Ng Eng Teng

b. 1934, Singapore
d. 2001, Singapore

Ng Eng Teng was a sculptor and winner of the Cultural Medallion in visual arts in 1981. He learnt painting under first-generation masters such as Georgette Chen and Liu Kang, and furthered his studies in ceramics in England. Having returned to Singapore in 1966, Ng maintained a prolific production throughout his career until his death in November 2001. One of the most renowned artists in Singapore, he is remembered for his large-scale sculptures gracing many public spaces as well as his introspective and whimsical interpretations of humanist themes in three-dimension.

Ng began his artistic journey as a painter, studying fine art at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), in Singapore. His interest in sculpture began at an early age, and even when the subject was not taught at NAFA during his studies, he worked on terracotta figurines using kilns in the now defunct Jurong Brickworks and Alexandra Brickworks. With the advice of his teacher, Georgette Chen, he pursued sculptural arts abroad in the 1960s.

Distinct aspects of Ng’s oeuvre are: rounded biomorphic forms based on the human form; angular or geometric forms that may be “abstractions of the human form”; as well as works that portray human conditions such as motherhood and fear. Throughout his career, Ng has worked with different materials in pottery and sculpture, these being clay, terracotta, stoneware, metal and ciment fondu.
Some of Ng’s well-known public sculpture works in Singapore include: “Mother and Child” (1996), which temporarily stood at Tampines Central Park and has since been accessioned into Singapore’s National Collection of visual art; “Mother and Child” (1980), which stands at Orchard Road; “Spirit of Man” (1984), which is displayed at Changi International Airport; as well as two large, monumental female forms, titled “Wealth” (1974) and “Contentment” (1974), which once stood in the courtyard at the old Plaza Singapura in the 1970s, were subsequently donated to the NUS Museum in 1997, and displayed at the University Cultural Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Ng was concerned with the welfare of society. Thus, he participated in charity exhibitions and programmes for inmates. His belief in education and free creation led him to donate the bulk of his works – such as sketches, paintings and maquettes – to the NUS Museum. His donations to the NUS Museum, which number over 1,000 works, provide a comprehensive account of his artistic career. Ng was instrumental in the development of the fine arts in Singapore through his art, his person and his participation at various levels of the artistic arena as advisor, judge and observer.

Biography information from the www.eresources.nlb.gov.sg, September 2022

Country: Singapore