Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts at NAFA

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On 18 August 1969, 13 young watercolour enthusiasts founded the Singapore Watercolour Society (SWS). They are:

Mr. Chen Chong Swee
Mr. Gog Sing Hooi
Mr. Ho Yee Ping
Mr. Leng Joon Wong
Mr. Chan Soon Yean
Mr Chin Chun Wah
Mr. Ong Chye Cho
Mr. Loy Chye Chuan
Mr. Sim Kwang Teck
Mr. Khor Ean Ghee
Mr Lim Cheng Hoe
Mr Koh Tong Leong

SWS was formed by the passion of the founding members for the watercolour medium. The Society’s activities and programmes correspond directly to its objectives. (Hyperlink to Objectives page) SWS achievements and affiliation had brought the Society to the international scene. And as one of the most active art groups in Singapore, SWS’s contribution to the growth and development of watercolour painting in Singapore plays a significant role.

Mr. Ong Kim Seng had taken Singapore on the world map of excellence in watercolour painting. With his achievements as a professional painter, the tradition of Singaporean watercolour painting was viewed internationally. As SWS joined the Asian Watercolour Confederation in 1994 and hosted the Asian Watercolour Confederation Exhibition in 1997, SWS reputation is widely recognized. The Asian Watercolours ’97, held at the Tourism Court, the premises of the Singapore Tourism Board attracted over 174 paintings by artists over 13 Asian countries. Among them are the works by 57 SWS members. Later, SWS had been invited to take part in various regional and international events. This includes The Asia-Pacific Watercolour Painting Exhibition, Flemish Watercolour Days and many others.

In 1995 when SWS celebrated its 25th anniversary at the former Empress Place Museum, President Ong Teng Cheong selected 70 works for the President’s Charity Art Exhibition. The President’s Watercolour Selections displayed the quality and range of works by local Singaporean artists. This exhibition that was held in Suntec City, indeed took the Singapore art scene into a wider dimension.

SWS moved to Telok Kurau Studios in 1997. There, many visiting artists came to give talks. They include Mr. Chee Cheng-Khee of the United States, Mr. David Keys from Autralia and Mr Thurman Hewitt, the President of the World Watercolor Society in San Diego, United States.

The objectives of SWS are constantly pursued. In 1992, a formal Membership Committee was set-up to select members into the society. This is aimed at maintaining the high standards of transparent watercolour painting practiced by SWS members. By the year 2000, over 80 professional watercolourists had associated themselves with SWS.

From passion to vision, SWS was founded. From international recognition and achievements to commitment, the tradition of watercolour painting beats in the heart of SWS. From majestic landscapes to secret scenes, the founding members’ experiences live on, in water and colour.