Chua Mia Tee
Epic Poem of Malaya
Oil on canvas
112 x 153 cm
In Singapore's turbulent post-war years, developing a "Malayan culture" was seen as a way to unite society and gain independence from colonial rule. In this painting, a man reads to his transfixed audience while a storm gathers—or clears. Bringing art to the people and using art to change society were ideals shared by many young artists like Chua Mia Tee during that period.
Born in Guangdong Province, China in 1931, Chua Mia Tee immigrated to Singapore in 1937 and graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1957. Chua is a highly regarded master of portrait painting and has painted prominent public figures including presidents and prime ministers of Singapore. Chua is also known for painting nationalistic and local scenes of Singapore, which serve as historical documents of the nation’s changing landscape.
Collection of National Gallery Singapore.
Image courtesy of National Heritage Board.