Prabhakara Jimmy Quek



Prabhakara Jimmy Quek (b. 20 November 1955, Singapore–)1 is an artist known for his keen interest in spirituality. He is a devout Buddhist and this has greatly influenced his work, with his paintings often explicating upon prominent notions in Buddhism such as continuity, change and impermanence. He has exhibited extensively in various parts of the world and his paintings are collected by corporations and individuals worldwide. His works are also displayed at several public spaces in Singapore. While Jimmy is the anglicised name given by his schoolmates, he prefers to be referred to as Prabhakara, a Sanskrit name which means “source of light”.2

Education and employment
Quek received his primary education at Maha Bodhi School from 1962 to 1967. He then went to Dunman Government Chinese Middle School, where he became president of the Art Society. There, his art teacher and mentor Tan Seng Yong encouraged his enthusiasm for art, often taking him along on visits to exhibitions.3 Quek participated in various art competitions and one of his art pieces was selected for the 1973 National Day Art Exhibition.4


Upon completing his secondary education, Quek enrolled in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1973, where he was taught by artists such as Si Xiangtuo, Chen Chong Swee and Lim Yew Kuan.5 However, his father persuaded him to leave after a year to study business at Ngee Ann Technical College. Still, he continued to dabble in art. His artistic pursuits included serving as art editor of the college’s graduation souvenir magazine in 1976.6

Quek graduated from Ngee Ann Technical College in 1977 and subsequently found employment at a piling company. He was with the company for three years before leaving to set up his own company, handling three-dimensional graphic designs. However, Quek felt restricted having to work with different clients and meeting deadlines, and yearned for freedom to do what he liked. Hence, after four years as his own design manager, he decided to quit the corporate world to concentrate on painting.7

In 1985, Quek enrolled in a refresher painting course at St Patrick’s School of Art (now known as LASALLE College of the Arts) during which he participated in numerous exhibitions and competitions. He was also encouraged by the support given by the Della Butcher Gallery. After two years, he left St Patrick’s to pursue art on his own. This led to his first solo exhibition at Della Butcher Gallery in 1987.8

Stylistic conventions
Having lived in a city most of his life, Quek has always been fascinated by the tranquil and idyllic countryside life. His earlier paintings mostly depicted vast expanses of agricultural land. Subsequently, he became drawn to avant-garde art, and began portraying nature in its wild and picturesque state. He achieved this by combining the techniques he had learned with his keen interest in American Expressionism art. Two of the best-known paintings he produced during this period are “Beginning to Rejoice” and “Celebrating with Nature”, both completed in 1992.9


Since becoming a more devout practitioner of Buddhism and meditation in the 1990s, Quek has often depicted ideas such as change, impermanence, and the transient yet inter-relational nature of things in his paintings. After his solo exhibition in 1987, he had visited the sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites of India, Nepal and Kashmir. The trip led to a series of abstract paintings of irregular triangles inspired by ancient Indian temples and traditional textiles.10

Solo exhibitions11
1987:
First solo exhibition, Della Butcher Gallery, Singapore.

1988: Transformation, Della Butcher Gallery, Singapore.
1990: The Spirit of Nature, Della Butcher Gallery, Singapore.
1991: Jain Marunouchi Gallery, New York, United States.
1992: Journey into Myself, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1993: Within, The Oriental Hotel, Singapore / Within, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1998: Recent Paintings by Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, Alliance Francaise de Singapour, Singapore.
1999: Small Paintings Art Exhibition, 407 TKS Studio, Singapore.
2000: Paintings by Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, Galerie Belvedere, Singapore.
2002: An Exhibition by Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, Galerie Belvedere, Singapore.

Selected group exhibitions12
1974, 1976:
Art for Everyone Exhibition, Singapore.

