This is the simplest, most direct
proclamation of my love for my country.

Guo (国)

  • 2008
  • 1830 x 970 mm
  • Chinese ink on paper

The single-word calligraphy guo, country, is often written by Lim Tze Peng. He was born here, went to school here, met his wife here, and raised his family here. The term in Chinese includes a second character, that of home, jia. A country is guojia. The artist’s penchant for writing the word guo reveals his love of his homeland.

This character guo was written on the floor with a broom-size brush. He has written it on several occasions before but this, however, is his best effort to date. It comes closest to achieving what he desires to see in the word. The 183 by 97cm work was completed in 2008, exhibited at the Art Retreat Museum and subsequently in Beijing and Shanghai in 2009.

"This is the simplest, most direct proclamation of my love for my country," the artist says. The calligraphy has the simplicity and strength of good Chinese calligraphy. It is full-bodied, and the bones, muscles, and flesh of the strokes are laid out on show. Although written in long form, the character has the economy of strokes that resembles the simplified guo. The outer boundary of the character has been executed with a semi-dry brush, and the ink breaks as if to show how tough and arduous it is to hold a country together. It is the inside that the calligrapher gives a fuller ink treatment, as if to say that what happens inside a country has the utmost priority. For this calligraphy, the energy stirs from within.