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Solamalay Namasivayam: Points of Articulation Opening

Ticket Information

  • Free Admission


  • Sat Nov 16 2019, 3:00pm–7:00pm


All ages


Listed by

Yeo Workshop

Opening Day: Saturday, 16 November 2019
Talk and Presentation Research about the Artist, 3–5:30pm
Opening Preview, 5:30–7pm

Exhibition Dates: 16 November – 22 December 2019

Programmes and Contemporary Response: Art Outreach, 47 Malan Road #01-24 S(109444)

Revisit the fundamentals of figurative drawing and painting with Yeo Workshop, as it presents Points of Articulation, Solamalay Namasivayam’s first major retrospective exhibition. A master in life drawing and figure study, the artist is adept in depicting the human form with perceptual acuity, fluidity and spontaneity of his lines. While his significant contributions as one of the pioneers of figurative art in Singapore was previously overlooked, the gallery aims to bring his works and life as an artist-educator to light through this exciting and important archival project.

S. Namasivayam was a central figure to the development of figurative art in Singapore as a founding member of Singaporean art group, Group 90. With the group, he exhibited alongside prominent artists like Chia Wai Hon, Sim Tong Khern, and Brother Joseph Mcnally the Founder of Lasalle College of the Arts, in key exhibitions such as Group 90’s inaugural exhibition Figurama in 1990. Group 90 was the forefront of live drawing in Singapore and created opportunities for this important study in aesthetics and discipline in art to develop. The group gathered like-minded individuals who adhered to European artistic traditions of live drawing and the human nude as the foundation of art, to learn from each other as well as providing a platform to showcase figurative art.

At his death bed, the artist’s close friend and fellow artist Sim Tong Khern visited him and said he was clutching a sketchbook, requesting a nurse to facilitate in making a final drawing. Sim was moved by Namasivayam’s passionate, undying love for art. ”He was able to create something on the drawing board simply because essentially he was a born artist through his own belief. It was a truly wonderful thing. I was very touched, I was there, I saw it happen, I knew exactly what he wanted to do. I said Nama thank you so much, this is marvelous.”

The exhibition showcases more than 30 works done in a variety of mediums to render the human figure; ranging from monochromatic charcoal or ink on paper, to coloured pieces done in pastels or gouache. A prolific artist, these works were carefully selected from his extensive oeuvre, that provide insights into his life and practice as both an artist and art educator. The exhibition and its accompanying publication also feature writings about art by Namasivayam extracted from his personal notebooks and lecture notes.

Points of Articulation wishes to provoke new inquiries into Singapore’s art history and to acknowledge Namasivayam’s significant contributions. The show invites visitors to contribute to the investigations into the artist’s life and practice as an artist and educator, by committing a section of the exhibition to display archival materials and sketchbooks that the visitors can read. Four contemporary artists Alvin Ong, Jason Wee, Mike HJ Chang and Milenko Prvački were also chosen to create new works in response to Namasivayam’s works and writings, and will be shown at our venue sponsor Art Outreach, to trace how figurative art has evolved but remains relevant today.

About the Artist:
S. Namasivayam was a Colombo Plan Scholar and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, majoring in Figure Painting/Drawing. He lectured at Singapore Institute of Education from 1962 to 1981, at Singapore Educational Media Service from 1982 to 1985, and at Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts as a Fine Arts and Specialist Lecturer in Figure Drawing from 1987 to 2001. At Lasalle, he introduced “Life Drawing” as a subject into the Fine Arts Curriculum in 1987. His works are collected by several private collections in Singapore, United Kingdom, Japan, and America.

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