80-year old Johnny Wong has loved art and has been painting since a young age. Wong has had a long career working as a primary school teacher. Most young people would not have heard of the schools he has taught in — for example, primary schools in Pulau Tekong, Telok Paku or Telok Kurau.
In that sense, Wong may be considered an ‘outsider artist’ to some in the art world. However, he has never given up and always remains passionate and hardworking. He paints whenever he can, shares his passion with others and seeks feedback from other artists.
After retiring five years ago Wong was finally able to devote time in lifelong passion. In recent years, Wong has started making abstract painting on recycled advertising foamboards from his neighbourhood. He paints on recycled surfaces because he wants to do his bit for the environment. His subject matter is broad – from abstract to nature, figuration, the sambar deer sightings in Lornie Road and even the Trump-Kim Summit.
Wong will be having his first ever exhibition at the cutting edge contemporary gallery, Coda Culture.
Why is a contemporary art collective (Post-Museum) and contemporary gallery (Coda Culture) showcasing Johnny Wong?
“We first met Wong at the Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) when he was conducting free painting workshop for the public. Slowly, we learnt about his passion for art, life and more. Art gives Wong that sparkle and happiness to his life. You will see this on his face when he talks about art,” said the gallery and art collective in a statement.
One day, Wong reached out to them with the idea of ‘gifting’ his paintings at the Singapore Really Really Free Market as his frustrated wife wanted to throw them away. So Wong sent an SOS for his paintings. He was worried about their future and wanted to give them a home. Fortunately, he found a friend who allowed him to continue painting and store these paintings at his house.
From there, Post-Museum and Coda Culture saw Wong’s passion and perseverance for art that put most ‘professional’ or young artists to shame and that moved them.
Wong’s art has an intergenerational dimension which the groups wanted to showcase to remind people that art is more than a commercial commodity. Instead, it is something which can give life and meaning to many.
For Wong, being ‘sacked’ / ‘retired’ was a ‘blessing’ in disguise! He says, “Painting is a joy and it calms him down, you forget your worries & it brings satisfaction and joy in creating a picture”. Through his exhibition, Wong would like to show other senior citizens not to be passive in their retirement. Pick up something of their interest and go totally into it!
Adopt a painting
Wong will be showcasing his latest paintings, and all the works are up for adoption for sincere art lovers. The artist urges all potential adopters/collectors to remember that Wong’s art is not about money but passion – for art, environment and the vision for a better world.
Here are the guideline for adopting his works:
- For each work adopted, the collector will contribute $30 or above.
- A collector cannot collect all the works but always leave some for art lovers.
- The money raised will go into supporting the good work of Coda Culture.
Date: 22nd – 25th June 2019
Time: 12 pm to 8 pm weekends. 5 pm to 8 pm weekdays
Address: #05-05, Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Rd, Singapore 199588
Correction – The organisers have corrected the age of Mr Wong.