A Handshake in Thought


Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

A public education exhibit, 2009
Prints of artist’s paintings, artist’s writings, science quips, The Bedroom corner set from recycled 60-year old antique farmhouse, fake sunflowers in wooden pots


Just like the film, VAN GOGH: Brush with Genius, we hope to bring our contemporary audience some of van Gogh’s insights that we find astoundingly relevant despite nearly 120 years after his passing. The artist’s writings are excerpts from his letters* to his beloved brother and art patron, Theo.

van Gogh consistently signed off all his letters, sometimes just “with a handshake”; other times with “a hearty handshake in thought”, and occasionally, he adds: “and, believe me.” He always ends with, “Yours, Vincent.” Poignantly, this was notably absent in his last letter. When you read his letters, you can’t help but get this sense that he was writing beyond Theo; one senses he was, in fact, addressing the future generations – us! Van Gogh speaks directly to us even now through his paintings, drawings, writings and indeed, his life. We hope you may be inspired to return his extended handshake and hold it in your thoughts as you begin your exploration of a grand Master’s incredible journey where art and life was simply inseparable.


*Through the Letters of Vincent van Gogh edited by Mark Roskill, Touchstone, Nov 2008 paperback edition.

This exhibition was commissioned and heartily supported by the Singapore Science Centre.

The Wriggled


I posted this doodle in 2011, without a commentary, in one of those days that we are at a loss for words, where we are painfully wondering: what happened to that dream? And where we are truthfully discovering – we don’t have an answer. And then 4 years later, we find ourselves saying, “OK, I was wriggling. I took a walk in the woods. Now, I am ready to re-begin. Let’s get to work. I just needed some time to regain my clarity and intent.”

Peng-Ean Khoo
charKOL Pte Ltd
May 18, 2015

The Children’s Stand for World Down Syndrome Day 2011


The Children’s Stand

A community art installation
5 threads of ideas, a space, mixed media, participants – woven by children
Multiple dimension
for World Down Syndrome Day 2011

The Children’s Stand is, first and foremost, a concept – an idea. Rather, it is a tapestry of ideas or the explorations and juxtapositions thereof.

The first idea is that children have rights to their existence simply as children, and so we empower children by allowing an environment that is planned, designed, constructed, and operated by children. We respect their self-expression and motivations and desires for certain forms or intentions. We cannot make judgments until we’ve sought clarification from children. We receive their contributions and inputs, and incorporate their insights into our daily lives and occupations though we may not share a common articulation. We do not make them a model of ourselves; there is not much fun for children if they came into the world just to fit into our “old (& typically tired and stifling) clothes” and are expected to navigate the world with our “old eyes”, typically tainted with prejudices, obsolete knowledge and distortions.  There is this idea of true co-existences of mutual respect and value.

The second idea is to explore exchanges that involve money – a simple barter system of trading goods and services that had evolved into one needing an intermediary made of paper or mint called ‘money’ and how an intermediary changes everything, or not. There is also another form of exchange, which is not for the purposes of trade, known as gifting. How does gifting fit in within the larger system of exchange involving money? As this art installation is a community event, what then is the context of the economic activity.

The third idea is art, specifically the idea that art is in everyday living. If one were to look very closely and has the right kind of frames or boxes, one is truly endowed with life’s treasures. Alas, one also begins to realise, much of art is temporal or ephemeral and mostly, elusive. One chooses either to grip an artful life with claws defying death or one chooses simply, to dance, in and with life.

The fourth idea is about the quality of inclusion of trisomy 21, or commonly known as Down syndrome, in our lives. The extra wriggly chromosome 21 has been endowed by nature upon several individuals, our families, and our society at large. Who are these individuals and families, what is the impact, why the denial and fear, where is the prejudice from, and when is meaningful inclusion going to begin? And how can individuals with trisomy 21 truly be honoured, abled and valued as contributing members of the human race?

Last, but certainly not least, is moral intelligence. The key idea is that it does not suffice that moral intelligence remains an idea; to be truly morally intelligent, one needs to live with integrity at any given moment.  Moral intelligence, I’ve recently re-learned, is not just about knowing what is right and wrong, but having the moral courage to care enough and daring enough to stand and act, for and out of, love. So perhaps the final idea, is not really about intelligence or morality in the high cerebral sense, but simply, about weaving in love, in whatever manifestations or forms, in our lives and everyday living.

