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Visual Arts

Ang Ah Tee

Second-generation artist, recognised for his vivid landscape paintings.

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Published: 12 Oct 2016


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It doesn’t matter if your art is contemporary or representational or abstract, the most important thing for aspiring artists is to study and gain a good foundation in art. And, of course hard work.

Ang Ah Tee is a second-generation Singapore artist. The 1962 Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts graduate and watercolour, oil and acrylic painter is best known for his vivid landscape paintings inspired by his extensive travels around the world as well as for his compelling abstract works. He is also one of the nation’s most prolific artists, and has held 11 solo exhibitions, participating in many group exhibitions internationally. In 2009, Ang received the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to visual arts in Singapore.

Born in 1943 in Singapore, Ang Ah Tee discovered a passion for art at a very young age, beginning to paint when he was five. Wanting to go to an art school after his secondary school studies, Ang faced initial disapproval from his mother, who eventually allowed him to enrol at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

This began Ang’s formal art education, and he was tutored by Singapore art pioneers in the three years he spent at the academy. Among his teachers, he counts Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng—both pioneering Nanyang style artists—as having the most significant influence on his art. Chen would inculcate in Ang the importance of building a strong foundation in his artistic studies and practice, and Cheong’s creativity was a source of constant inspiration for Ang.

When he graduated, he started working as a clerk in the Port of Singapore Authority in order to make a living for himself. While there, he continued to paint in his free time. In 1974, he won the Open Art Competition organised by the Port of Singapore Authority and participated in a group exhibition in the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Over the years, his increasingly long and irregular working hours meant that he had less time for his art. He decided to leave his job in 1977 so that he could become a full-time artist.

His initial years as a full-time artist were challenging for Ang as he struggled to support himself. But with the support of Della Butcher, who was a champion of Singapore artists and who held many of Ang’s solo exhibitions at her art gallery, Ang gained exposure and financial support as his paintings regularly sold well at these exhibitions. Ang then began travelling, at first to regional destinations such as Bali, Bangkok, Delhi and Hong Kong, and then later on a tour of Europe and other countries.

Initially known for his early watercolour and oil paintings of Singapore landmarks such as Chinatown, the Singapore River, Little India and Victoria Memorial Hall, Ang’s expeditions around the world resulted in vibrant, often lyrical depictions of diverse landmarks, cityscapes, townscapes and villagescapes in acrylic, such as his renowned works Kashmir (1994), Shanghai (1994) and First Day of Summer (1996).

Ang’s switch to the fast-drying medium of acrylic enabled him to combine the techniques of both watercolour and oil painting, and to paint spontaneously and speedily. His works, comprising both abstract and representational paintings, grew in scale. They became characterised by glowing and dense images richly textured and coloured with a warm, personal palette of reds, golds, browns and yellows, or monochromatic silver-greys applied with the strong, sure strokes of his palette knife.

Through his career, Ang exhibited his art at many solo and group exhibitions both in Singapore and internationally. In 2009. Ang received the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to visual arts in Singapore.

Today, Ang continues to paint and is currently exploring the combination of Western elements with Chinese ink strokes. His many landscape and abstract works remain well sought-after by collectors around the region and can be found around the world in locations as diverse as the Istana in Singapore and the permanent mission of the United Nations in New York, USA.

Timeline

11 Nov 1943

Born in Singapore

1960 to 1962

Graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

1962 to 1977

Clerk, Port Authority of Singapore.

1974

Distinction Award, Open Art Competition, Port of Singapore Authority.

Participated in Two Man Show group exhibition, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

1976

Participated in Bali Tour Art Exhibition, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

1977

Participated in Jubilee Art Exhibition for Queen Elizabeth, London, UK.

1978

Received National Day Art Exhibition Award, Ministry of Culture, Singapore.

1979

Participated in Joint Art Exhibition, Hilton Hotel, Bahrain and Sheraton Hotel Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

1980

Solo exhibition, Ming Court Hotel, Singapore.

Participated in Singapore Contemporary Paintings group exhibition, Fifth Festival of Asian Art, Hong Kong.

Participated in group exhibition, Convention Hall, Tel Aviv, Israel.

1982

Solo exhibition, Ming Court Hotel, Singapore.

1984

Solo exhibition, Ming Court Hotel, Singapore.

Participated in Singapore Artist Art Exhibition, Panaga Club, Brunei.

1985

Solo exhibition, Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore.

1986

Participated in Singapore Artist Art Exhibition, National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan.

1988

Solo exhibition, Hyatt Hotel, Singapore.

1989

Participated in 1st Brunei-Singapore Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Brunei.

1990

Participated in Singapore Artists Speak, National Museum Art Gallery Singapore.

1993

Solo exhibition, The Next Step, Shenn’s Gallery, Singapore.

1994

Created Kashmir.

Created Shanghai.

1995

Participated in President’s Watercolour Selections, Singapore.

1996

Created First Day of Summer.

1997

Solo exhibition New Destinations, Caldwell House, CHIJMES, Singapore.

2000

Participated in Asian Watercolours 2000, Taipei, Taiwan.

2001

Received First Prize (Western Painting), Dr Tan Tsze Chor Art Award, Singapore.

Participated in Singapore Art Society & Dr Tan Tsze Chor Art Award Exhibition.

2003

Solo exhibition Visual Enchantments, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

2005

Participated in DBS Art Collection Exhibition, The Arts House, Singapore.

2006

Solo exhibition Inspired Journey, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore.

Solo exhibition Oviato Collection – Ang Ah Tee’s Paintings, Singapore.

Participated in Important Second Generation Artists, DLR Gallery, Singapore.

2007

Featured in art documentary television series Travelling Palette 2, Art Central, Singapore.

Participated in Unique 9, Cape of Good Hope Gallery, Singapore.

2008

Published catalogue Exotic Visual Journey.

2009

Received Cultural Medallion for contributions to visual arts.

Participated in Stretch Your Imagination, a joint art exhibition featuring Singapore and Malaysia artists, Malaysia and Taiwan.

2010

Solo exhibition Fascinating Visions, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore

Solo exhibition New Vision, Penang State Gallery, Malaysia.


TributeSG

TributeSG celebrates the arts community’s most senior members, and those who have made a lifetime of contribution to the arts. These artists, administrators, educators, patrons, and champions include many Singapore arts pioneers who laid the foundations of the vibrant arts and cultural scene we enjoy today. The many profiles in TributeSG let us into the minds and worlds of these pioneers, and help us understand our shared arts heritage. When we revisit their works and rediscover their journeys, we learn where we came from and how we came to be. Collectively, their stories tell the tale of the making of a nation’s artistic identity.

In putting together this collection, the TributeSG team consulted an external advisory panel, consisting of Arun Mahiznan, Choo Thiam Siew, J. P. Nathan, K. K. Seet, Kwok Kian Chow, and Iskandar Ismail. Those selected to be profiled in TributeSG met one of the following criteria: they were at least 60 years of age as of 12 Oct 2016, or deceased, or had received national recognition in the form of the Cultural Medallion. This journey of arts archival officially came to a close on 12 Oct 2016, after four years of extensive research, interviews and collation of information graciously provided by the TributeSG pioneers, their families and peers. TributeSG also benefited from enthusiastic help from like-minded friends and organisations who supported Esplanade’s cause—to remember, honour and celebrate Singapore’s arts pioneers.

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