One of Hazelen Goh’s earliest childhood memories is creating art with her father, the artist Goh Beng Kwan. She remembers cycling with him through the Outram neighborhood to his studio, where she mixed paints and created her own artwork, while he painted away. Sometimes she even acted as his muse.
A recipient of a Cultural Medallion for fine arts and one of Singapore’s pioneers of modern art, the elder Goh has occasionally even sneaked bits of his daughter’s art into his own work. For example, he included her clippings in his mixed media piece Dotting The Eye from 1991, which is now part of the collection of the National Gallery Singapore.
Decades later, Hazelen is back in her father’s studio, but things have changed. Since the 2020 pandemic, she has taken a more active role in helping her father preserve his legacy by helping him archive and catalog his body of work. Last year she left her financial job to set up the platform ArtAF (short for Art Affairs), supporting Goh’s work and bringing him into contact with younger art lovers.
“My father used to ask me to hold up his art while he photographed it with a film camera. Now he holds up his paintings for me to shoot with a digital camera for archival purposes,” she said with a laugh.