Wee Beng Chong is one of Singapore’s most versatile artists, producing exceptional works in various mediums, such as calligraphy, seal carving, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media works, oil and Chinese ink painting. His formal art education began in 1955 when he enrolled in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and was introduced to different genres of art. Besides building a solid foundation in Western art, the artist also picked up seal carving and Chinese ink painting under the tutelage of See Hiang To. Later in 1964, Wee studied sculpture at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, adding sculpture-making to his impressive list of art skills. As a key figure in promoting the development of visual arts in Singapore from the 1960s–1980s, Wee was accorded the Cultural Medallion in 1979.
Even after his graduation in 1958, Wee maintained strong relations with NAFA. He joined the academy in 1981 as a faculty member in the Fine Art Department and, in the following year, was appointed Head of the department for the next seven years. He became a Senior Lecturer from 1990 to 2014 and, later, a Senior Adjunct Lecturer at NAFA. His artwork expresses his best wishes to his alma mater.
The calligraphy on the Strive to Advance reads
Seal near mid-right 力争上游
Gifted to the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Strive to succeed and go forward to the world
(1) Good Luck
(2) Strive to advance
(5) Health and Longevity
(6) Longevity and Health
(7) Strive to advance
(8) Within the Arts
Written in 2003, rubbings from ceramic carving by Wee Beng Chong