I was invited to a private gallery tour at the Singapore Art Museum by Mr Kevin Lim of The National Art Gallery, Singapore. Through the email invite, I was told that it will be a special tour of Yeh Chi Wei's exhibition lead by his grand-daughter, Jascey Yeh.
I arrived at the Singapore Art Museum at around 4.45pm on Saturday. The tour was stated to start at 5pm. Weather that day was pretty pleasant, considering it had been blazing hot the last couple of days. As I step into the museum, I saw a small group of people waiting at the lobby together with my host, Kevin.
Among the guests sat a quite young lady who was later introduced to me as the late artist’s granddaughter, Jascey Yeh. After a brief smile and hello, Miss Yeh quietly disappeared into the crowd and I was whisked away to be introduced to some fellow bloggers. A brief chat and a few photographs later, and we were ushered up to the 2nd level of the museum as the tour was about to start.
The tour started in the most unexpected manner. We were introduced to our special guide in an almost theatrical manner. No, I don’t mean the lights were dimmed and there were dancing ballerinas, but the introduction felt like the usual opening you experienced when you attend a play or musical.
With soft piped in music in the background, Jascey introduced herself to everyone and lead us into the gallery. I immediately felt like I was attending a walking play. It felt refreshing as I could feel the emotional connection from Jascey as she proudly tell us her grandfather’s story.
Jascey introduced several paintings with fond memories as a child growing up surrounded by many of Mr Yeh’s now very precious paintings. Sometimes she spoke with excitement as she recalled playing ping pong (or table tennis) with her cousins beside her grandfather’s painting. An act of mischievousness to see who can hit the painting. And sometimes she became quite and somber as she spoke about how the family had sacrificed themselves to support his art after he had lost his job as an art educator.
From his travel with his Ten Men Art Group around Asia, which he brought back many artifacts that deck their family home in Upper Paya Lebar, to stories of his family struggle and support, images of Mr Yeh’s life as an artist, a patriarch and his relationship with his family painted a vivid picture in my mind.
As a docent previously, I had expected a more formal and rehearsed tour, with questions from the audiences in between. There were no questions from the audience this time as we all have vivid images of Mr Yeh’s life painted deeply in our minds. The tour by Miss Jascey Yeh was truly refreshing that it had inspired me to become a docent again. “The (other) Story of Yeh Chi Wei” was a truely a poignant story told by his talented granddaughter, Jascey Yeh.
Catch the 2nd edition of this special tour by Miss Jascey Yeh this coming Saturday (11th September 2010) at 5pm at the Singapore Art Museum. Admission to the tour is free. Museum admission charges apply. For enquiries and registration, please contact Ms. Masitah Ismail (Education Officer) at [email protected]
For more info, check out Yesterday.Sg.