Ho Ho Ying



Ho Ho Ying (b. 23 January 1936, Wenchang, Hainan, China–)1 is a prominent pioneer of modern art in Singapore and an influential art critic. His works have been exhibited in many countries, including Australia, China, France, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. He is also a prolific writer and has authored several books and prose under the pen names of Zimu, Jiading and Qieyi.2 Ho was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the local art scene.3

Early life and career
The eldest son in a family of five, Ho grew up in Hainan, China, with his mother. His father was then working as a cook for a British family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. Following the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), Ho and his mother left Hainan and eventually joined his father in Kuala Lumpur in 1941.4


The young Ho was enrolled in the Chung Hwa Confucian Primary School.5 While at school, Ho learnt basic Chinese calligraphy and during art lessons he copied drawings on the blackboard that were made by his teacher. His favourite pastime then was reading Chinese comic books. He was fascinated by the graphics in the comics and would try to copy drawings of the comic characters.6

Ho continued his education at the Chung Hwa Confucian Secondary School until 1951 when the family his father was working for relocated to Singapore.7 Ho’s family moved to Singapore as well and Ho was transferred to The Chinese High School. It was in this school that Ho’s interest in art was formally nurtured. While studying there, he came under the influence and guidance of Liu Kang and Chen Wen Hsi, two grandmasters and pioneers of the Singapore art scene. Chen in particular left a deep influence on the teenage Ho.8

Ho’s mother died in 1952, probably from cervical cancer, shortly after giving birth to his youngest sister. His father once again left for Kuala Lumpur to work. Ho was left behind in Singapore to look after his siblings.9

After graduating from The Chinese High School in 1955, Ho had to look for a job as his family was too poor to send him to university. In 1956, he started work as an art teacher in Jurong Primary School.10 The following year, he enrolled in Nanyang University and graduated in 1962 with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature.11 During his university days, Ho received visits from Chen, who gave him tips on his drawings and occasionally provided him with financial help.12

After graduating from university, Ho spent some time pursuing his interest in art while unemployed. In 1964, he got a lecturing position at the National Youth Leadership Training Centre, a post which he held till 1995.13 While holding a full-time job, Ho continued to paint whenever he could.

From 1958 onwards, Ho starting writing short stories and essays on the subject of art, some of which were published in the various local Chinese papers such as Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh.14

In 1996, Ho decided to improve his knowledge in art by taking up a postgraduate course at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, majoring in Chinese art history and criticism.15

Artistic career
In 1966, Ho held his first solo exhibition at the former National Library of Singapore at Stamford Road. Since then, he has held several solo exhibitions in Singapore and China and participated in numerous group shows both locally and overseas. His work is represented in the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum.16


Besides developing his own artistic career, Ho also helped to establish various art societies. In 1964, Ho founded the Modern Art Society, Singapore (MASS) along with six other artists, namely Wee Beng Chong, Tong Siang Eng, Tay Chee Toh, Tan Yee Hong, Johnda Goh and Ng Yat Chuang.17 They subsequently launched the First Modern Art Exhibition at the National Library in 1975. Ho went on to establish the Federation of Art Societies (Singapore) (FASS) in 1992 and the FASS Chengdu Art Studio, China, in 2003.18

In 1987, Ho and Leo Hee Tong collaborated to create a steel sculpture, Towards the 21st Century, which was later displayed in the Somerset MRT station.19

Ho is held in high regard by his peers. He was the president of the MASS from 1966 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 1983. He also served two terms as president of the FAS, from 1992 to1995 and 1998 to 2004.20

Stylistic conventions
Ho is known for his avant-garde Chinese calligraphy and his abstract expressionistic works. His roots in Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting and later, his deep attraction to abstract expressionism, especially in the free movements of American artists like Jackson Pollock, influenced his style significantly. Ho has succeeded in creating a unique artistic identity for himself through the signature use of blue, red and black colours, and his ability to marry traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy with Western abstract expressionism.21

Family22
Wife: Loo Voon Ying.

Awards23
1975:
Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD) Singapore Award.
1979:
Contribution to Modern Art Award, MAS, Singapore.
2000:
Karongguni Art Exhibition Gold Award, (FAS), Singapore.

2000: Special gold award (Chinese Calligraphy), Tengwang Ke, China.
2012: Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts.

Exhibitions24
Solo exhibitions
1966:
于新加坡国立图书馆举办个展.
1978:
于新加坡国立博物馆举办个展.
1980:
于新加坡亚化画廊举办个展.

2000: “跨越障碍”何和应创意书法展.
2001:
“步上彩虹”何和应创意书法展.
2004:
Beyond Image, Yisulang Art Gallery, Singapore.


