Bruneian painter lands first solo exhibition in S’pore

National 2 minutes, 15 seconds


A BRUNEIAN painter has just landed her first solo exhibition at The Arts House in Singapore this November, after being “discovered” by painting a portrait of Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.

Seria-born Huifong Ng began painting just three years ago as a way to cope with her depression following three painful miscarriages.

The third miscarriage landed her in the hospital where she narrowly escaped with her life.

“I did not leave the house. I was dealing with a lot of guilt and self-blame,” she told _The Brunei Times _in a recent interview.

Using painting as a way to heal her grief, Huifong studied art in New York and then France, and made regular “art pilgrimages” to destinations in Europe and Southeast Asia, to paint faces she had come across during her travels.

Describing herself as an “intuitive artist“, she mainly paints portraits of women and girls, although it was her moving portrait of Lee Kuan Yew that garnered her international attention.

“Intuitive art is being able to paint through imagination without a model or photo for reference,” she explained.

“I was looking at interviews and pictorials of Mr Lee and I found this one particular archive footage very moving - it was during the announcement of Singapore’s independence in 1965 and he was on the verge of tears, emotion from the day overwhelming him.”

It took Huifong three months to paint the portrait, painstakingly trying to recreate the emotion in the former prime minister’s face.

“Only genuine emotion is able to travel across such a long span of time into another one’s heart.”

“Art is more than just what’s on the surface, it’s the essence of something, the ability to read that essence,” she said.

The 33-year-old has had her paintings displayed during local exhibitions with the Kaleidoscope gallery and Alliance Francaise, but had yet to secure her first solo exhibition.

She began sending emails to different galleries in an attempt to get them to display some her pieces.

After getting no responses, she flew to Singapore to meet with the general manager of The Arts House and convinced him to give her a solo show.

The exhibition, titled “Art and Emotion“, will be held from November 7 to 9.

The centrepiece of the show is the portrait of Lee Kuan Yew, which was recently displayed at The British Club.

Over the past two years, Huifong has garnered a circle of clientele in Singapore, with her profile growing through exposure through Facebook and other social media.

Describing her philosophy on painting, Huifong said: “There is always a story behind each painting. An emotion, a journey and essence. Through art, a story is conveyed."

The Brunei Times