CHOO KENG KWANG
Tin Miners, 1966
Signed and dated “kwang 66” on lower right
Oil on board
61 x 81 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Singapore
Illustrated on page 156 in the “777, Celebrating 7 Illustrious Years at KLAS” coffee table book published by KLAS in February 2019
Choo Keng Kwang was the only son of a Teochew diamond trader. He was heavily criticised for his decision to enrol in art classes but it paid off, as he graduated with two certificates, one from Catholic High School and the other town Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He then became a teacher and was made the principal of Sin Hua School. Differing from Choo Keng Kwang’s usual forte of birds and landscapes, the artist strayed away from his comfort to produce the ‘Tin Miners’, an oil on board work. This intriguing work presents both female and male tin miners with sieves in hand and a basket on their backs. A few workers are seen wearing straw hats to shade them from the sun. The subjects in this piece portray intricacy and attention to detail. The colour palette saw earthy, neutral tones throughout the work.