Ong Kim Seng BBM AWS DF NWS 71, is an iconic Singapore artist. He was President of the Singapore Watercolor Society from 1991 to 2001. He has won six awards from the American Watercolor Society (AWS): the Paul B. Remmy Memorial Award in 1983, the Lucy B. Moore Award in 1988, the Clara Stroud Memorial Award in 1989, the Barse Miller Memorial Award in 1992, Winsor & Newton Award in 2000 and the Ida Wells Memorial Award in 2001. He has been an active member of the American Watercolor Society since 1990 and was the first Asian outside the U.S.A. to be awarded membership. Kim Seng was bestowed the Dolphin Fellowship of the AWS in 2000.
In 1991, he was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts by the Ministry Of Information and the Arts, Singapore. He won the Excellence for Singapore award presented by the Singapore Totalisator Board in 2000 and the Singapore Internationale by the Singapore International Foundation in 2001.
He has been an Art Advisor to the National Arts Council since 1998 and is a Life Fellow of the National University of Singapore's Centre of the Arts. In 2004 he was the Artist-in-Residence at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.
In 1993 his work Bhaktapur was the first Singapore watercolour painting to be auctioned by Sotheby's in Hong Kong. In March 1994, his work 'Bali" was auctioned by Christie's in Singapore. His works are now auctioned annually in Singapore and the region. An ardent trekker, Kim Seng has visited the Tianshan region of Sinkiang in China, the Himalayas in Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau many times to trek and paint. Kim Seng catapulted to fame as the ‘Nepal Painter’ in the 1970s, being the first Singapore artist to paint the Himalayan region so memorably. He later received acclaim for his visual travelogues, painting stunning landscapes in Southeast Asia, Asia, Europe and America. His dedication to plein air painting is rooted in his formative years of painting outdoors with pioneer watercolorists such as the late Lim Cheng Hoe. Ong Kim Seng works on his favorite subject: beauty holding strong in the face of urbanization. Each painting is a testament to Kim Seng’s commitment and dedication to his art. He takes pains in promoting the message of conservation of both culture and environment through his artworks.
His works are in the Collections of Queen Elizabeth II, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, President of the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, the Prime Minister of Japan, the President and the Prime Minister of India, the Governor of Hokkaido, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Maritime Museum, the Agung Rai Museum and Neka Museum in Bali, Indonesia, etc. Ong Kim Seng’s works have been published in eight books in Singapore and internationally, and in many art magazines.
Acquired directly from the artist