Chen Wen Hsi
Oil on canvas
112.6 x 85.2 cm
The Ferry is based on Chen Wen Hsi's encounter with a boatman in Bali and reveals the artist's fascination with the island's decorated fishing vessels. Using expressive brush strokes and dynamic composition, Chen pays attention to the details of the human figure and his clothing. This is one of Chen's significant early works that incorporates regional motifs, such as the boatman's headdress and sarong.
Born in Guangdong Province, China, Chen Wen Hsi (1906-1991) settled in Singapore in 1949 and taught at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts during the 1950s. Chen was instrumental in the development of the Nanyang Style and is recognised as a pioneer artist of Singapore alongside Chen Chong Swee, Georgette Chen, Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang. He had a great influence on Chinese-brush painting in Singapore; although he painted mainly in Chinese brush, he often ventured into a cubist style, using both oil and ink. An ardent student of nature, Chen is best known for his paintings of gibbons and other animals.
Collection of National Gallery Singapore.
Image courtesy of National Heritage Board.