Johor ceramic artist

Datin Ong Kid Ching with a giant poster
for her exhibition held at MAD Singapore
The solo exhibition of ceramic artist, Datin Ong Kid Ching entitled, “Made in Heaven” now on until May 31 at the Museum of Art & Design or MAD, Singapore, is dedicated to all mothers for Mother’s Day.  Ong, a mother of two, recalls the early years on how she would pursue her passion in art when her children were away in school and attributes her artistic skills to her late father who was an oil painter and also used to play the saxophone.  

Now with her ceramic art displayed in galleries and going into private collections, Ong has gained a reputation regionally as a unique artist who is both an Ikebana master and an accomplished ceramic artist.

Johor Baru-based Ong is no stranger to the Ikebana community in this region as she is a charter member and Past President of the Ikebana International Johor Baru Chapter 235 as well as the President of the Ohara School of Ikebana, Singapore Chapter.  From a young age, Ong enjoyed painting in water-colours and oil paints and she later developed an interest in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement which has several schools of Ikebana that follow a particular set of rules and arrangement techniques like the schools for Ikenobo, Ohara, Sogetsu, Koryu and Ichiyo.  With more than 30 years as an Ikebana practitioner, Ong holds the prestigious Komon (Advisory Grade) in the Sogetsu school of Ikebana in Japan and is the Third Master in the Ohara school of Ikebana.

Entrance to the Museum of Art & Design where the
exhibition is on now till May 31
Her love for Ikebana led her to study ceramic art and in 1995 she started taking lessons with award-winning Singaporean potter, Lim Hua Choon.  By 2001 Ong was able to share her gift in ceramic art with her first solo exhibition held in Singapore followed by more solo exhibitions both in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and often at Ikebana events worldwide. 
In 2003, she was sponsored by the National Art Gallery of Malaysia and invited to participate in the International Ceramic Workshop in Tokoname, one of Japan’s six heritage towns renowned for pottery in Japan.  Her works from this workshop were subsequently displayed in the Ceramic Museum of Tokoname and also featured in the permanent collection of the National Art Gallery of Malaysia.

Guest of Honour the High Commissioner of Malaysia to
Singapore H E Dato' Husni Zai Yaacob [Right] receiving
a ceramic souvenir made by the artist, Datin Ong [Left]
at her solo exhibition entitled, "Made in Heaven"
“This exhibition, “Made in Heaven” describes the marriage of Ikebana with ceramic art,” said Ong to clarify the true meaning of the exhibition’s title.  She explained that her interest in creating ceramic art was sparked when she failed to find the right vase for her Ikebana arrangements and decided to make vessels of her own. 
It seemed natural for her to move into handling heavy clay and forging it in flames to create ceramic works of art that would perfectly complement what she has in mind for her delicate Ikebana arrangements.

Ikebana arrangements from a live demonstration by
three collectors of Datin Ong's ceramic art, using their
favourite vessel from their own collections

On May 12, “Made in Heaven” was declared open in an event graced by Guest of Honour, the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore, His Excellency Dato’ Husni Zai Yaacob. 
Attended by some 200 guests, the event highlight was an Ikebana demonstration by Datin Susan Lai from Kuala Lumpur, Anna Kwan from Indonesia and Viola Yong from Singapore using three ceramic vessels made by Ong.  For the first time, guests at an exhibition in MAD Museum of Art & Design witnessed an Ikebana demonstration that brought out the beauty of the exhibiting artist’s ceramic which exquisitely matched the floral arrangements.

A creative display by MAD to show guests how Ong's
ceramic art can enhance your home décor
Ong describes her artistic expressions in ceramic work as incongruous with her personality because people are often surprised that she is the artist who created vessels in such abstract shapes, forms, colours and textures. 
This is understandable because Ong is an elegant, statuesque lady while her works of art are hand-built irregular forms in unusual textures that are often covered in matte glazes.  Spurred on by the success of “Made in Heaven,” Ong is inspired to continue creating more vessels for Ikebana made new materials like clay mixed with acrylic, wood or metal.

“Made in Heaven” by Datin Ong Kid Ching is on now till May 31 at MAD Museum of Art & Design, 333-A Orchard Road, #03-01 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238897.  Tel: +65 – 6734 5688.  Website:

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Streets Johor on 21 May 2014

Datin Ong and her gift to me!

I'm so blessed because Datin Ong Kid Ching, graciously presented me with a piece of her ceramic art! 

When she handed me a black carrier bag with MAD printed on one side, I can feel a solid piece inside and carefully set it down.  She told me its a piece from her collection which a collector had already bought 10 pieces and this one is specially for me!  Thanks!!

I'm a proud owner of an Ong Kid Ching ceramic art - presented by none other than the artist herself!  Wow!

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