1977, 1983: National Day Art Exhibition, Singapore.
1986: Art in Leisure, Goethe-Institut Art Gallery, Singapore.
1987: National Museum Centenary Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / 1st Asian Art Federation Exhibition, Taiwan Provincial Art Museum, Taiwan.
1988: Masterpieces from Private Collections Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / Singapore Contemporary Artists Exhibition, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong / Singapore Artists Exhibition, SOGO Art Galleries, Yokohama, Kobe and Sapporo, Japan / 1st Exhibition of Federation of Asian Art Association, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taiwan.
1989: 1st ASEAN Travelling Exhibition of Painting, Photography and Children’s Art, art centres and museum galleries in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines / Second Exhibition of Federation of Asian Art Association, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1990: Urban Artists: 25 Years of Singapore Art, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / Modern Art Travels East-West: Corporate Collections from Singapore and the Netherlands, World Trade Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
1991: Many in One: 25 Years of Art from Singapore: Travelling Exhibition in USA, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and Honolulu / Grand Discovery Art Exhibition, Empress Place Museum, Singapore / Chang: 20 Singapore Artists, A Decade of their Work, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / 2nd Bru-Sin Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1992: 7th Asian International Art Exhibition, Gedung Merdeka, Bandung, Indonesia / Contemporary Singapore Art Exhibition, Hong Kong / Multi-images, Singapore Art Society Art Exhibition, Empress Place Museum, Singapore.
1993: New Space, Singapore/Vietnam Art Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam / 6th Asian Art Biennial Bangladesh 1993, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh / Art in Asia; Singapore Art Fair 1993, World Trade Centre, Singapore / Singapore: Place, Poems, Paintings, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / 8th Asian International Art Exhibition, Fukuoka City and Tagawa City, Japan.
1994: Window on Singapore Art: Travelling Exhibition to China and Hong Kong, China Art Gallery (Beijing), Suzhou Museum, Shanghai Art Gallery, Quanzhou Overseas Communication Museum, Xiamen Library, Guangdong Provincial Museum and Fund Ping Shan Museum of University of Hong Kong.
1995: 10th Asian International Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore / Contemporary 95 Art Exhibition by Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya / Modern Art Society 30th Anniversary Art Exhibition, Riverwalk Galleria Exhibition Hall, Singapore.
1996: Manahara, Orchard Point Exhibition Hall, Singapore (fundraising project for Buddhist Library) / Modernity and Beyond, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore / Modern Art Society 32 Anniversary Exhibition, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore.
1997: Taegu: Asia Arts Exhibition, Taegu Cultural Arts Gallery, Korea / 12th Asian International Art Exhibition, Macau.
1998: Second Nature: Cityscapes of Singapore. An exhibition of Singapore Contemporary Art, Hong Kong / 4 Perspectives – Art Exhibition, The National Museum of Thailand, Thailand.
1999: 14th Asian International Art Exhibition, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan.
2001: Time and Space: 37th Modern Art Society Anniversary Art Exhibition, MITA Building, Singapore / 16th Asian International Art Exhibition, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China.
2002: 17th International Asian Art Exhibition, Daejeon Municipal Museum of Art, Korea.
2003: 6th Annual National Teochew Art and Chinese Calligraphy cum Overseas Teochew Artists Exhibition, Teochew Building, Singapore.
2004: Olympic Arts Festival: Olympic Truce: Pieces of Peace, Delegation of the European Commission, Washington DC, United States.
2005: The Singapore Art Show: A Different Light: Works from Selected Collections, National Library Building, Singapore.
2007: 10th Annual Teochew Art Exhibition, Ngee Ann Cultural Centre, Singapore.
2008: Nanyang 70 Years After: A Reunion of Artists in the Academy, Art Galleries at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore / Telok Kurau Studio Annual Exhibition, Telok Kurau Studio Art Gallery, Singapore.

Awards13
1974: Third Prize, National Art Competition, Singapore.
1983: Certificate of Commendation, UOB Painting of the Year Competition, Singapore.
1986: Certificates of Commendation, UOB Painting of the Year Competition, Singapore.
1987: Certificate of Commendation, IBM Art Award Competition, Singapore.
1988: First Prize and Merit Prize, IBM Art Award Competition, Singapore.
1989: Certificate of Commendation, IBM Art Award Competition, Singapore.



Author

Nurhaizatul Jamila Jamil



References
1. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 213. (Call no.: RSING 700.95957 SIN)
2. Quek, P. J. (1992). Journey into myself. Singapore: The Substation, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
3. Quek, P. J. (1998). Prabhakara: Recent paintings. Singapore: Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, pp. 10, 78. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE); Pabha Creation. (n.d.). Artist: Jimmy Quek Prabhakara. Retrieved 2016, November 18 from Pabha Creation website: http://pabha.com/Page11.htm
4. Pabha Creation. (n.d.). Artist: Jimmy Quek Prabhakara. Retrieved 2016, November 18 from Pabha Creation website: http://pabha.com/Page11.htm
5. Quek, P. J. (1998). Prabhakara: Recent paintings. Singapore: Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
6. Pabha Creation. (n.d.). Artist: Jimmy Quek Prabhakara. Retrieved 2016, November 18 from Pabha Creation website: http://pabha.com/Page11.htm
7. Quek, P. J. (1992). Journey into myself. Singapore: The Substation, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
8. Quek, P. J. (1992). Journey into myself. Singapore: The Substation, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
9. Quek, P. J. (1998). Prabhakara: Recent paintings. Singapore: Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, pp. 10–11. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
10. Quek, P. J. (1998). Prabhakara: Recent paintings. Singapore: Prabhakara Jimmy Quek, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)
11. Pabha Creation. (n.d.). Artist: Jimmy Quek Prabhakara. Retrieved 2016, November 18 from Pabha Creation website: http://pabha.com/Page11.htm
12. Pabha Creation. (n.d.). Artist: Jimmy Quek Prabhakara. Retrieved 2016, November 18 from Pabha Creation website: http://pabha.com/Page11.htm
13. Quek, P. J. (1992). Journey into myself. Singapore: The Substation, p. 59. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 QUE)



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Arts>>Painting
Artists--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Artists
Philosophy, psychology and religion>>Religion>>Buddhism
Buddhism and art
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Artists
Quek, Prabhakara Jimmy, 1955-