Sunday, September 13, 2009

Highlight of Artwalk 2009: Diana Francis

The first stop of yesterday's Art Walk 2009 did not auger well for the rest of the day.  Call us Philistines -- we just could not appreciate the artistic value of gouged plywood (sorry Joe Fleming).   We decided to escape and see what else Jalan Merah Saga had to offer.  

A few meters away from Taksu Gallery, a small sign caught our attention - Diana Francis Studio - open Mon-Sat.  What the heck,  we had plenty of time to spare before the shuttle arrived.   After huffing and puffing our way up the narrow stairs (note to self,  go back to gym),  we entered a brightly lit studio and were greeted by a very cheerful and gracious Englishwoman who we quickly realized was Diana Francis herself.    Our 10-15 minute chat turned out to be the highlight of the day.

It is very easy to take things we see everyday for granted -  when embarking on a drive for modernity, one will always runs the risk of losing one's identity.  It is only fairly recently that residents of cities such as Penang and  Melaka are seeing their unique architecture as something other than just "old buildings".   It is a shame that many of the shophouses in Singapore have had their interiors gutted to give way to a more modern look and feel.  

Enter artists such as Diana Francis:
"I hope to evoke in my paintings an emotional connection with this country's past.  the roots and history of Singapore and for us not to forget this.  The streets, the trades and the people that primarily built this nation, before modernity took its hold."
Diana Francis - 2009
"Boat Quay"2008, oil on canvas, Diana Francis

For those inspired by Diana's vibrant and colorful artwork, she will be participating in this year's Singapore Sun Festival by holding two workshops at  the Singapore Art Museum this October.

Here's the blub from Sistic on A Singapore Tale or Two Workshop
Glimpse into Singapore’s past both architecturally and culturally through oil painted perspectives of Singapore by Diana Francis, whilst author Dr. Julian Davidson (author of One For The Road, An Eastern Port and The Black and White House), also presenter of TV’s Site and Sound, tells Singapore Tales from his family memoirs and excerpts of his books. Be taken through stage one of your composition with Diana Francis, from the application of the paints to the finished piece, as you interpret your own Singapore Story, get inspired and produce your very own ‘masterpiece’! Indulge in fine wines and canapés in the stunning surrounds of the Singapore Art Museum and be inspired. You may wish to add one of Diana Francis’ prints to your personal collection as they will be on sale. Dr. Julian Davidson’s books will also be on sale and he will conduct a book signing session. Painting blocks and acrylic paints will be provided.  

DATE: Friday 2 October & Friday 9 October • 7pm – 9pm
VENUE: Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore
Prices: S$ 58 per session

Booking hotline: (65) 6348 5555
Booking website:

Diana Francis' work has been commissioned by private individuals and corporations, including The Dutch Embassy in Singapore and The Royal Bank of Scotland.  She showed us how she personalizes the paintings made for families -- from names on the shophouses to representations of people on the canvas.   It was enough to convince me to set up a new sinking fund.  =)

For those who are interested in knowing more about her paintings and prints,  please contact Diana directly at the Diana Francis Studio:
Address:  Block 43, Jalan Merah Saga
                  #-03-76 The Workloft@Chip Bee
                 Singapore 278115
Tel:  +65 9830 5820


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