Gloria Keh, an artist based in Singapore, is very passionate about raising funds for charities through her art. Drawing her inspiration from Mother Nature, literature and poetry, Gloria finds freedom, contentment and inner peace through her art. Painting is a spiritual practice for Gloria, who particularly enjoys art journaling and creating mandalas. She was born in the Chinese astrological year of the dragon, the year being 1952. Her first teacher, was her late father, the oil painter, Martin Fu. Growing up with the smell of turpentine, Gloria began selling her artworks as a child, to supplement her pocket money. As an adult, she studied mandala art and symbolism in Melbourne, Australia, and undertook a short course in art therapy in Singapore.
In 2008, Gloria founded Circles of Love, an art-based, non-profit charity outreach program, using her art in the service of humanity. She has participated in 80 exhibitions/art fairs, both locally, as well as internationally. Her first overseas solo exhibition was held in Vienna, Austria, in January/February 2018, at the Gallery Steiner. In April 2018, her works were exhibited at the New York Art Expo, with the Gallery Steiner. In December 2019, Gloria exhibited and sold at Art Basel Red Dot Miami, with the Gallery Steiner. Her works are acquired by collectors in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, Russia and the USA. A member of the International Culture & Arts Federation (ICAF), Gloria was awarded the Andrea Mantegna International Prize Award in 2017, in conjunction with the Mantova Biennale of Contemporary Art, in Mantova, Italy. As of July 2020, Gloria had won 18 international art awards. For the next few years, she hopes to be able to take up art residencies, offering workshops for healing, through mandala art and art journaling. She also hopes to have another solo exhibition on just her larger canvases.
“Being an artist in this present time poses many challenges. But there are always two sides to any coin. I see my Art in The Time of Covid as not just an era of personal challenges but a period of growth and revelation. Yes, it broke me, but perhaps we need to realize our fragmentation before we can be in harmony with our wholeness again. Perhaps this time of inner confrontation was essential to strengthen one’s artistic expressions in the rite of passage.
The most wonderful thing about being an artist is that even though I have been painting since childhood, I still have this sense of awe whilst painting is in progress. In March 2022, I will be 70. No spring chicken chronologically, I still happily experience the thrill of a child when it comes to making art. I like trying new things, taking risks and going broke. I enjoy the element of surprise that inks and watercolors present to me, and am reminded of patience when working with oils. Over the years, I have formed great friendships with acrylics and mixed media and delight in experimenting with these disciplines. Collage is yet another weakness of mine.”
“I began selling my little artworks when I was about seven years old. My family was poor and peddling my art helped subsidize my pocket money. As an adult, I could not earn a decent living with art and worked as a journalist instead. There were bills to pay and I needed the security of a monthly paycheck. Yet art was always there at the back of my mind. When I turned 42, I retired from the commercial workforce and returned to art and painting. And in 2008, founded a non-profit charity outreach program Circles of Love, using my art in the service to humanity. From that year, all monies from the sales of my art have been donated entirely to charity. It was time to put back into the community; to do something to fulll my soul’s purpose.
Circles of Love grew steadily until the arrival of the pandemic when sales of artworks came to almost a standstill. More disappointments followed in the last two years: two well-known art establishments in the USA failed to live up to their commitments. Money was lost, and reality set in. To add to all that, my health took a downturn and if not for my faith in art and my daily art practice, I would have fallen to pieces. Today, I have learnt to embrace change and not to resist it. Change is the only certainty in this age when uncertainties seem to be the order of the day.”
“It has been said that everything happens for a reason: even Covid. The latter taught me endurance and the art of biting the bullet. Today, I am more confident than I have ever been in those so-called better pre-Covid times. Indeed, Covid has toughened me up. It has opened new avenues of creativity to me. I now create more Bookart and make more art with messages. I am bolder, braver and believe more in myself than I ever did before. Ironically, I have to say ‘Thank You Covid.’”