Chen Chong Swee

Nov 6, 1910 - Feb 15, 1985

Chen Chong Swee was a Singaporean watercolourist belonging to the pioneer generation of artists espousing the Nanyang-styled painting unique to Singapore, at the turn of the 20th century. He was also one of the first artists in Singapore to use Chinese ink painting techniques to render scenery and figurative paintings of local and Southeast Asian themes.
Born in Swatow, Chen attended school at the Union High School in Swatow, China and graduated in 1929. He attended and graduated from Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts in 1931, and arrived in Singapore that same year. He taught art at various secondary schools, before becoming a lecturer of the Chinese ink painting department at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He advocated tradition in his Chinese ink painting style.
Chen's training in Xinhua firmly grounded him in traditional principles of Chinese painting. This also includes his inclination towards the ancient Chinese tradition of painting as "idea writing", using inscriptions to fortify the meanings of the paintings.
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