artcommune gallery proudly presents Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead. This landmark exhibition aims to connect audience with the lived world of Singapore pioneer master Chen Wen Hsi. 5 Kingsmead Road is the only private residence that has been marked as a historic site under two categories by the National Heritage Board, specifically culture and community, and art. From 12 April to 3 May 2019, this private residence will be open to the public for the first time to showcase two historic mural works created by Chen Wen Hsi in the period of 1959 - 1964. A hallmark of 5 Kingsmead Road, these murals are symbolic of not just his artistic accomplishments but also everyday life. In addition, over 30 paintings drawn from private collection will be on exhibit inside the house, which offers audience a unique opportunity to view some of the best works created by the artist in his lifetime.
Singapore pioneer artist Chen Wen Hsi (b. 1906, Guangdong, China - d. 1991, Singapore) began his career as an art educator at the Chinese High School shortly after his arrival in Singapore in 1949. In 1958, he moved out from the teachers’ quarters in the Chinese High School where he had been residing to a house that was less than a kilometre from the school. The artist had a stretch of wall specially erected at the front porch and he painted two colourful abstract mural works on the two different sides of this wall. His art studio was located on the right side of the house, looking out to a garden where he kept a menagerie of animals including roosters, peacocks, gibbons, squirrels, dogs and fishes. This house, which sat on 5 Kingsmead Road, was Chen Wen Hsi’s home for thirty-four years until he passed away from cancer on 17 December 1991.
After being left abandoned and vacant for almost eight years, the property was bought over by artist Tay Joo Mee and her husband Greg Seow in 1998. While the original architecture of Chen Wen Hsi’s house had largely been modified, the murals were retained and incorporated into the design of the couple’s new house. Over the decades, Tay Joo Mee and her family were faithful voluntary guardians to the murals, protecting and conserving them at their own efforts and expenses.