Master Yap Hong Ngee: “Eternal Love” Oil Painting Exhibition

Ascend the escalator onto the 4th floor of GMBB creative community mall, a vast array of rose oil paintings adorn the long exhibition hall. Taking centre stage is a small artwork which consists of roses in the three primary colours and adequate blank-leaving within a gold leaf frame, entitled “Eternal Love” as written on a card placed at the bottom-right. Renowned local artist Yap Hong Ngee adopted it as the theme of his solo exhibition, spreading the power of love.

About 150 pieces of rose oil paintings bedeck contiguous exhibition spaces within the entire floor. Laid out in the style of an art gallery, the artworks are arranged in surprising ways, including forming polyptychs. A myriad of roses bloom in every corner, symbolizing all sorts of love, with white standing for purity, pink for affection, red for passion, yellow for warmth, blue for mystery. Walking around the gallery while holding a loved one’s hand is as if taking a walk in a romantic rose garden. Upon stopping to admire artworks, lean in to gently whisper “I love you.”

About 30 years ago, Master Yap started painting roses for Valentine’s day event at a Japanese department store. Even though the partnership ended years ago, he keep on producing rose oil paintings. Despite being known for Chinese ink painting of sparrows, Master Yap chose Western oil painting as the medium to paint roses which are prominent in Western countries for better interpretation. His rose paintings are by no means realistic, but rather an impression painted in the style of Chinese ink painting after close observation and fully understanding the nature of roses.

Master Yap’s painting process is quite straightforward, squeezing oil paint directly onto the canvas without sketching or using a palette, creating a vivid blooming rose in one stroke. The patterns range from swirls to ripples, unconstrained yet retaining the nuances of a rose, recognizable by the beholder. Apart from that, the artwork titles prompt viewers to contemplate their meanings, relating to their own past experience and resonate with the artist’s ideas.

As the proverb goes: “The rose’s in her hand, the flavor in mine.” A seemingly ordinary action leaves a warm impression on both parties. Perhaps due to Master Yap strongly valuing interpersonal relationships, he incorporates his life experience into his paintings, the sincerity touches the hearts of viewers, bringing people closer together. During art exhibitions, Master Yap would meet complete strangers who were brought to tears by his paintings and shared their life stories with him, thus becoming fast friends.

Master Yap is turning 80 years old, yet he is full of enthusiasm, obtaining great enjoyment in painting. In future, he intends to continue holding exhibitions, hopefully getting the chance to tour different cities and states. For one thing, he wish to let friends know that he is still actively painting. For another thing, he wish to make new friends via artworks and exchange ideas. Master Yap does not place emphasis on selling his paintings or receiving praise, and does not mind whether his artworks are being liked or disliked. To him, true happiness is the feelings of love and support, which enabled him to persist in painting.

有你 UNI Production
Producer : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Michael Lerk
Drone : Daniel Lim
Video Editor : Amelia Lim
Copywriter : Pua Hui Wen


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