Closed the year on a great note with two modelling workshops — one was with teachers held at the National Gallery and the other was at the Institute of Mental Health with staff and patients. Both workshops had very enthusiastic participants eager to learn the technique of making small models using a wire infrastructure and clay. This is my method for making small maquettes that I later enlarge into life-size public sculptures.
In October 2018, the sculpture, Once A Tree II, was featured in a stage performance at the Yong Siew Toh Music Conservatory, NUS. The performance was a 25-minute opera by Claudio Monteverdi entitled Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. The dancers and singers moved around the sculpture which is made up of many separate pieces. It worked beautifully for the performance as the pieces could be positioned and assembled on stage in whichever way the choreographer envisioned.
It was the first time that a Chong Fahcheong sculpture became part of a stage production. Commenting on the collaboration, Alan Bennett, Professor of Music at the Conservatory, said: “It really was a wonderful addition and allowed us to interact with the stage space so much better than we had even imagined.”
fahcheong was NAFA Artist-in-residence in August 2018. During that time, he conducted a stone-carving class for the Nanyang Academy art students at the Bencoolen campus. For many students, it was their first time carving stone, and so the softer travertine was used.
Using his work Terribile Quotidian as an example, fahcheong gave the students some food for thought. How do you come up with an idea for a sculpture?
Students submitted their design ideas and these were critiqued. Then they learned to translate their designs into 3D reality through carving with hammer and chisel and grinding the stone.
And finally there was an exhibition of all their efforts.
In August 2018, fahcheong held a stone-carving masterclass for practising artists, organised by the Singapore Sculpture Society. Enthusiastic participants gleaned much from the workshop, as fahcheong shared with them tips and techniques and gave them a hands-on lesson on how to turning raw stone into sculpture.
It was a long time in the making but finally Chong Fahcheong’s latest sculpture, Hey, Ah Chek! has found its home. You will find Ah Chek, Ah May and Ah Boy on the departure level of Changi Airport’s Terminal 4.
When commissioned to create a local, Peranakan sculpture for Changi’s latest terminal, fahcheong typically dipped into his memories of old Singapore and came up with this vignette of grandmother (or mother, it matters not) and a young boy hailing a trishawman to take them home after a morning’s marketing. (No guesses as to who fahcheong was thinking when he sculpted Ah Boy!) The challenge of this sculpture was to create a trishaw that was true to the 1950s and 60s as the trishaws you see today, mostly tourist attractions, are more modern in design. So fahcheong scoured the streets of Singapore and searched Malacca and Penang (two other centres of Peranakan culture) for a trishaw of that era. He finally found a dilapidated one in Singapore, had it rebuilt, and used it as a basis for his sculpture.
If you are travelling through T4, head to the right side of the departure level where the shops are. Climb aboard Ah Chek’s trishaw for a photo shoot, take a closer look at the intricate detailing of Ah Mah’s sarong and peek into the basket to see what she and Ah Boy are taking home to cook for lunch.
This is an alert telling all who are looking at my website that my email address is currently compromised. I am trying to sort out this problem, but in the meantime, you can get in touch with me through my Facebook page, Chong Fah Cheong, Sculptor. You can also email me at my new email address, email@example.com.
UPDATE on 30 Oct 2017! I have recovered my email address, and you may now resume contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, beware scammers and hackers everywhere, and never open anything that looks suspicious. If in doubt, please contact me to confirm that my email is genuine and comes from me.
Well, that’s what The Guardian calls this gallery of pictures, From Ai WeiWei’s Dog to Indian Wall Painting, and I am pleased to see that my kampong kids aka First Generation are in such great company. This is the link to the Guardian webpage.
So pleased to be able to say that there is a new addition to my public works — this is Moongate, installed at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. The Moongate has been in my blood ever since my youthful sojourn in Penang when I saw it in the botanical gardens. I have worked and reworked the idea over many years. Why?
It speaks to me of journeys, circles of thought, cycles of life, thresholds to cross … a simple form that belies the complexities conjured.
Well, here are pictures of some versions of mine, including the Moongate at the Gardens by the Bay that was just installed.
Got a phone call that illustrates how small our planet is becoming, thanks to the internet. Tony wants my views on public art. Click on the link for the interview.