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Minister for Arts Lui Tuck Yew to Open Lim Tze Peng's Exhibition at Singapore Gallery
Lim Tze Peng, Under A Crooked Tree, 68 cm x 68.5 cm.
SINGAPORE.- Almost 90 years old, Mr. Lim Tze Peng has lived through the ups and downs of Singapore’s history, and is one of the country’s most enduring artists. His passion has always been to conserve Singapore’s heritage – if not by preserving buildings and traditions, then by immortalizing them through his timeless art. Like in his other Singapore River and Chinatown paintings, Lim does this skillfully in My Kampong, My Home, a series of works capturing nostalgic scenes from Singapore’s Malay kampongs in the 1970s.

The artwork is easy to appreciate, especially for those who have lived through the 70s in rural Singapore. And for those who have not, the images cause one to wonder what life must have been like in Singapore’s earlier days. Women, children, animals, and homes, captured in varying states of work, rest and play, paint a beautiful tapestry of kampong life. My Kampong, My Home: Lim Tze Peng represents the first time these early works by Lim have been gathered in whole and exhibited to the public. Wang Zineng, curator of the exhibition, said, “My Kampong, My Home affirms Lim Tze Peng’s place of importance as arguably the most thorough artist-documenter of the changing landscape in Singapore. Coming as the artist is nearly turning 90 years old underscores the importance and poignancy of the exhibition.”

From the paintings, it is clear that Lim’s art is inspired by a deep understanding and familiarity with his subjects. It is not only his adroit handling of the brush – honed by a disciplined routine of calligraphy each morning – that makes his paintings remarkable. Having lived in the kampongs himself, it is Lim’s personal experiences that give his paintings a soul, and make My Kampong, My Home deeply Singaporean. “I painted what I know, what I love,” said Lim. “What an artist paints has to come from within him; he has to know what he paints.”

This exhibition represents the private initiative and efforts of the Friends of Lim Tze Peng – supporters and friends of Lim who appreciate the depth of his work and want to honour him and his family. Drawn to Lim’s art and inspired by his life, this group of individuals felt compelled to showcase the artist they love and share his work with the public. “Lim Tze Peng is a remarkable local artist whose paintings bear great significance for Singapore,” says Linda Neo, a main organizer and a friend of Lim. “And as accomplished as he is, Mr. Lim remains such a humble, unassuming man. We’ve put this exhibition together to acknowledge his contributions to Singapore’s art history and preserve his legacy – especially for the younger people.”

Coinciding with the exhibition is the release of a book titled after the exhibition and featuring all 132 paintings from this kampong series. But the book is much more than just an art catalogue – it brings to life the remarkable man behind the paintings. Mr Woon Tai Ho, author and regional media consultant, has written a casual yet engaging narrative of his personal encounters with Lim that weaves seamlessly through the paintings in the book. Walking the reader through the inspiring life story of Lim Tze Peng, Tai Ho’s heart-warming accounts reveal more about Lim as a husband, father, and a self-made Singaporean artist. Said Tai Ho, “Talking with Lim Tze Peng and writing his story, what I saw most clearly – behind the coconut trees, attap huts and women in his kampong paintings – was a simple man taking his place in Singapore’s unfolding art history.”

Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister will open My Kampong, My Home: Lim Tze Peng at 6:30pm on Wednesday, 8 December at the Singapore Management University Gallery.

Singapore Gallery | Lui Tuck Yew | Lim Tze Peng |


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