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Resources > Collections > Artist Thomas Yeo 姚照宏

Thomas Yeo (1936 - )

Born in 1936 in Singapore, Thomas Yeo studied under watercolourist Sim Kwang Teck, his teacher at Tao Nan School. Intrigued by Cheong Soo Pieng’s painting two red ladies, later identified as Motherly Love (1956), in the window display of an art supplies shop, Yeo enrolled at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1958 upon discovering that Cheong was teaching at the Academy. After graduating in 1960, Yeo pursued further studies at the Chelsea School of Art and Hammersmith College of Art and Architecture in London. The energy and avant-garde spirit of the 1960s London art scene provided fertile ground for him to experiment with unconventional materials like aluminium, polyester resin and stained glass. On his return from London in the 1980s, Yeo maintained an inquiry into the textural and tonal qualities of materials, innovating his art and creating a tactility in his metal-relief and gold-leaf collage series.

Crafting images within imaginary spaces, Yeo used a range of mediums, including gouache, oil and acrylic, to produce abstractions of landscapes and portraits. Over the years, Yeo won numerous awards and accolades. These include the Heineken International Art Award in the Netherlands in 1989, the SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals Golden Circle Award in the United Kingdom in 1991, Pingat APAD from the Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (Association of Artists of Various Resources) in 1995 and NAFA’s Distinguished Alumni Medal in 2009. Yeo was appointed Chairman of the Shell Discovery Art Exhibition Advisory Committee from 1986 to 2002 and President of the Modern Art Society, Singapore, from 1994 to 1999. He also judged the Philip Morris Group of Companies Singapore/ASEAN Art Awards between 1994 and 2004. He was a board member of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute between 2000 and 2003. In 1984, Yeo was conferred the Cultural Medallion.