I didn’t make up any of the above ideas. I merely selected several contemporary ideas that I find particularly intriguing and just pulled them out as one or two or indeed five colourful threads for closer examination, by children, and through children, for everyone. Perhaps some of these examinations will inspire some of you to also ponder this tapestry or some of these individual threads of ideas, and apply the meaningful, relevant and responsible, with wit, heart and love, into action and in your everyday living and work.

And so this tapestry of ideas then becomes the backdrop for this installation, which is a community art installation (as you become art when you enter this space), and also forms the basic governing principles of conduct for those who enter this space, an art space, which is a living space of dynamic and respectful inquiry of co-existences. May we continue to treasure, value, and serve diversity and inclusion, in gratitude and respect for the many wonders and surprises of nature, in providing us with life and in supporting us with unceasing personal and collective growth through diverse abundance.

Peng-Ean Khoo (41)
January 29, 2011
for World Down Syndrome Day – Mar 21

Children with Down syndrome:

Maia Lim (4)
Keith Cham (4)
Marie Lim (5)
Carolyn Tan (11)
Allan Chai (12)

Siblings, cousins and friends:

Jayden Khoo (4)
Nicholas Khoo (7)
Beth Cham (8)
Katharine Ann Lim (11)
Matthew Khoo (13)


4D3N Art In Nature June Holiday Programme in the Highlands

ART in NATURE – a first charKOL@Moonriver art programme

For learners of all Ages
Fee: S$500 (All Inclusive :Food, Transport & Accommodation)
Date: Thurs 24 June to Mon 28 June, 2009
Duration: 4 Days 3 Nights

Moonriver Lodge (www.moonriverlodge.com)
Sigar Highlands, Lojing, Kelantan, Malaysia
(10 Mins from Cameron Highlands)

For over 70,000 years, human beings have been engaged with the environment and the land artistically.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s, artsists moved art outdoors from the galleries to engage the environment. Today, land artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Wolfgang Laib have moved Land Art into the gallery using materials from the environment to transform the interior space.
As an underexposed contemporary art form in Singapore,  Land Art is an intriguing way to engage with nature and the public.  Singaporeans identify with the urban landscape,  as such, we will work towards stepping out of our comfort zones with materials such as water and light, earth, sand, grass and other natural or found materials.
Our aim is to invite ourselves and viewers of the artworks created to slowdown and contemplate the beauty and mystery of nature. Participants will learn how they can explore concepts through the use of natural materials.  We hope to provide an  experience of life by seeing and exploring the natural forces of the world and its multitude of connections and to more fully integrate that consciousness into our lives.

Twardzik Ching Chorleng, Singapore
Twardzik Ching Chorleng is an artist and arts educator whose practice centres around land art and interactive public art.  Recently nominated as an up and coming artist in Singapore in the Presidents Young Talent award 2009, she is one of the notable contemporary artist in South East Asia. She has exhibited extensively in group and solo exhibitions throughout Canada and Singapore and is a regular recipient of meritorious awards and scholarships including Hanna Kristmanson Ceramic Scholarship and the Ceramics Canada Award. Leng’s work is included in numerous public and corporate collections in Singapore and abroad. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from University of Regina, Canada, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and a Diploma in Ceramic Arts from Alberta College of Art and Design, Canada. She is currently an active artist and full-time lecturer in the art department of the National Institute for Education at NTU and has an upcoming project at The National Museum of Singapore.

Vincent Twardzik Ching, Canada
Born in Canada, Vincent Twardzik Ching completed his  Bachelor of Fine Arts specialising in Drawing from the University of Regina, Canada in 1998 and has lived and worked in Taiwan and Singapore as an Artist and Art Instructor  for the past decade. Vincent has exhibited in Canada and Singapore including Plum Blossoms Gallery, Sculpture Square, Wetterling Teo Gallery,The Office Gallery,The Substation Gallery and most recently Charkol Art Gallery. Recipient of an Honourable Mention in the prestigious Phillip Morris Asean Art Awards in Singapore 2001/2002 he is currently a full-time artist and art Instructor at the Little arts Academy and a part -time lecturer for NTUC Seed Institute and Wheelock College in their early Childhood Development programmes.


Registration is now open. Early bird discount of 10% is applicable for those who register before May 28, 2010.
Email: moonriver@charkol.com for registration form

Please click the document for more info on itinerary and lodge.

Art in Nature[1]