Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farewell to the house at 106 Joo Chiat Place

Studio 106, in year 2008.

In the year 2008, while I was exploring the Joo Chiat area, I chanced upon a house that had sculptures that were clearly by the late artist, Ng Eng Teng. Imagine the delight and surprise that was on my face back then.

Many months after that chanced encounter, during a visit to an exhibition at NUS Museum in that same year, I learnt that the house that I had chanced upon at 106 Joo Chiat Place was the house where the late Ng Eng Teng, one of my favourite local sculptors, had used as his art studio! I felt grateful to have caught a glimpse of this very building that had provided the needed shelter and space for the Ng Eng Teng to create many of his masterpieces.

On 29 Nov 2012, this very house at 106 Joo Chiat Place which I had wished to enter was opened to members of the public. Yet, it was with sadness and a heavy heart that I visited this very house. I bid farewell to it. It has served its mission. Yet, somehow, its fate was that it has to go. A treasure it has been, and a treasure it will remain to be in the hearts of many.

106 Joo Chiat Place, on 29 Nov 2012.

I wonder if the demolition of this house would mean that the contributions by the late Ng Eng Teng would be forgotten? Most likely not. Ng Eng Teng had donated a great number of his works to the NUS Museum. I hope that he will be remembered through his artworks and more.

At the open house of this very house, many members of the public were taking photographs and experiencing what it might have been to be creating sculptures and artworks in this house. Representatives of the Awaken the Dragon were seen salvaging the wood from this house to use these wood to fire one of the last two surviving dragon kilns in Singapore in Jan 2013. Even when Ng Eng Teng's house is torn down, Ng Eng Teng's contributions to the art scene in Singapore shall live on.

Please find in this post some of the photos taken of this beautiful house. Perhaps the demolition of this house would urge us to rethink what we as a community could ascribe more value to? Some losses are simply irreversible. Once lost, they will be gone forever.

Once lost, only in our memories and the records, would they be remembered.

The kiln that Ng Eng Teng had used.
The very site where the kiln used to be.
The kiln was placed outdoors.

The fan and the wall that would greet everyone who enters the house from the front.

The basement.
Piece by piece, the house was taken apart literally.

The bamboo plant and the touching story behind it.

The host, Edmond, sharing with visitors about the unique features of the house and a meaningful story that is associated with it.

Also read:
The Grandfather of Singapore Sculpture and his Joo Chiat Studio by Remember Singapore
One last time: Ng Eng Teng's studio at 106 Joo Chiat Place
Remembering Ng Eng Teng
Mulitmedia: My Brother, Our House by The Straits Times, Through the Lens.

One of the bricks that was found at 106 Joo Chiat Place.


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