Yu Ben was born in Taishan County, Guangdong province with the name Yu Jianben. At the mere age of 13, Yu Ben went to Canada alone to study under a work-study programme. He graduated from Ontario College of Art, Toronto in 1931. Then he moved to Hong Kong to continue the artistic works and training his students in 1935, had once pioneered the Western painting development there. In 1956, he was invited to move back to the mainland and settled down. His over thousand works spanned the half century from 1930s to 1980s, many of them were featured in art exhibitions domesticly and abroad.He served as a member of National People's Congress (NPC), National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China Federation Art Circles Publishing Corporation (CFLAC), Chinese Artists Association (CAA), Oversea Chinese Affairs Commission of Guangdong, vice chairman of CFLAC and CAA in Guangdong and vice president of Guangdong Painting Institute.