Timeline

1904 Ng Po Wan was born in Taishan, Guandang, China.  In the 1800s many people from this area bravely explored new worlds, some going to North America and helping to build the National Railroad.

1914-1918 World War I

1926 It is with the Taishan sense of adventure that Ng Po Wan went to the School of Fine Arts at the University of Philippines.  He had a classic training with such classes as anatomy, sketching and draftsmanship.  His mentor was Fernando Amorsolo, who later became Philippines’ first National Artist.

A Filipino Girl, 63.5 x 48.5 cm, charcoal on paper, 1930, HK Museum of Art, Portrait (1190) [S102_30] 1930 A Filipino Girl, 63.5 x 48.5 cm, charcoal on paper, 1930, HK Museum of Art, Portrait (1190) [S102_30]

1932 Ng graduated from the University and tried staying in the Philippines but couldn’t find work.

1933 Ng moved back to Hong Kong and started the Hong Kong School of Art

1935 Esther, his future wife, enrolled in Ng’s school.  She and a girlfriend had taken a shortcut from their school and stumbled across Ng’s school.

Moon Cakes, 46 x 55 cm, oil on canvas, 1938, Still Life, (1003) [F601-38]

1938 Moon Cakes, 46 x 55 cm, oil on canvas, 1938, Still Life, (1003) [F601-38]

 

 

 

 

1939 Po Wan marries Esther and she became his biggest supporter, not only his moral and emotional support but also his financial support.  She managed the household and was also the principal organizer of Ng’s exhibitions.  She was fluent in Chinese and English.  She gave Ng her unwavering encouragement.   They had 5 children.

1939-1944 World War II

1941 The Japanese invaded Hong Kong.  The Ngs moved to Mainland China

1944 Ng lost most of his artwork mostly in a shipwreck.  The Ngs moved back to Hong Kong.

1947 Ng had his first one-man exhibition at St Francis Hotel in Hong Kong

At Chess, 73 x 92 cm, oil on canvas, 1949, Scenes, (183) [B56-49] 1949 At Chess, 73 x 92 cm, oil on canvas, 1949, Scenes, (183) [B56-49]

1949 “Exhibition of Recent Oil Paintings by Ng Po-wan” at St John’s Cathedral.  Sir Alexander Grantham, the Governor of Hong Kong officiated the exhibition.

1945- 1949 The Chinese Civil War: Although the war started before WWII, hostilities between the Nationalist Guomingdang and Chinese Communist Party were halted during the invasion of Japan.  Once WWII ended in 1945, the battle for control of China continued.  Many people fled from China to Hong Kong but finding not enough housing, squatter camps started up,

1952 Fire at the Tung Tau squatter area caused thousands of people to go homeless.  Ng painted We’re to Struggle on as he was angry at the government’s inaction to bring relief.  Such social grievances were the subjects of many of his paintings.

We’re to Struggle on, 92 x 73 cm, oil on canvas, 1952, HK Museum of Art, Scenes (184), [B54-52]1952 We’re to Struggle on, 92 x 73 cm, oil on canvas, 1952, HK Museum of Art, Scenes (184), [B54-52]

 

 

 

 

1951-1957 We see Ng’s style start to change.  He experimented with paler colours and his palette became brighter.

1956 – 1957 Ng was invited by the Guangzhou Artists Association to participate in an exhibition at the Cultural Park of Guangzhou in China.  The exhibition was well received.  He was dubbed a patriotic artist and was subsequently invited to China on several occasions to conduct painting tours and exhibitions

1964 – 1966 Ng taught at Ying Wah College.  He taught basic techniques and theory and then encouraged his students to develop their own individual style

Huangshan at Dusk, 106.5 x 142 cm, oil on canvas, 1966, Landscapes (502) [A101-66] 1966 Huangshan at Dusk, 106.5 x 142 cm, oil on canvas, 1966, Landscapes (502) [A101-66]

1968 Ng toured and painted in Canada, the United States and Japan.  He had an exhibition at the Dutch Galleries, Vancouver, “The Two Worlds of Po-wan Ng”

An Old Temple at Tai Shan,  66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1973, Private Collection, Landscapes (511) [D1145-73]1973 An Old Temple at Tai Shan,  66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1973, Private Collection, Landscapes (511) [D1145-73]

 

 

 

1975 The Ngs immigrated to Canada.  In Calgary, he was appointed an instructor at the Calgary Sketch Club, where he also was a life member.  In Toronto he became a founding member of Artists 25, which would hold portrait and nude sessions on alternate days.  Ng would go three times a week almost without exception.

Lobsters, 66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1976, Still Life (1087) [D123-76] 1976 Lobsters, 66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1976, Still Life (1087) [D123-76]

1977 “China and Her Splendor” across Canada Tour starting at Hart House, U of T and going to City Hall, Ottawa; Luther College, U of Regina; Memorial Hall, U of New Brunswick and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax.  Ng went with the exhibition putting on painting demonstrations at each stop.

1979 Ng was offered a visiting professorship at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing but left the position because he felt like he was treated as a foreigner and was under surveillance by the undercover police.

A Vagabond Musician, 81 x 66 cm, oil on canvas, 1984, HK Museum of Art, Portrait (83) [D105-84]1984 A Vagabond Musician, 81 x 66 cm, oil on canvas, 1984, HK Museum of Art, Portrait (83) [D105-84]

 

 

 

 

1985 “Recent Works of Po-Wan Ng” at Guilin Gallery, Toronto – officiated by Mr Xia Zhongcheng, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto

1990 “Sceneries of Canada” at Sing Tao Gallery, Toronto – officiated by the Hon. Michael Wilson, Minster of Finance of Canada

Yellow Day Lilies, 81 x 66cm, oil on canvas, 1991, Still Life (1122) [D525-91] 1991 Yellow Day Lilies, 81 x 66cm, oil on canvas, 1991, Still Life (1122) [D525-91]

1993 Esther died in Calgary, Alberta

Glacier Lake Reflections near Jasper, 66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1994, Landscapes (525) [D611-94]1994 Glacier Lake Reflections near Jasper, 66 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, 1994, Landscapes (525) [D611-94]

 

 

 

1998 Ng never stopped learning or trying to improve his painting.  He finally had to put down his brush when he was 94 and could no longer paint.

2001 Po Wan Ng died at the age of 97 in Calgary, Alberta