Having made a glittering name for himself as a songwriter, composer, playwright, pop singer, fashion guru and restaurateur, Dick Lee has plenty of laurels to rest on – but the 57-year-old isn’t showing any signs of stopping. This month, he reveals yet another talent to the world: visual art.
‘I’ve always sketched, even in my childhood, when I was drawing comic books, and later when I studied fashion at the Harrow School of Art,’ recalls Lee. ‘I am [merely] revisiting this part of myself after so many years and this makes it even more exciting. Nobody else, apart from my family and Galerie Belvedere, knew that I can sketch and paint.’
And it’s just as well that Rasina Rubin, the director of Galerie Belvedere, happened to see Lee’s private works at his house and suggested that he create more works and put together an art exhibition. It took him three years to get everything in order, but it’s finally coming together this month.
The resulting show, Imperfect Memories, consists of 24 works divided into two series – titled ‘Flower’ and ‘Flag’ – and revisits his childhood in the 1950s and ’60s. The former series is drawn from his recollections of fabric shops; his mother used to run a boutique and his ‘earliest memories were of her shop and the countless bales of marvellously coloured fabric at the shops we used to visit,’ as he says fondly. The latter explores the more political concept of nationhood ‘as Singapore morphed from a British colony to a Malaysian state to an independent country’.
And while this is the first time that we will get a glimpse into his paintings, it’s certainly not the last. ‘I have never pursued a career in [visual] art until now, [but] these are works I take seriously and I, of course, hope that the public will regard them as serious works [too]. It is my wish to continue painting,’ Lee reassures us. ‘In fact, Imperfect Memory is the first of a series of exhibitions that I will be staging with Galerie Belvedere.’ Watch this space!
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