TEW NAI TONG
b. Selangor, 1936 – d. Kuala Lumpur, 2013
FIGURES WITH BIRDCAGES, 1992
Signed ‘NAI TONG’ (lower left)
Oil on canvas
80cm x 95cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur;
acquired directly from the artist.
ESTIMATE RM 16,000 - 25,000
PRICE REALISED RM 21,280
|Depicted here is part of Tew Nai Tong’s Birdcage series. Using the birdcage and figures symbolically, Nai Tong expressed his perspectives on the importance of peace, the joy of living in simplicity and dignity and of living with nature. Here, Nai Tong explores the relationship between people and nature, perhaps questioning the need to contain the birds within cages. One girl in the foreground holds a bird in her hands, while behind her some are gazing upwards towards the row of multi-hued birdcages casting large overlapping shadows on the left wall.
Tew Nai Tong received his early art education at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore (NAFA), graduating in 1958. He worked for a while to raise funds for his studies at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris (1967 - 1968). In the early years, he signed his work as ‘Chang Nai Tong.’ His first solo was at the British Council, Kuala Lumpur in 1964 and he had his retrospective at the National Art Gallery in 2007. He taught at the Malaysian Institute of Art from 1969 to 1980, the Central Academy of Art from 1982 to 1985 and the Saito Academy of Art (head of department, 1986 - 1988). He concentrated fulltime in art in 1992. His awards included Second Prize, 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 in 2009. He is the co-founder of the Malaysian Watercolour Society (1982 - 1983) and the Contemporary Malaysian Watercolourist Association (1994) and the now defunct Le Beaux Art Gallery.
Odyssey, Tew Nai Tong Retrospective, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2007.