TEW NAI TONG
b. Selangor, 1936
Signed and dated 'NAI TONG 74' lower left
Oil on canvas
88cm x 88cm
Private Collection, Kelantan
ESTIMATE RM 10,000 - 16,000
PRICE REALISED RM 19,800
Moonlight is a work that romanticises the Malaysian landscape, in this case, the fishermen’s stilt houses, with elements of the Nanyang style evident. The stilt houses are built on shallow waters near the sea banks, but the ones shown by Tew Nai Tong, the kelongs from a slightly angled top view, are piled some distance away as the location of the jetty platform in the near view on the right indicates. Besides the obvious social implications, artists from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s find the stilt houses a challenge, both in realism and as an abstract art exercise with the play of vertical and horizontal lines and forms. While the fishermen’s life may be precarious and uncertain, the moon comes as a familiar source of comfort as it indicates another’s day work and a time for respite.
After his education at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore from 1957 to 1958, Nai Tong studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris from 1967 to 1968. His first solo was held at the British Council, Kuala Lumpur in 1964 and he was hounoured with a retrospective at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 2007. His won awards including 2nd Prize at the Chartered Bank Mural Design Competition (1964); Shell Watercolour Award (1981); Best Award, Esso (1982); Dunlop Watercolour Award (1983); and Grand Prize Asia Art Award (Malaysia) in Seoul (2009). He is an advisor to several art organisations, including the Contemporary Malaysian Watercolourist Association.
Odyssey, Tew Nai Tong Retrospective, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2007.