. shadows of ink .

The traditional medium of Chinese ink has long been associated with the ancient oriental world. However, local award-winning artist, Quek Kiat Sing, decided to add a modern twist to this ancient art medium by using Chinese ink to portray the fashion of the modern world. Through her series of paintings, she hopes to be able to change one’s perspective and mindset that Chinese painting is “old-fashioned” and “uncool”; instead, it is a creative art form that can be used to reflect the contemporary sights of the ever-changing and developing world.

As a student of Kiat Sing’s sketching class in NAFA, I was very fortunate to have been invited for the opening night of this art exhibition. Having studied Chinese Painting back in Primary school (it was my then ECA), I must admit that Chinese painting is an art form that is relatively difficult to master as compared to others. Every stroke of the brush is an irreversible process. Once the delicate rice paper is inked, there is no erasing of mistakes. “Shadows of Ink” is an art exhibition showcasing some of the artist’s finest works that reflect her personal flair to merge the old-meets-new. 

Exhibition on till 10th July 
Chan Hampe Galleries
21 Tanjong Pagar Road #04-02
10am – 6pm daily except Weds & PH

*P/S: Kiat Sing, thanks for the invitation

1. What is the idea behind this solo exhibition, “Shadows of Ink”?

“Shadows on Ink” puts together a selection of my smaller 
series that I’ve created in the past few years.  It includes a series I’ve 
created specially for Vermont Studio Centre Residency which plays with 
silhouette. Alongside these, the works I created during the filming at 
Tanglin Barrack will also be shown.  Last but not least, a series on the 
modern fashion of cosplay as well as public transport in Singapore will be 
investigated too.

 As an artist who would like to extend the interest in Chinese Ink medium to 
the modern audience, I feel that such familiar subject-matters shall allow 
the audience to see how Chinese ink can be creative and relevant as a medium 
today.  And all at the same time, the aesthetic criteria of ink will be put 
to a test in these works, thus the title – Shadows of Ink – casted on where 
we are today.

2. Chinese ink is often associated as a traditional art medium. Hence, what is it that made you decide to use this medium to portray the fashion of modern world?
I started using the medium some 11 years back and has been mesmerised by the many poetic possibilities it can create.  As a traditional medium, it has evolved and has always been kept relevant by practising artists who are committed to keep it relevant to their day and age. It is a limited perspective to think that Chinese Painting is something of the past or “old-fashion”, in fact, this is a very narrow-minded opinion that I hope to bust.
As for why I used Chinese Ink to paint cosplay, I am always fascinated by how historical paintings always reveal the fashion of the age of the painter, i.e. the Tang Dynasty painting will parade the fashion of the day with thick eyebrow and translucent clothings, as like the Ukiyo-e of Japan  that acted like a fashion magazine for example.  So I asked myself if audience of the future were to peek into our world through paintings, what kind of fashion would be unique in our time to share with them and I arrived at Cosplay. 

3. Do you draw inspiration from real-life and everyday events in your paintings?
The painting on mid-autumn festival is a scene that I see in my family gathering yearly every year.  Family togetherness is a value that I treasure and keep. As a Contemporary Chinese Ink Painter, my choice of subject matters are objects, people, scenes or events that I encounter in my surrounding. In many ways, I feel that I seldom draw inspirations from anything in an intentional way.  Instead inspirations dawn on me, they choose me in a way… and I say this in absolute honesty with no frills.


2 responses to “. shadows of ink .

  1. I love trad Chinese ink drawings. Great Q&A!

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