Born in Singapore, 1946.
Works in wood, stone and bronze.
Lives in Singapore and in Merritt, B.C., Canada.
Chong Fahcheong has a varied style, ranging from the abstract to the figurative. He uses his medium to its fullest potential, often making a commentary on society and social issues. Many of his works comment upon the pursuit of position, wealth and power. He also has a whimsical side. His works portray a sense of humour that can be appreciated by adult and child alike. As a self-taught artist, Fahcheong has created an individual style all his own.
Chong Fahcheong was an art teacher until 1978 when he became a professional artist. In these more-than-20 years, he has participated in numerous art exhibitions and held several one-man shows. He began his career carving in wood and soon progressed to carving sculptures in marble, granite and other stone as well as casting in bronze.
As a young person, he completed his school studies in Singapore, then went to Penang, Malaysia, where he received his teaching certificate. After some time teaching in Malaysia, he returned to Singapore to continue his studies at the University of Singapore where he graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in 1971. He followed this up with a Diploma in Curriculum Studies in Art and Design from the City of Birmingham Polytechnic, United Kingdom.
He then taught art in Singapore schools. When the SIA-LaSalle College of Art and Design (formerly LASALLE) in Singapore was formed in 1984, he was one of its first few art lecturers. He taught at LaSalle for three years.
In 1989, he moved to British Columbia, Canada, where he now lives and works. Being in Canada has made it possible for him to explore the different kinds of local woods, such as pine, cedar, birch and juniper, and Canadian jade, marble, granite and other stones. He has also taught as a visiting lecturer in a local college, the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.
In the context of the Singapore art scene, Fahcheong is regarded as one of its pioneer sculptors. In recognition of this, the National Museum of Singapore invited Fahcheong in 1991 to show his works at a national sculpture exhibition, Sculpture in Singapore. The museum, now known as the Singapore Art Museum, has a strong collection of Fahcheong’s sculptures.
Several of his public marble sculptures can also be seen in Singapore. They include “Temu-sek”, outside the Somerset mass rapid transit station, “Bull and Bear”, at the Stock Exchange of Singapore, “Mama’s Precious One” at the Housing and Development Board headquarters, “Holy Family”, done for a church in Katong.
Fahcheong has also contributed many memorable bronze sculptures to the Singapore artscape. “Another Day” is a life-sized depiction of two coolies or stevedores, lean and muscular, having a meal break. This can be seen at the Old Parliament House at Empress Place. “Once Upon a Time”, an acquisition of the National Library Board, shows four bronze children sitting on marble rocks and reading. A bronze and jade sculpture, “Reaching Out”, stands outside University Hall, National University of Singapore. But perhaps the most visible and well-known of these in Singapore is the “First Generation” bronze work of five young boys in the buff jumping into the Singapore River in front of Fullerton Hotel.
While he is based in Canada, Fahcheong travels frequently from to work. He has worked in Pietrasanta, Italy, where he created his outdoor marble sculptures, and in bronze foundries in Perth, Australia, and Bangkok, Thailand. Most recently, he has begun carving marble in Ipoh, Malaysia.
Fahcheong is a member of two sculpture organisations — the Washington, D.C.-based International Sculpture Centre, and the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association, which operates out of Seattle, in Washington State.
He regularly attends sculpture workshops and symposiums. In 2002, he was a participant in the Okanagan-Thompson International Sculpture Symposium held in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada. His bronze sculpture of three children playing on large boulders at the edge of a lake stands on the shore of Okanagan Lake in the town of Penticton. The next year, he produced a marble sculpture called “Girl in the Cloud” for the Westbank, BC, community. In 2005, he went to Vietnam for the Second International Sculpture Symposium in An Giang Province.
In 1996, he was a participant at the Art Institute at Capilano College, North Vancouver. The Art Institute is a one-year post-graduate certificate programme offering advanced studies to artists with several years of experience in sculpture or printmaking.
Despite living in Canada, Fahcheong has ensured that he exhibits regularly in Singapore. He has had one-man shows there in 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1999.