If you have been to Singapore, you are sure to remember the grand structure of the Merlion, the durian shaped Theatres on the Bay, the highly impressive Marina Bay Sands, the luxe boutiques alongside Orchard Road and the thrilling and futuristic Universal Studios. But is Singapore all about glittering lights and glamorous skyscrapers or is there a colossal life that breathes beneath the shadows of the razzle-dazzle?
“Singapore is often portrayed as chic and glamorous. Nobody really talks about the real life of an ordinary Singaporean citizen,” says artist Yeo Tze Yang, who was recognised as 15 Singaporeans aged 25 and under to watch in 2015.
In his solo exhibition, Evening, hosted by OUR Art Projects at the Zhongshan building, Kuala Lumpur, he showcased his paintings revolving around dusk and the aftermath of life when the sun goes down over the buzzing metropolis.
A discarded tray from Mc Donald’s, the inside of a seven-eleven store, the sombre environment within a public transport bus and a busy crossing junction, are all represented in his artwork.
His recent visit to Kuala Lumpur gave him the chance to interact with the art community in the city.
“The art community in Malaysia is so different than what I was expecting. The artists I met were liberal and open to new ideas. They have the attitude to keep the real essence of art alive. When I first stepped into Zhongshan building, it was hard to believe that the entire property is being maintained by artists and other creatives. Kudos to OUR Art Projects for coming up with such innovative ideas and lending a voice to the artists out there. I would love to return to Kuala Lumpur soon for another exhibition.”
The young artist who can often be found prowling around neglected nooks and corners of the city with his camera says that finding new aspects of the Singaporean society and watching how all the elements fall into place is what gives him the inspiration to create his artworks.
“Art for me exists solely for one purpose – to share what you feel society needs and what people will never talk about. For example, you wouldn’t share a picture of your average looking Kopitiam meal on Instagram and yet, it is a part of your daily life. I want to capture these everyday moments and relive them on my canvas.”
Tze Yang is currently pursuing a degree in Southeast Asian studies at the National University of Singapore. The education, he believes, will go a long way in helping him understand the diverse nature of Asian culture and traditions. When asked what his next endeavours would be and how he foresees his art in the future, the witty artist was quick to reply, “I have and will always keep creating paintings that fuel my passion.”
Although he considers himself to be a novice, Tze Yang has exhibited widely in venues such as Shophouse 5, Goodman Arts Centre, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Art Apart Fair and the Affordable Art Fair in Singapore. His works are a part of private collections in Singapore, Australia, the UK and the US.
Scroll left for more images of the ordinary Singaporean life.