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Asian Art News
, Nov/Dec 2013

Idyllic Landscapes

Maya Gallery is presenting Singapura Chantek: Five 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 at Maya Gallery through November 13, 2013.

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.

Idris Ali was born in 1944 in Singapore. A generally self-taught artist, he showed his first works at the Lembaga Tetap Kongress exhibition at Victoria Memorial Hall in 1962. He received the Pingat APAD Award in 1974 and Cipta Mekar Award for outstanding work at the Action '90' Art Exhibition in 1990.

He has exhibited in Singapore and Malaysia. His works can be found in the collections of the National Heritage Board, Singapore National Museum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence.

Maya Gallery is at 666 North Bridge Road.
Tel: (65) 6291 1760. Email

Asian Art News Nov/Dec 2013

MAYA GALLERY   |   +65 6291 1760   |

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