The Spirit of Nature

Introduction text by Della Butcher

Introduction extracted from an Exhibition Catalogue "The Spirit of Nature by Prabhakara", an exhibition of paintings. 16-31 May 1990.


Image Jimmy Quek had polio at the age of 3. The slight limp that is left is almost imperceptible, but it would appear that the effect the restriction caused in his early years channelled this sensitive boy in a direction which may not otherwise have happened.

At the age of 8, he began to excel in art and was taken by his cousin, Low Pua Hwa (a fine watercolor artist) to an exhibition of paintings. He was so impressed, that without really knowing at the time, he was directed towards painting by a compelling need which has been with him ever since.

Gaining A1 results in art, he became Chairman of his school Art Image Society and at 16 won an award in the Art Festival for Youth. A year later he joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art to leave after only a few months to take up Business Studies at the Ngee Ann Technical College.

Working in an administrative capacity for three years he then joined a design company as an accounts executive, then design manager, after which he ran his own design company which flourished for four years.

However, the need for a more fulfilling expression was his striving waking motivation and at the age of 29 he joined La Salle where he was immediately accepted into the second year of a three-year course. He is now a winner of six awards, the most important being first prize of the IBM Art Award in 1988.

Image He has paintings in the the private collections of statesmen, diplomats, a king, a ruler, a sultan, in the National Museum, International companies and in the homes of art lovers throughout the world.

At his first solo exhibition in 1987 Jimmy Quek (Prabhakara) made this statement "It is important to be prepared to change - to free the mind each time - not to attach too much importance to previous ideas". Those of us who knew him then will be aware that he has followed his belief.

Here we have indeed an exhibition of "The Spirit of Nature". Jimmy has experimented with shades of light and colour evoking the dreamlike quality in many of his works and reality in others, this reality being related to the abstract.

Jimmy does not limit himself to one style, yet his paintings are Image unmistakably and distinctly his own. He invades the sensitivities of the viewer with a provocative combination of movement and vivacity of colour and lights, creating a superb mixture of poetic images, evoking a deep satisfaction, be it excitement or tranquillity.

The collection of paintings can be likened to a lesson. The viewer is also the participant and becomes enlightened to the myriad colour which exist in nature - the purple and pink of twilight, deep, almost sinister darkness of ravines in mountain ranges - light water reflections - the bright sparkling power of sunlight - colours of which we would previously be unaware. The changing transience of movement of water, evaporating mists and a million other things of natural beauty which are interpreted by delicate impressionism of powerful statements.

Jimmy signs his paintings "Prabhakara" which is his Sanskrit name, the interpretation of which means "Source of Light", and we have here more than 40 pieces of that source of light in the Spirit of Nature.