Born in Guangdong Province, China, Chen Chong Swee (1910-1985) came to Singapore in 1931 shortly after graduating from Xinhua Academy of Art, Shanghai. He co-founded the Salon Art Society (now the Singapore Society of Chinese Artists) in 1935 and was a teacher with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts for over 20 years. In 1952, Chen, together with fellow artists Chen Wen Hsi, Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang, went on what would eventually turn out be a historically significant trip to Bali, Indonesia in search of new inspiration and topic. As one of the first artists instrumental in developing the Nanyang Style, Chen pioneered attempts to interpret local landscapes according to the Chinese concept of pictorial composition with Western watercolour techniques. 'Ice Kachang Vendor' depicts a very common sight of a street vendor of a local sweet ice snack which is no longer seen today due to Singapore'�s changing urban landscape. This work is an example of Chen's attempt at incorporating Southeast Asian subject matter in traditional Chinese ink painting � the character and technique of Chinese ink painting is especially evident in the treatment of the large tree and its leaves.


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