CHNG SEOK TIN 莊心珍
Chng Seok Tin, born in 1946, is a renowned local professional printmaker with visual impairment.
Before turning to art, Seok Tin taught Chinese as a second language for 10 years at Tanjong Katong Girls School. In 1975, after a diploma in Western Painting at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, she went to England to further her studies and obtained a First Class Honors in Fine Arts from Hull College of Art in Yorkshire in 1979.
She obtained a Master of Art from New Mexico State University in 1981 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 1985.
Her source of inspiration is simply nature. She is often surrounded by landscape of hull that is featured in many of her prints. She studied water in ponds and rivers and what she sees is translated in visual terms of a very personal nature. She works from photographs and sketches at times and as she puts it herself, she approaches her work in a spiritual and conceptual way.
Seok Tin's contribution and determination have been praised by many around the world and among them is Professor Tommy Koh. He said, "In the blind community, Ms Chng Seok Tin is well-known for her courage in facing up to her blindness. She became blind only about 10 years ago when she was already an adult. She is a source of inspiration to the younger generation, who learn much from her. Being the only professional artist with visual impairment in Singapore, she has shown that the world of colors can be felt by the blind despite their lack of vision. She never hesitates to assist any blind person and will, usually, have a solution to his or her problem. Though she has limited financial resources, she is very generous. She always encourages others to have a positive mind to dream dreams. Chng Seok Tin is a talented artist and an extraordinary person. I am very proud to be her friend."
Seok Tin is an icon for women today with her optimism towards life despite her disability from a 1988 operation to remove a brain abscess, which left her with only 20% sight retention in her right eye. However, Seok Tin continues to produce works in no less quantity or quality, drawing from sources of inner feelings and memories. She has not allowed her impairment to deter her from living the life of an artist.
Despite losing 90 percent of her vision due to an accident in 1988, Chng Seok Tin has never let her impairment hinder her artistic growth. Instead, she has gone from strength to strength.
Chng graduated with an Honours degree in Arts from UK’s Hull College of Higher Education in 1979. She also holds two postgraduate degrees from the US: a Master of Arts from New Mexico State University and a Master of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Iowa. In addition, she has done extensive studies at St. Martin’s School of Arts and the Hornsey College of Art in the UK.
Chng came to painting relatively late in life. As a secondary school teacher, she used to dabble in art but it was not until 1975, when she was 29, that her talent was discovered by renowned artist Tang Da Wu. With his encouragement, Chng took her art more seriously and within four years, held her first solo exhibition. More recently in May 2005, Chng became the first Singaporean to hold a solo exhibition at the United Nations Headquarter. The exhibition, Passage To featured only prints done in 1988 just before she lost her sight till the present.
To date, Chng has put up 22 solo exhibitions and taken part in more than 70 group exhibitions worldwide. Her works have been showcased in Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia, Belgium, France, the UK and the US.
Chng’s interest may lie predominantly in printmaking but she has never allowed that to restrict her creative output. She is equally at home with other forms such as drawing, collage, photography, sculpture and installation.
For her achievements in art, Chng has received a number of awards. She was named Distinguished Visiting Artist at San Jose State University in the US in 1992 and the Invited Distinguished Artist at the United Nations Conference in Bangkok in 2001. In 2001, she was conferred The Woman of the Year Award by Her World magazine.
Currently the President of the Printmaking Society (Singapore), a position she has held since 1997, Chng has inspired many young people in the arts circle by her example. Between 1986 and 1996, she taught printmaking at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts and the National Institute of Education. Although she has since stopped teaching, she still finds time to share her experiences with aspiring artists.
Life, Like Chess, a solo exhibition of installation, mixed media and sculptures, Sculpture Square, Singapore, 2001.
Speaker, Brief History of the Printmaking Society of Singapore, Seminar and Workshop at The National Library, Singapore, 2001.
Attachments and Detachments - A
Chinese Obsession, a solo exhibition of mixed-media painting and paper
sculpture, Gallery Evason Hotel, Singapore, 2001.
Her Presence in 3 Colours (International Women Artists Exhibition), Conservatory of Fine Arts, Penang State Art Gallery, Malaysia, 1998.
1997 Taegu Asia Arts Exhibition, Korean Fine Arts Association, Taegu, Korea, 1997.
Metamorphosis, solo exhibition of recent Mixed-media works, Singapore Festival of Arts 1996, Fort Canning Arts Centre, Singapore, 1996.
La Troisieme Triennial Mondiale D’Estampes Petit Format, Ville De Chamalieres, France, 1994.
Life, solo exhibition of recent Prints, Cosmos Gallery, Hong Kong, 1994.
Games, solo exhibition of recent Monotypes and Etchings, d.p. Fong and Spratt Galleries, San Jose, California, USA, 1992.
QU Art Support II, The Artists Village Show, QU Artspace, Hong Kong, 1990.
Works by Chng Seok Tin (1975-1989) - a series of solo exhibitions, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom; Posterngate Art Gallery, Hull, United Kingdom; National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore, 1989.
The 12th Independent Exhibition of Prints in Kanagawa, Japan, 1986.
Bundaberg Art Festival, Queensland, Australia, 1986.
Prints by Chng Seok Tin - a solo exhibition, American Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan, 1985.
Installations and Prints - a solo exhibition. Little Gallery, Corbett Centre, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA, 1982.
Winter Exhibition, Ferens Gallery, Hull, United Kingdom, 1979.
Man and Enviroment (1988)
Blossoming of the Pomegranate
Documenting 30 Years of Chng Seok
Tin's Art, the current exhibition at p-10, will be ending next Wed (30 Nov) and
we'll be holding a dialogue session with Chng on Wed night itself.
Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the artistic journey of the winner of this year's Cultural Medallion and also talk with her about her art practice, life experiences, ideas and thoughts on winning the Cultural Medallion, etc.
This dialogue session is in Mandarin and English and will be held in p-10 at 7.30pm on 30 Nov (Wed), and to see the exhibition, please make an appointment first by calling us at 6294 0041.
Elsewhere, these are also happening next week:
1. 2-4 Dec from 11am-9pm at The Substation Gallery - Dana Lam presents Let's Chat 2, an invitation to taugeh, tea and sympathy. For more info, call 6337 7800.
2. 3&4 Dec at Your Mother Gallery - Tang Da Wu conducts 2 Sumi Ink On Paper workshops in conjunction with his exhibition Your Head. For more info, call 6396 3310.