A child beams with laughter. A father reflects – as he ponders the future, with hope. Grandparents glow with pride. These are just a few of the precious moments that are woven into the fabric of our lives. And Bruneian artist HuiFong Ng captures these rich human emotions with a delicacy and depth of understanding that touches your soul.
Huifong’s portraitures have the power to reawaken your deepest memories, bringing them suddenly back to life. You remember old friends, good times and simple pleasures. Her detailed style of drawing and painting captures the essence of each of her subjects. Their “eyes” draw you in with an honesty that you cannot resist. And each face tells its own story. Stories that are as old as time itself, of innocence, love, freedom and gratitude. And it is the gratitude which this artist feels for every small detail of her own life that is so clearly reflected in her work.
In 2014 Huifong held her first exhibition in Singapore. It took her three years to build her portfolio for this event and she was humbled by the positive reactions which her work received from the viewers. This year she is set to unveil her collection in Europe. Her work will initially be exhibited in Umbria and later on in Rome. Huifong says that she’s now “Ready to conquer the unknown. To learn more; to interact, engage and listen to others in her field.” As an artist she believes that, “Art is universal. And if seen through the innocent eyes of children it has the ability to transcend divisions and to close gaps.”
As I listen to Huifong talk about her plans for the future, I hear the voice of a bright, confident young woman who is poised to reveal her unique gift to the world.But those who know her well, know that she has been through her own “dark night of the soul”. Years ago, this petite young woman with the bubbly smile was forced to stare into the face of loss, pain, and grief. It was during that period in her life that she returned to the sketches that she’d done as a child. Huifong remembers always being fascinated by faces and by what they reveal, “…that little curve of your lips when you smile, that twinkle in your eyes when you fall in love or that longing when you feel lonely and want to be embraced.” So for Huifong, reconnecting with art at one of the her lowest points in her life, helped her to heal and to emerge from darkness into the light. At first her drawings and oil paintings were a very solitary exercise which she only shared with close friends and family. But in 2011 she decided to throw caution to the wind and spent one month in New York doing an art course. This is where she did her first portrait. And encouraged by both the constructive criticism and positive response from her teacher and colleagues she worked with a relentless determination to try and accomplish her best work. She explained, “I was very tough on myself. I had invested a lot in this course and I had to accomplish something.” By the end of this course, Huifong had battled with, and conquered, her demons – she knew with great certainty that art was her chosen vocation. In 2013 she went to The Painting School of Montmiral in Southern France and it was here, inspired by her teacher Francis Pratt that she said, “I learnt to freely express my artistic expressions without attaching knowledge to the mind.” Smiling she said, “Having realised this, I felt liberated, confident and very happy!” Buoyed up by the love, understanding and support of her parents, art teacher, friends and family – Huifong had a renewed belief in herself and in what she’d chosen to do.
“Art is universal. And if seen through the innocent eyes of children it has the ability to transcend divisions and to close gaps.” – Huifong Ng
Now excited, contented and extremely grateful for all that she’s been through, Huifong believes, “everything happens for a reason so that you can discover more about yourself. I am truly grateful for everything around me. I accept that unexpected things will happen in life, but I am prepared to embrace everything. Painting has been part of my personal journey. I have honestly shared my experiences through my work. My earlier paintings are a bit darker in tone and subject and express my sadness at that time. However, my more recent paintings reveal a more optimistic person who appreciates the simplest joys in life.”
As well as being an artist, Huifong is also a writer and she has published a book entitled, “A Cup of Simplicity – Inspirations for a simpler life.” Huifong credits Mr. Andrew Chow for encouraging her to embark on this project, she said, “As my publicist Andrew has always believed in me as an artist and in my work.” And her poetry, like her art, is passionate and springs from a place of absolute sincerity. When asked about why she continues to paint, her response is simple, “Life is too short to be wasted on self- pity. ….Painting has become my sanctuary… I realise that I should not wait for the perfect moment to happen but rather, I need to create that perfect moment. This is why I paint.