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Resources > Collections > Artist Goh Beng Kwan 吴珉权

Goh Beng Kwan (1937 - )

Goh Beng Kwan was born in 1937, Medan, Indonesia and migrated to Singapore after the Second World War. As a child, Goh studied at The Chinese High School, where he learnt art from Singapore’s pioneer artists Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng. He is among a group of second-generation artists who furthered their art education abroad and returned with modernist and avant-garde manifestos from the late 1960s through the 1980s. In 1962, Goh went to the United States under the Allen Tucker Scholarship to study at the reputed Art Students League of New York where he trained under abstract expressionist artist Sidney Gross. In 1964, Goh attended the Provincetown Workshop, Massachusetts, under a Ford Foundation scholarship, where Leo Manso and Victor Candell mentored him.

Under the encouragement of Manso, Goh was urged to form his own artistic identity by drawing inspiration from his cultural roots and exploring collage as a medium. Since then, Goh’s works, focusing on collage and assemblage, often reflect upon his natural surroundings as well as his cultural heritage as an ethnic Chinese. Goh uses materials of everyday life, such as rice paper, newsprint and sand, to assimilate local and regional landscape motifs. The artist overlapped these materials with painted brushstrokes to create a highly charged visual language. In 1966, Goh returned to Singapore and has since become synonymous with collage art development in Singapore. In 1982, Goh won first prize at the inaugural United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year competition, first prize at the Australia Business Council and Australia High Commission Art Awards in Singapore in 1984, and a silver medal in the Salon des Artists Francais in 1985. Goh was conferred the Cultural Medallion in 1989. In 2021, the National Gallery of Singapore featured Goh among six Singaporean artists in the exhibition Something New Must Turn Up.