Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts at NAFA

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Poh Siew Wah was born in Singapore on 30th April 1948. His father was a commercial artist who encouraged him to draw and paint from an early age.

He received his formal education from Gan Eng Seng Secondary School where he was taught by Mr. Namasivayam S. (known for his life drawings and figure studies) and Mr. Yeong Ah Soo (holder of masters in graphic design). They encouraged him to experiment with different media ranging from charcoal and crayons to watercolours and oils.

In 1967, Siew Wah entered the Teachers' Training College, majoring in art education and gaining exposure to new techniques and ideas. Graduated in 1970 and has been teaching art ever since.

He believed that abstraction is the best way of expressing emotion with the free use of material and the spontaneous gesture seem much more direct than any kind of realistic art. In particular, his use of collage technique, reveals his interest in the links between material and experience.

Like many abstractionists, Siew Wah does not completely sever his art from nature, saying "I am continually influenced by nature. I generally abstract from themes found in nature."

Solo Exhibitions
1980 - Art in Action Series, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1992 - Lasting Images, Alliance Francaise, Singapore
1987 - Realism to Abstract, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1992 - Equilibrium, Notices, the Gallery, Hilton International, Singapore
1992 - Equilibrium II, Notices, the Gallery, Hilton International, Singapore
1995 - Poh Siew Wah, Court of Justice Hall, Flensburg, Germany
2001 - Order & Reason, Art-2 Gallery, Mita Building, Singapore

Selected Group Exhibitions
1984 - 25 years of Art in Singapore, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1987 - National Museum Centenary Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1988 - The Second Decade, Masterpieces from Private Collections, Singapore Art Festival, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1988 - Asian Watercolours `88, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
1989 - Paris Salon, Grand Palais, Paris, France
1989 - Asian Watercolours, Bangkok, Thailand
1990 - Asian Watercolours, Beijing, China
1990 - Singapore Artists Speak, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1991 - 2nd Asean Symposium on Painting and Photography Travelling Exhibition, Asean Countries
1992 - New Space, Singapore-Vietnam Modern Art, Ho Chi-minh City, Vietnam
1993 - Poems, Places and Paintings, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1994 - Singapore Modern Art Society 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Riverwalk Galleria Singapore

1981 - Consolation Prize, Innovation in Art, SIA/Ministry of Culture, Singapore
1984/1989 - Highly Commended UOB Painting of the Year Exhibition
1984/1985 - Commended in Australian Art Award, Singapore
1984/1987/1988 - Distinction in Art Creation Award, NAFA Alumni, Singapore
1987 - Tan Tze Chor Art Award, Singapore Art Society
1990 - Merit Award, IBM Award, Singapore
1995 - SIF Overseas Arts Sponsorship Award, Singapore International Foundation
1995 - NAC Travel Grant, National Art Council, Singapore


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