Group exhibitions
1956–2002:
新加坡艺术协会常年美展.
1963:
第一届“现代画展”,新加坡.
1964–2003:
新加坡现代画会常年美展.
1965:
现代画展,吉隆坡英国文化协会.
1966:
现代画展,槟城博物馆.
1969:
新加坡开埠150周年美展.
1972:
5人专题“波浪画展”,新加坡.
1974:
亚特烈节美展,澳洲亚特烈市.
1975:
现代画展,泰国曼谷,柏芝布丽画廊.
1976:
第一届亚洲美展,香港大会堂;新加坡博物馆画廊启幕展.
1979, 1981:
第13届与15届国际当代美术展,摩纳哥.
1980:
现代画会台湾巡回展.
1981–1985:
亚细安美术巡回展.
1982:
国际美术联盟启幕展,日本千叶市,东京市.
1984:
亚洲当代美展,日本福冈市.
1985, 1986:
新加坡艺术协会台湾巡回展,台北、台中、台南、高雄.
1986:
台湾高雄市国际美展.
1987:
和梁其栋合作新加坡地铁索美塞站浮雕“迈向廿一世纪”.
1988:
法国大皇宫沙龙;“四海美展”, 新加坡.
1989:
亚洲美术联盟第2届展,马来西亚吉隆坡.
1990:
新加坡现代12名家画展,澳门.
1991:
亚洲美术联盟第4届展,日本田川市;“新意象画展”,中国西安.
2003:
See it. Feel it. Love it., Telok Kurau Studios, Singapore.
2009:
Remade, relived: Modern art in Singapore, NAFA Galleries, Singapore.
2011:
New interpretation in retrospect, MICA Atrium, Singapore.
2012:
Retro revival, Ion Art Gallery, Singapore.




Author
Chor Poh Chin




References
1. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 13). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/01, p. 1]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
2.
Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21

3. National Arts Council. (2012). Cultural medallion, 2012: Ho Ho Ying – Visual Arts. Retrieved from http://www.nac.gov.sg/docs/cmyaa/ho-ho-ying.pdf
4. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 13). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/01, p. 2]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 13). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/01, p. 3]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
5. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 13). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/01, p. 2]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

6. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 20). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/03, p. 30]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/ 
7. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 13–1999, March 19). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/01, p. 3]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
8. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 20). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/03, p. 31]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
9. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 20). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/04, p. 47]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/ 
10. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 20). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette rRecording no. 002060/23/03, p. 37]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
11. Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21

12. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 20). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/03, p. 41]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
13. 叶伟征 (访员). [Ye, W. Z. (Interviewer)]. (1998, October 27). 特别计划 (视觉美术) 口述历史访问何和应 [Special Project (Visual Arts) Oral history interview with Ho Ho Ying] [Transcript of cassette recording no. 002060/23/08, p. 97]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21
14. Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21
15. National Arts Council. (2012). Cultural medallion, 2012: Ho Ho Ying – Visual Arts. Retrieved from http://www.nac.gov.sg/docs/cmyaa/ho-ho-ying.pdf
16.
Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21

17. Modern Art Society, Singapore. About MASS. Retrieved from http://www.mass.org.sg/index.html
18. Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21
19. Hoe, I. (1987, December 5). $2m worth of art for six MRT stations. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
20. Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21
21. Barnes, R. (1980, May 28). To let off steam, throw, splash and dribble paint on a canvas. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. National Arts Council. (2012). Cultural medallion, 2012: Ho Ho Ying – Visual Arts. Retrieved from http://www.nac.gov.sg/docs/cmyaa/ho-ho-ying.pdf
23.
Biotechnics. Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://biotechnics.org/2hohoying.html; National Arts Council. (2012). Cultural medallion, 2012: Ho Ho Ying – Visual Arts. Retrieved from http://www.nac.gov.sg/docs/cmyaa/ho-ho-ying.pdf
24.
Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts. (2011). Visual artist – Ho Ho Ying. Retrieved from http://tfcsea.nafa.edu.sg/artist_biography.aspx?id=21; National Arts Council. (2012). Cultural medallion, 2012: Ho Ho Ying – Visual Arts. Retrieved from http://www.nac.gov.sg/docs/cmyaa/ho-ho-ying.pdf




Further resources

何和应 [He, H. Y.]. (1978). 何和应画集 [He he ying hua ji]. 新加坡: 著者.
(Call no.: Chinese RSEA 759.95957 HHY)


何和应 [He, H. Y.]. (1999). 美术论衡 [Mei shu lun heng]. 新加坡: 新加坡美术馆.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING 709 HHY)


何和应 [He, H. Y.]. (2000). 跨越障碍: 何和应创意书画集 [Breaking barriers: Recent calligraphy art works by He He Ying]. 新加坡: Federation of Art Societies.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING q759.95957 HHY)


Liu, K., & Ho, H. Y. (2005). Re-connecting: Selected writings on Singapore art and art criticism. Singapore: Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts.
(Call no.: RSING 709.59570904 LIU)


子木 [Zi, M.]. (1982). 七级宝塔 [Qi ji bao ta]. 新加坡: 教育出版社.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING C813.4 ZM)


子木 [Zi, M.]. (1988). 杭州日记 [Hangzhou ri ji]. 新加坡: 先锋出版公司.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING C818.8 ZM)


子木 [Zi, M.]. (2003). 西藏拉萨日记 [Xizang Lasa ri ji]. 新加坡: 友联书局.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING C818.8 ZM)




The information in this article is valid as at 15 January 2014 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
Personalities
Arts