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Singapura Chantek: 5 Decades of Painting Singapore
A solo exhibition by Idris Ali

Maya Gallery
23rd October – 30th November 2013

by Masturah Sha'ari

SINGAPORE – Maya Gallery is pleased to present Singapura Chantek: 5 Decades of Painting Singapore, a solo exhibition by Idris Ali, whose chosen medium has made him stand out from his peers within the Malay community. His watercolour paintings from the 1960s right up to 2013 portray an artist whose dedication is both unquestionable and admirable. The exhibition will be on view from 23 October  – 13 November 2013, at Maya Gallery.

The exhibition title, Singapura Chantek, which translates to Beautiful Singapore is a reference to the genre of paintings around the region that depicts the idyllic landscapes of a particular country. Artists like Hoessein Enas and Abdullah Ariff were seen as leading proponents of the ‘Malaya Jelita’ genre across the causeway while the term ‘Mooi Indies’ brings to mind artists like Basoeki Abdullah, Wakidi and many others. While Singapura Chantek might seem a distant concept to the contemporary art scene and perhaps, even brushed off by cynics who yearn for a more socially-engaged art scene, Idris’s watercolour works for the past five decades can be seen as a critique of urbanism in Singapore. They function as visual records of past landscapes, diaries from a long-forgotten drawer in Singapore’s art narrative.

This exhibition will also contextualize Idris’s practice with archival materials like his illustration works during his career as an Illustrator with local advertising firms. These materials which include works ranging from the commercial to local schools’ textbooks, further demonstrate Idris’s mastery of the most fundamental skill for an artist – drawing.

The exhibition is supported by the National Arts Council.


OPENING RECEPTION: 23 October 2013, Wednesday, 7-9pm (In the presence of the artist)

Guest of Honour: Prof Kwok Kian Woon
Associate Provost, Nanyang Technological University
Member, National Arts Council

ART CONVERSATION: 6 November 2013, Friday, 7-9pm
Panel: Choy Weng Yang, Abdul Rahman Rais



Idris Ali, Boat Quay, 1979Idris Ali, Boat Quay, Watercolour, 1979


Idris Ali, Market Street, 1981Idris Ali, Market Street, Watercolour, 1981

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