Thomas Yeo, one of Singapore’s most renowned second-generation artists and Cultural Medallion winners, holds a fundraiser for The Substation and talks to Gwen Pew about his new series, the idea of change and how to approach abstract art.
30 Jun 2013: ‘There are two new series in this show: Ocean and Construction.
‘The Ocean series was inspired by National Geographic programmes, as well as from my past experience in scuba diving, so I decided to do a series on fish spawning – but not in a realistic way.
‘The Construction series began after I was confronted with construction work wherever I went in Singapore. In fact, one can hardly escape it if you happen to live in town. As my surroundings were dusty and noisy, I went to my studio in Telok Kurau, hoping to have some peace. Unfortunately, the workers in Telok Kurau started to excavate the drain and the work went on for weeks!
‘Change can bring life into a city, but quite often, destruction and creation go hand in hand. If we have to destroy our history in order to have a new city, then we have to tread carefully. The speed at which change takes place can create confusion for the older generation. However, change is inevitable. No place can stand still.
‘Both series are very different from anything I have done in the past. I am hoping to create awareness through my works, but there is no short cut or quick fix to understanding abstract art. It requires plenty of time and effort. Go to the library and read up on it and, best of all, visit as many art exhibitions as you can. Nothing like confronting the art work head on! As time goes on, you will begin to enjoy the new language of art.’