31 October 2016

Portraits of Singapore politicians, transport landscapes in Sean The Art Beng Grows Up

Source: Sean Bay. Lee Kuan Yew.
Source: Sean Bay. Portrait of Lee Kuan Yew.
Student Sean Bay's portraits of Singapore politicians are now accessible to all through his debut exhibition, which marks his 21st year and will showcase artworks he has done in the five years that he has focused on honing his painting skills. Bay has also designed an art catalogue to document his work and his thoughts.

Bay's subjects range from transport and movie icons to very expressive portraits of Singapore’s leaders. He became fascinated by Singapore politicians after seeing his grandfather follow them them on TV and in the newspapers when he was growing up. He has already sold four portraits, mainly of the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was also the first Prime Minister of Singapore.

One of the portraits of Lee (pictured) was sold in August 2016. Said Bay of the acrylic on canvas: “I wanted to show how he would look if he were to be in a poster for a movie about his life.” Portraits on exhibit will Bay's first painting of the late Lee, done in 2013 for his 90th birthday, as well as an acrylic on paper portrait of late President of Singapore SR Nathan, painted at the end of his 12-year term as the President of Singapore.

All of Bay's portraits are expressive and characterised by strong lines and bold colours, and besides the late Lee and Nathan, will also include Opposition Minister of Parliament Chiam See Tong as well as current Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. His landscapes - in which the Singapore transport system dominates - have a bright, cheerful and unpretentious vibe. 

The book and the exhibition are a culmination of Bay's dream to write and draw like Dr Seuss, a favourite author from his childhood. Says Bay: “My favourite portrait is that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong which I did this year to commemorate his 12th year as Singapore’s third Prime Minister. He took a selfie with me during (the) SG50 celebrations and I like painting him because he looks handsome.”

The exhibition is a milestone for the younger Bay, says his father, civil servant Bay Boon Teck. “We were aware of his talent in art from young but we over focused on his academics and did not do much to develop it till he was about 15. We are very happy to see him grow as an artist over the years and we are very grateful to all his teachers who have used his love for art to draw him out.”

Bay is a Year 2 Visual Communication student at ITE College Central. He is a graduate of the Pathlight School's signature Artist Development Programme (ADP).  Under the ADP, professional artists are engaged to nurture talented students. Students whose works are sold get a royalty payment from Pathlight School.


Sean The Art Beng Grows Up: My Country. My Leaders, My Dreams will run from 25 November to 28 November 2016 at 10 Square@Orchard Central at level 10. It will run from 7pm to 8.30pm on 25 November; from 11am to 8pm on 26 November to 27 November; and from 11am to 5pm on 28 November.

Originals and prints are available for sale. Nett proceeds will benefit the Artist Development Programme.