Tragic of Yellow Skin

Tan Chin Kuan1990

National Heritage Board, Singapore

National Heritage Board, Singapore

Tan Chin Kuan (1966) was born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and was awarded a scholarship to study in the Malaysian Institute of Art at Kuala Lumpur, in 1985. He graduated with a diploma in Fine Art in 1987, and began teaching at Saito Academy of Graphic Design at Kuala Lumpur in 1989. Tan's early involvement in creative drawing started in 1982. He has written poetry, novels, songs and critiques for newspapers and periodicals. Tan'�s works discuss issues and concerns with regards to ethnicity, usually highly charged with angst and emotion. Belonging to a non-indigenous ethnic group in Malaysia, Tan often expresses his frustration of the state of race relations through his works. Like his other works, Tan isolates the �Chinese-ness� of his ancestry as an entry point in �'Tragic of the Yellow Skin�'. Against checkered background, a shower of yellow pours onto the figure as he walks while motifs such as broken ladder, shadowy figures and skull and the defiant text �"because I am dragon, so my son you must��" are placed randomly on the canvas. All these are intended to have an impact on the viewer visually and even to shock the viewer as they attempt to make sense of the work, where the interpretation is not meant to be singular.

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