Back in the September 2022 Mailbag I introduced you to the Singaporean artist Gloria Keh and her inspiring works which are now all sold to support charities.
Over the next two days we are going to learn more about this remarkable woman and artist and view some of her works in more depth.
There are million of artists in the world at this very moment - all beavering away at their chosen form of artistic expression. Some will rise to greatest others will travel the art journey enjoying their love of expressing their view of the world which is not dependent on fame and fortune: though the latter would be nice as art materials are appallingly expensive to buy.
Some artists stand out for being more than an artist and Gloria Keh is in this class. Gloria is not only committed to her creative trade but is equally and perhaps more so committed to her beliefs and ideals.
In the online Contemporary Art Curator Magazine Gloria has given her artist statement as:
Many people pray every day. I am not a religious person but hopefully a spiritual one. And I paint everyday. My artworks are my painted prayers. To be able to paint is not just a gift but a blessing and it is my hope that my painted prayers can be used to benefit the greater good. My reward comes from the very experience of the painting process. A process that goes beyond my intellect and understanding. At 69, all I desire is silence and solitude; to be in communion with my art. I abide by the wisdom of an old proverb that simply says that the hand of the giver is never empty. If one could take these words to heart, one will be blessed with peace of mind. And good art, if one can be so bold as to sit in judgement, can only be born out of a mind that enjoys an inner peace. 2
Below we see Gloria's Inner Sun - Abstraction of the sun within us all. That inner energy. The glow. That vitality. What the Japanese call "ki". And the Chinese call "chi". 3
Gloria Keh was born in 1952, the Chinese Year of The Dragon.
Her late father, Martin Fu, was an oil painter, who although never achieved fame, and died poor, enjoyed many rich experiences from his art and his love of classical music and European opera.3
To view and appreciate some works by Martin Fu please click here.
Gloria was blessed to grow up in a household surrounded by art and music. Not only did her father paint a great deal, but her late elder brother had a passion for making watercolor paintings which were always of very serious looking Catholic saints. And mother would spend her leisure time coloring black and white comic books. But art is art, no matter what the subject may have been. 3
Because it was a difficult task making a living as an oil painter, her late father was forced to work in an advertising agency, as a commercial artist, in order to support his family. Gloria would also hang around her father, either in his office, or when he freelanced, working on graphic art, at home. She enjoyed watching him work, making art... Hence, she was exposed to commercial art and graphics from a very impressionable age. In addition, to subsidise her allowance, Gloria began peddling little artworks drawn and painted in poster colors, even before she was 10. She would sell her little drawings/paintings for $3 a pop, indeed a princely sum in those days for a child.3
However, with the passage of time, Gloria entered the work force, taking on jobs in other fields of employment, that certainly afforded better monetary rewards than art. Sadly, art was to take a back seat for a long time, until 1996, when in Melbourne, Gloria began serious study in mandala art and symbolism. Her teacher, Georgina Fode of the Theosophical Society, played an important role in her development as an artist. Her study in mandala art and symbolism continued for a decade, following which, upon the blessings and request of her mandala teacher, Gloria began facilitating mandala workshops both in Melbourne and Singapore. She also undertook a short study course in art therapy. 3
A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism it is used as a map representing deities, or especially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines. A mandala generally represents the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers. 4
If you would like to read more about Gloria's interpretation of mandals please click here.
In 2008, Gloria founded Circles of Love, a non profit charity outreach program, using her art in the service to humanity. Gloria has participated in over 80 exhibitions both internationally as well as in her home country, Singapore. She has been blessed with 18 international art awards. 1 Amongst her many awards is a Palm Art Award 2021 Recognition Prize with two of her entries shown below.
Gloria's note for Secret Forest (below right) states: Semi abstraction. A work that took months to complete: it is the forerunner of what the artist hopes will be her DREAM SERIES.3
Gloria Keh is prolific in her productions which are alive with vibrancy and passion and tomorrow we will look more closely at her artistic process.
© Thank you to Gloria Keh who kindly gave permission for the images of her work to be shared on AnArt4Life.
Facebook users can follow Gloria on her page as Gloria Fu Keh.
Instagram users can follow Gloria here.
And a direct link to the website of Gloria Keh can be found here.
It is most fitting that this morning we welcome our first subscriber K.M.T. from South Korea. As you will learn tomorrow in the second post on Gloria's work, she launched her Environmental Series in South Korea.
3. Art by Gloria Keh (gloriakeh.com)