Acclaim for young at art
November 28, 2010
Brushing up ... Jacquelyn Ngo painting at home. Photo: Lee Besford
JACQUELYN NGO would prefer to keep her paintings, but the six-year-old's artwork could sell for thousands of dollars when her Through Young Eyes exhibition opens this week.
''I'd imagine early hundreds for her small works to the early thousands for the larger ones,'' said Steven Alderton, the director of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
The Liverpool City Council's gallery will host an exhibition of 30 of the young master's oil paintings in its new Kids' Gallery to be opened by mayor Wendy Waller.
Some of Ngo's artworks. Photo: Lee Besford
Mr Alderton came across Jacquelyn's artwork a few months ago when she won the children's category of the Liverpool City Art Prize.
''She has a very fresh painterly ability,'' he said.
''It's light and bright and energetic and you can feel that youngness in the canvas.''
He admitted he was initially sceptical that the paintings could be created by an artist so young, so he sent a colleague to watch Jacquelyn paint for 2½ hours.
''She was crying she was so amazed at the young girl's talent,'' Mr Alderton said.
Jacquelyn is not the first child artist to be exhibited.
In 2008 Melbourne's Brunswick Street Gallery unknowingly agreed to exhibit the paintings of Aelita Andre, then aged 22 months, as part of a group show. When gallery director Mark Jamieson discovered her age, he said:
''I was shocked and, to be honest, a little embarrassed.''
But he decided to proceed with the exhibition.
Mr Alderton said he had no problem with giving gallery space to an artist so young.
''Some people have natural talent,'' he said. ''Mozart at a young age knew what to do with the keys on a piano. Darren Lockyer knew what to do with a rugby ball in his hand. Some people clearly have inherent talent.''
Jacquelyn's aunt Thu Ngo said the family had noticed her talent when she was three. ''She started drawing this and that,'' she said. ''Her sketches were quite good, so we thought maybe we should do something about it.''
Jacquelyn, who also plays piano, was mentored by artist Trong Nhon Do, but the inspiration for her paintings is all her own. ''I paint everything,'' she said. ''I paint people and animals and landscapes.''
Asked if she wanted to become an artist, Jacquelyn said: ''I think so.''
Mr Alderton believes Jacquelyn has a promising career ahead of her and could be a future winner of the Archibald or Moran Prize.
''Absolutely. She's very talented. I might ring Edmund [Capon, director of the Art Gallery of NSW] up and see if we can get her entered.''