Ong Kim Seng

MICA Building, 2010
Water Colour on Paper, 51.8 x 72.3 cm


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About the artwork

Ong never fails to craft a compelling poem and narrative through his watercolour pieces. Overseeing the neo-classical style MICA building from Clarke Quay, one cannot miss the gradations of colourful windows that stretch across the facade of the building. The MICA building was constructed in 1934 and became the largest government building in the Singapore of the 1930s, previously housing the Hill Street Police Station and Barracks. The facade itself is symmetrical and replete with balconies, arcades and columns. Interestingly enough, the area that ensconces the building was said to resemble the peh toh or Chinese New Year fish that symbolises good fortune. The irony is that upon construction of the building, Chinese living in the area claimed its presence disrupted the fengshui of the location. Looking closely, the clear detailing of the lamppost and bridge overlaid with an air of faded mistiness seems to transport the viewers into another setting – one can be reminded of the surroundings by the Charles Bridge in Prague.

About the artist

Born in 1945 in Singapore, Ong Kim Seng is an internationally renowned watercolorist and one of Singapore’s most prominent artistic icons. Self-taught and self-supported, the artist has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Singapore and in the United States, China, United Kingdom, Japan , Australia, Belgium, Germany, France, Middle East, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He has won a multitude of awards including six awards from the American Watercolor Society, and the coveted Cultural Medallion in 1999. Playing an active part in some of the most prestigious art fellowships and organizations, the artist was President of the Singapore Watercolor Society from 1991 to 2001, subsequently becoming Honorary President.

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