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 to what would eventually turn out to be a historically significant trip to Bali, Indonesia, in search of new inspiration and topics. 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. The tropical island of Bali was to remain an important source of inspiration for Chen throughout his artistic career. This undated painting which offers a glimpse into the Balinese way of life, with two women pounding rice, is an example of Chen's attempt at depicting local subject matter in traditional Chinese ink painting style.


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