Born in 1937, Singaporean artist Ho Kah Leong is known for his en plein air paintings and Chinese calligraphy. Trained at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) for one and a half years in the mid-1950s, Ho explored with various mediums such as outdoor sketching, woodblock printing, photography and painting. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science Nanyang University in 1963, Ho continues to hone his skills and participates actively in the local art scene even when he was a teacher and politician. Serving as a NAFA’s principal from 1997 to 2003, Ho is passionate in working outdoor and painting on-site to capture the essence and life of a scene, which he believes can evoke one’s emotion.
The above woodcut print exemplifies Ho’s finesse in capturing the spirit of family togetherness in the outdoor setting. Woodcut prints, which gained popularity among local artists in the 1950s and 1960s were slated towards socio-political themes. Towards the end of the 1960s, the popularity declined, and artists began to focus on the simplicity of everyday activities and local landscapes as seen for Happy Family. With the stately backdrop of the former Supreme Court and City Hall, it evokes nostalgic moments of a family basking outdoor during the yesteryears of Singapore.