurative, on fishes, sharks, kelongs, idyllic beach scenes, traditional Southeast Asian boats, seaside kampungs, lighthouses, shells, corals, islands.

Songs of the Sea II – The Voyage will feature some twenty paintings inspired by his recent expedition to the Riau islands which took its roots at Battuta Resort, home of his long-time friend Richard Liu, on Mapor Island off Bintan. From Battuta, he traversed the sandbanks, promontories, muds, mangroves, waters, islands around the neighbouring waters and islands. The expedition itself brought the artist to yet another platform of realisation.

His works are now contemporary abstracts and have gathered a following of collectors and corporate clients like The Tung Lok Group, United Overseas Bank, The Four Seasons, Raffles Marina, PSA Corporation.

The artworks in the exhibition will be available for sale. Mr Tan will be donating fifty per cent of his proceeds from the sale of the artworks towards the Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF). This exhibition will also be the first of three, which is part of the BTBAF’s fund raising programme. The other two local artists who will be also exhibiting their works at the Arts House are Mr Sarkasi Said and Ms Parvathi Nayar.

Speaking enthusiastically about his exhibition, Mr Tan says, “…the paintings reflect abstracted forms and feelings of various marine scenes as perceived by the viewer who may or may not have experienced the actual water environment, both above and below.”

One of the most beautiful paintings in this exhibition would be a piece entitled, The Voyage – Inspiration. Painted in striking hues of red, the fluidity of Mr Tan’s brush strokes gives the viewer a sense of movement within this painting. Mr Tan describes his thought process behind this piece, which is a metaphor for “the artist making a voyage through the Riau islands to seek inspiration for his art.” This painting also happens to a favorite of his wife, Mrs Christine Tan.

The BTBAF provides children distanced by socio-economic circumstances the means to gain exposure and training in the arts. In addition to Mr Tan’s generous contribution, he will also be holding workshops for these budding artists. He will be sharing with them skills and techniques involved in art-making in these workshops, which will be held at a later date.

The fund, which started in May 2005, is an initiative of The Old Parliament House Limited who runs The Arts House. To date, the fund has managed provided arts training in visual and performing arts like singing and dancing for over 200 children aged between five to twelve years old. A key milestone of this fund would be the launch of an academy in August later this year. The academy will offer courses in performing arts and visual arts. Registration opens in June.

The exhibition will open to the public on 4 March (Saturday) and close on 12 March (Sunday) at the Gallery on level two of The Arts House. The Arts House is located at 1 Old Parliament Lane. The gallery opens from Mondays to Sundays, 10am to 8pm. Admission to the exhibition is free.