Soul Vistas

Idris Ali, Jeffrey Wandly
September 21, 2017 - October 24, 2017

Maya Gallery warmly presents Soul Vistas: An Introspective Journey Through Our City, an exhibition by Singapore’s prominent Malay artists, Idris Ali & Jeffrey Wandly. Held at The Fullerton Singapore, it will be officiated by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Maliki Osman.

A timely revisit into our city through the eyes of watercolourist Idris Ali and an unconventional approach of the canvas with architect turned artist, Jeffrey Wandly, who has affectionately earned his nickname within the visual arts scene as the "Building Whisperer", exploring landmarks, street and landscapes that are filled with heritage, we allow our eyes to follow the colours, lines and brush strokes of these two distinctive artists. 

While Idris Ali paints fluently in watercolour, a medium that requires patience and understanding of the composition and colour, Jeffrey Wandly uses fluid paint strokes created by pouring and swirling ink directly from the bottle.

“This documentation of our visual heritage is crucial, even so as a younger generation of Singaporeans bury their heads in technology and race towards modernisation,” expresses Ms. Masturah Sha’ari, Co-founder and director of Maya Gallery when asked about the importance of the exhibition.
Idris was briefly taught by the late S. Mahdar and Mas Ali Sabran in the 1960s. Though he started learning to paint with various mediums, it was watercolour that challenged as well as seduced him. It then became a 55 year journey for him and his brushes. To look through Idris’ watercolours over the past five decades is to chart Singapore’s changing landscape. Though many of his scenes are off the beaten track, these visual documents are crucial in narrating alternative views of Singapore’s rapid development.

Jeffrey started painting seriously in 2008, starting with charcoal on paper and gradually moving into ink and acrylic on canvas. An accomplished architect and project management and development professional, he already had a deep level of involvement and familiarity with the built environment. Soon, his collectors fondly would name him Building Whisperer, as they could connect to the conversations he has with buildings and also recognise the soul of the buildings through his works. Like Idris, Jeffrey is capturing a visual diary of the past filled with intimate portraits of the energy and vitality of the places we have inhabited. The buildings he paints mark the sense of place, time and heritage in Singapore’s collective memory and physical experience. 

This duo exhibition at Fullerton aims to not only educate the public regarding the forgotten heritage scenes of Singapore, but also to bring them on a journey of exploring the colourful and exciting world of watercolour, ink and acrylic. This series of heritage-related paintings by the two artists is timely during this period where our visual history is slowly disappearing. Idris Ali and Jeffrey Wandly’s works invite you to look, stop and reflect on your surroundings and philosophies of life because to move ahead, one must know where one came from.

Maya Gallery is grateful for the venue sponsorhip by The Fullerton Singapore. Part of nett sales proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud (LBKM) for its bursary and scholarships to students from underprivileged families.


Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ms Masturah Sha’ari
Co-Founder, Maya Gallery;

Mr Idris Ali;

Mr Jeffrey Wandly;

Mr Suhaimi Salleh
President of Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud;

Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale
General Manager of The Fullerton Heritage;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good evening. I am honoured to be here this evening for the opening of the “Soul Vistas” art exhibition.  

I am among distinguished company. Not sure how many of you here are aware but our host Masturah is the youngest daughter of the late Sha’ari Tadin, who was the Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture in the 1960s and 1970s. 

I am delighted that Maya Gallery has decided to celebrate the artistic achievements by Singapore’s prominent Malay artists – Pak Idris and Jeffrey Wandly – for its 5th anniversary this year.

Jeffrey Wandly is the son of the late composer Wandly Yazid. Pak Wandly wrote the classic Gurindam Jiwa, whom I’m sure many of you would have heard growing up. The lyrics of the song was so beautiful that I recalled it was in my wedding card 25 years ago! Jeffrey is a MENDAKI Excellence Award winner – having received the award for being the top Malay tertiary student in 1993 while in NUS. He is also a recipient of the Angullia Architecture Scholarship and had his first solo show at Artshow Busan in South Korea in 2014. 

Pak Idris probably needs no introduction. Pak Idris has been painting for over half a century and is a household name in Singapore. His works adorn many of our establishments. In fact, one of his pieces is in the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. Pak Idris was one of the pioneer members of the Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD), probably the oldest and only association for Malay artists in Singapore. 

Since its founding in 1962, APAD has contributed towards the artistic pool in Singapore through its diversity of shows, and through its classes, courses and talks. Pak Idris taught at APAD and is a recipient of the Pingat APAD (1974) and Cipta Mekar Award (1990). 

Both artists explore everyday landscapes, visuals to reflect the energy and essence of Singapore in their own unique style and technique. 

Pak Idris’ paintings, in particular, resonate. For this exhibition, he has explored the spaces beyond our streets. He has delved deeper into the spiritual spaces that we have – into a mosque, temple and church – highlighting Singapore’s own unique harmony in religious diversity, which we should never take for granted. Something that has been the envy of many visitors to Singapore. 

I would like to thank Maya Gallery again for this invitation, for the contributions you have made to the arts and culture scene in Singapore over the past five years. It is heartening to see more platforms being created for local artists to showcase their work and inspire younger artists to step forward and develop their passion. 

Congratulations once again to Maya Gallery, Pak Idris and Jeffrey. I wish everyone a pleasant evening as you soak yourself into the world of these two artists. Thank you.