Born in China, Chua Mia Tee (1931) migrated to Singapore in 1937. A graduate from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1957, Chua is a highly regarded master of portrait painting. Chua has painted portraitures of prominent public figures, including presidents and prime ministers of Singapore. Besides portraitures, Chua also paints nationalistic and local scenes of Singapore, which serve as historical documentations of the nation's changing landscape.� 'Portable Cinema' was composed from Chua's memories of his childhood growing up in Chinatown. The portable cinema depicted here is a type of popular propaganda equipment used during the Japanese Occupation, from 1942-45. By the time the painting was executed, these equipments were already obsolete. Here, the eagerness of the children, illustrated through their body postures, forms a stark contrast with the nonchalant vendor, reading a book as he manned the machine. In the background, Chua captured views of the disappeared streets scenes such as the low hanging canvas of a makeshift extension from the shophouse, as the nation's programme of urbanization changed the landscape.


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