Way back when we were still located at Tanglin Shopping Centre, Asia Art Collective organised Masterpieces, A Selection of Fine Artworks By Pioneering First-Generation Nanyang Artists which attracted many within the Singapore art community. As works of pioneer artist Fan Chang Tien were exhibited, this exhibition also caught the attention of his students. The exhibition therefore also became an opportunity for us to be acquainted with Tan Kee Sek, Nai Swee Leng, Lim Kay Hiong, Tan Kian Por, Lee Hock Moh and many other outstanding local artists. Since then, we have worked with Siaw-Tao time and again to organise exhibitions, conduct art events and workshops. We also had the honour of visiting the new headquarters of Siaw Tao when president Tay Bak Chiang invited us over and discussed our future collaborations. It has been our privilege to work with Siaw-Tao in the past and we look forward to many years of collaboration with them.
The Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal-Carving Calligraphy and Painting Society was established by recent NAFA graduates Tan Kian Por, Lee Hock Moh, Tan Kee Sek and Lim Buan Chay in 1971. In the fifty years since establishment, those within this society have been active members of the local art community, creating artworks as well as nurturing the next generation of artists. Thanks to their effort, there has been a steady growth of new talent. Currently, there are 107 members, making Siaw-Tao one of the most vibrant art societies in Singapore.
Established in 2016, Asia Art Collective manages the art gallery of Visual Arts Centre (Singapore). In that same year, Visual Arts Centre hosted the Siaw-Tao Society with their very first miniature painting exhibition Ini Mini Mini Mo and I had the honour of being the MC for that exhibition. In May of 2017, Ini Mini Mini Mo Ed 2 was held. Artwork from over 50 artists were exhibited, some of the participating artists includes Tay Bak Chiang, Tan Kee Sek, Lee Hock Moh, Oh Chai Hoo, Koh Mun Hong, Nai Swee Leng, Goh Chiew Lye, Tan Kian Por, Tan Chin Boon and Soh Suan Cheok. During the exhibition, we also collaborated with Siaw-Tao Society and opened a seal-carving workshop, which was very well-received by the participants. Both miniature painting exhibitions also attracted art lovers and many of the artworks on display were purchased by art collectors.
In September of 2017, the Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal-Carving Calligraphy and Painting Society worked with the International Sumi-e Association and jointly organised the Singapore-Japanese Ink Painting Exchange Exhibition and showcased 50 pieces of ink painting here at Visual Arts Centre. Asia Art Collective organised a solo exhibition for Tan Chin Boon, a member of Siaw-Tao in A State of Tranquility: A Tan Chin Boon Solo Exhibition in July 2018. For 2019, Visual Arts Centre hosted 2 exhibitions for Siaw-Tao: a fund-raising exhibition Kindle from 2 to 5 May and Unceasing – A Chinese calligraphy, painting and seal carving solo exhibition by Dr. Yew Tong Wei in July.
In August 2021, a solo exhibition for Quek Kiat Sing Prayer to Spring – LOVE was held at Visual Arts Centre. In May of 2021, Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal-Carving Calligraphy and Painting Society presented Beckoning of the Breeze II here at Visual Arts Centre. The title of the exhibition was derived from poetry by the renowned poet of Tang dynasty, Li Shangyin. Exhibits of Beckoning of the Breeze II included works from Lee Hock Moh, Tan Kian Por, Poh Bee Choo, Koh Mun Hong, Tan Kee Sek, Nai Swee Leng, Tay Bak Chiang, Oh Chai Hoo, Ng Sock Hwa, Tan Seow Wei, Lee Soon Heng and Toh Chee Hao. The artworks on display are ink painting or calligraphy written on Chinese fans. The artworks are exquisite and the layout of the display was refreshing; fans hanging from the ceiling or positioned on a stand, giving the exhibition a dynamic and 3-dimensional feel.
From 2018, Visual Arts Centre has been hosting Chinese Ink Painting Workshops with Siaw-Tao Society artists Toh Chee Hao and Li Soon Heng as our main instructors. We are deeply moved by the Society’s dedication to art and we sincerely hope to see more engaging artworks produced by the members of Siaw-Tao in the years to come.
Asia Art Collective