Under the MOU, Mr Lee will be the first “Artist-in-Residence” at CMG. He will have a dedicated work space in CMG’s office for a period of two years. CMG will provide support to promote Mr Lee’s works and also allow him to use the work spaces within its office and SPH for his activities whenever possible.
As the "Artist-in-Residence", Mr Lee will create a large water-colour painting for SPH and explore other collaborations with CMG, including conducting sharing sessions with its artists. The initiative is a two-year term and is subjected to renewal.
Ms Loh Woon Yen, Managing Editor of CMG, said: “This is part of CMG’s efforts to support and promote talented Singapore artists and artisans beyond our media platforms. By providing a studio space for Singapore artists in our latest initiative, we wish to work more closely with local artists to develop art works, designs and products that are infused with our unique Singapore culture."
Lianhe Zaobao entered into a partnership with the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) in 2017 to organise a series of cultural activities at SCCC under the banner of Zaobao and Creative Space (早报文创空间). Monthly events have been held since January 2017, which allows local artisans and artists to share their works and stories.
CMG also launched the Singapore Creator Awards in 2018 to spur innovation and creative designs infused with Singapore culture, as well as to encourage local young designers to embark on their creative journey.
Mr Lee said that he has voiced his thoughts about setting up a studio via his social media in 2017 after leaving his full time teaching position. He was then approached by CMG and was offered a work space.
He hopes to be able to make use of this space to embark on larger works on canvas, including acrylic and watercolour paintings.
More about Ah Guo
Mr Lee Kow Fong 李高丰, 48, who uses his pen name Ah-Guo 阿果, was from the pioneer batch of the Art Elective Programme at Chinese High School, where he took art at “O” Levels. He moved on to pursue a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration in 2009 in the UK.
He started to blog in 2000 and chose to accompany his writing with simple illustrations. His picture-book “The Search” was very well-received. It was awarded Best Children’s Title in 2016 at the Singapore Books Award and its right has been bought by publishers in China, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. Mr Lee was also a commissioned artist for several local Chinese and English language picture books and held several art exhibitions.
Mr Lee is known for his quirky and distinctive aesthetics. His whimsical drawings illustrate the idyllic moments of childhood set against the backdrop of nature. The subjects are seen engaged in various activities, in a surrealistic background filled with nature inspired motifs, such as delicate flowers blooming, candy-coloured clouds, calming blue seas, star-filled skies and willowy trees.
Mr Lee first worked with SPH's Chinese Media Group for the Singapore Book Fair 2017, where his artworks were used as the overall design theme. He later went on to collaborate with ZShop, the group’s e-commerce platform to sell his merchandise.
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