Thomas Yeo is a prominent Singapore second-generation artist. A 1984 Cultural Medallion recipient, Yeo has been an artist for almost 60 years since his first solo exhibition at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1960. Yeo was educated at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Chelsea School of Art (now Chelsea College of Art and Design) and Hammersmith College of Art and Building, where he held his First overseas solo show at the Cathay Gallery, London, in 1963. During his course at NAFA, he studied under pioneer painters such as Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng.
After graduating from the academy in 1960, Yeo spent the past year painting every weekend, building up a collection of about 60 paintings. He decided to hold an exhibition to try and sell these paintings, and this exhibition was opened by the then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye, and the publicity enabled around 50 of Yeo’s paintings to be sold within three days. On the last day of the exhibition, an English tourist bought up the rest of the unsold paintings.
From 1973 to 1977, he held solo exhibitions in Singapore and Australia. Yeo won second prize in the UOB Painting of the Year 1983 competition in Singapore which recognises top talent in the region. His modern works have been described as “highly imaginative landscapes of the unconscious mind.” Yeo is also an active supporter of Singapore and Southeast Asian art, and has served as chairman of the Shell Discovery Art Awards and president of the Modern Art Society, Singapore.