Monday, December 03, 2012

At NUS Museum. 106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House

Following my visit to the house at 106 Joo Chiat Place on 29 Nov 2012, I decided it would be helpful to visit the NUS Museum to check out the exhibition named 106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House.

The house at 106 Joo Chiat Place was used as Ng Eng Teng's workplace until his passing in 2001. I learnt that after the demise of Ng Eng Teng, the house was then turned into a residency space for artists. Much later, it was acquired by a developer.

At this exhibition, 106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House, visitors could find various objects that were found and collected from the house. Alongside these items were archival documentations (e.g. newspapers articles and images) related to Ng Eng Teng. I was most interested in the sculptures and the printed images that were on display. The seemingly dull-looking newspapers articles had given me a better appreciation of the Joo Chiat area, of Ng Eng Teng and a brief background of the house at 106 Joo Chiat Place.

One of the items that was on display at this exhibition was Sultan of Pahang. It somehow struck a chord in me. Maybe it was because Sultan of Pahang was one of the sculptures that had greeted me in the year 2008 when I had chanced upon 106 Joo Chiat Place without realizing it had used to be the workplace and home of the late Ng Eng Teng. I wonder what had inspired Ng Eng Teng to create this very sculpture?

A glimpse of 106 Joo Chiat Place, in year 2008.
Sultan of Pahang.

Ng Eng Teng's Sultan of Pahang.
At the NUS Museum.

It took me close to two hours to take time to browse through this exhibition as well as some of the exhibits from a nearby exhibition titled Sculpturing Life: The Ng Eng Teng Collection featuring artworks by Ng Eng Teng.

The host, Edmond, sharing with visitors a meaningful story of a pond that used to be in the house and the sculpture that was hidden behind the bamboo plants.

The bamboo plants and the site where the pond used to sit.

When I had visited 106 Joo Chiat Place on 29 Nov 2012, a gentleman named Edmond had generously gave his time to share with visitors about various interesting stories that were related to the house. One of the stories was that of a sculpture that was hidden behind the bamboo plants. Edmond told the visitors that the sculpture was on loan to NUS Museum.

While I was at the exhibition at NUS Museum, I was trying to figure out which was the piece of sculpture that had used to be hidden behind the bamboo plants at the land where the Ng Eng Teng house had sat. Imagine the delight on my face when I solved what had been a mystery to me. Nearby the sculpture was a newspaper article on the pond that used to sit at the house of Ng Eng Teng. As for the story of the pond and the sculpture with a tear-like shape, please visit the exhibition to try to figure it out for yourself.

The exhibition 106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House will be worth a visit for anyone who had missed the open-house of Ng Eng Teng's house at Joo Chiat Place on 29 Nov 2012. Please visit it soon.

For myself, visiting this exhibition was part of the process of bidding farewell to a house that I was unfamiliar with and yet was the creation grounds of an artist who has in some ways been an inspiration to me.

106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House 
 9 October 2012 to 30 June 2013 
NUS Museum 
Free Admission

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