Chua Ek Kay
- Books, Exhibition Catalogues, and Personal Essays
- Newspaper Articles and Periodicals
- Audio-Visual Materials
- Accessing National Library Board Singapore Resources
Chua Ek Kay (1947–2008) was a Singaporean visual artist and a Cultural Medallion recipient for Visual Arts in 1999. Chua worked primarily with ink as a paint medium and his works both constituted and later departed from the Chinese ink painting tradition. His iconic works include Song of the Cicada (1995), Street Scene at Jalan Sultan (1997), After the Rain (2004), and Morning Breeze in Early Summer (2006).
Chua Ek Kay
Chua Ek Kay (Half-Length Portrait).
© Eric Foo Chee Meng, 1979–2001. All rights reserved.
Courtesy of the National Arts Council.
Retrieved from PictureSG.
Born in China in 1947 but raised in Singapore from the age of six following his family’s relocation in the early 1950s, Chua was first introduced to Chinese aesthetics when he began learning Chinese calligraphy from his father at seven years old. He subsequently studied Chinese ink painting under Fan Chang Tien, a maestro whose artistic inclinations were resolutely that of the Shanghai School’s, in 1975 until Fan’s death in 1987. While Chua began teaching Chinese calligraphy and ink painting at the National University of Singapore’s now-defunct Extramural Studies Department in 1987, he did not, however, pursue a professional full-time career in fine art until the enthusiastic reception to his first solo exhibition, A Selection of Chua Ek Kay’s Chinese Brush Paintings, in 1988 ascertained the viability of such an option. Chua later enrolled in higher education to refine and further develop his craft—he graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Painting from LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore in 1990 and a Master of Arts (Honours) in Visual Arts from the University of Western Sydney, Australia in 1995.
Following the success of Chinese Brush Paintings, Chua has held multiple solo exhibitions, such as Street Scene by Chua Ek Kay at Art Affairs in 1990 and Duality & Tension at the National Museum Art Gallery in 1992, and participated in just as many group exhibitions. He was the grand prize winner at the 10th United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year competition in 1991—the first Chinese ink painter to do so; he received a Distinction Award at the same competition the year before. Chua also won the Philip Morris ASEAN Arts Award (Juror’s Choice) in 1998 and secured a National Arts Council scholarship for practicing artists in 1993. In 1999, he received the prestigious Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts.
Chua’s body of work is arguably most notable for its renovation of conventional Chinese ink principles in both form and content, as informed and imparted by his transnational/cosmopolitan impulses (evidenced in his multiple excursions to locations such as Australia, India, Nepal, and Indonesia): for instance, his works deploy more colour than dictated by Chinese ink tradition and his subject matter incorporates local material, as attested to by his Chinatown series. This could perhaps be apprehended as an endeavour to reframe the practice as a Singaporean aesthetic. That Chua is inspired by Western artists such as Picasso and Matisse counterbalances his training in Chinese art; his oeuvre consequently communicates a distinctive synthesis of Chinese and Euro-American artistic traditions.
Chua passed away in 2008 and is survived by his wife and his son. In 2015, the newly-opened National Gallery Singapore honoured Chua with a posthumous large-scale solo exhibition, entitled Chua Ek Kay: After the Rain (as derived from one of his most representative works dated 2004), that affirmed his enduring significance in local/regional artistic circles and the legacy he bequeathed to Singaporean fine art. Today, his works are located in both local and overseas collections such as the Singapore Art Museum, the National Gallery, and Merrill Lynch International.
|Search Terms||Call Number|
|The Arts: History, Biography||709|
|Painting & Paintings||750|
|Paintings: History, Biography||759|
Books, Exhibition Catalogues, and Personal Essays
(listed in alphabetical order)
- Chu, M. (2006). Chua Ek Kay @ Art Forum 2006. Singapore: Art Forum. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Companion exhibition catalogue to the similarly-titled exhibition featuring Chua’s works held at the Art Forum from 23 September 2006 to 10 October 2006. Prefaced by an essay by Chu, a revised incarnation of an earlier version (see entry below) that includes an evaluation of his Lotus Pond series in particular. Works mounted at the exhibition are reproduced in colour here.
- Chu, M. (2003). Understanding contemporary Southeast Asian art. Singapore: Art Forum. Call no.: RSING 709.59 CHU
Chu dedicates a chapter to Chua here, where she examines his artistic registers as shaped by his formal intercultural training, his aesthetic strategies, and his innovations in the Chinese ink painting tradition. 11 colour reproductions of Chua’s oeuvre and a photograph of the artist at work are included.
- Chua, E. K. (1995). The emergence of the Nanyang style and its role in the regionalism of ASEAN countries. Sydney: University of Western Sydney. Call no.: RCLOS 709.5957 CHU
Chua’s unpublished dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of his M.A. requirements at the University of Western Sydney locates the genesis and subsequently elaboration of the loosely-defined Singaporean Nanyang-style of painting and its significance in shoring up and imagining a regional identity at a time where the assertion of a national selfhood was imperative.
- Chua, E. K. (n.d.). The evolution of Chinese paintings in Singapore. Singapore: LaSalle College of the Arts.
Available at LaSalle’s Ngee Ann Kongsi Library; Call no.: S 700 CHU Chua’s unpublished Advanced Diploma dissertation, which examines and charts the development of Chinese art in Singapore.
- Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1998). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Raffles Editions. Call no.: RSING 700.95957 SIN
An innovative ekphrastic text that devises a convergence between Singaporean prose/poetry and fine art through a similar thematic concern with local spaces. Several of Chua’s works are reproduced here in full-page colour—Shop Houses (1992) is featured on p. 39 and appended to Margaret Chan’s “A whiff of nostalgia” under the chapter entitled “Tanjong Pagar” while Smith Street (1992) accompanies William Lim’s “Picturesque no more” in “Kreta Ayer.” A comprehensive biography on Chua, which lists his solo and group exhibitions and awards, is also included.
- Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1997). South East Asian art: A new spirit. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak. Call no.: RSING q709.59 SOU
Includes a concise introduction to Chua as a Singaporean artist, an artist’s statement, and a brief timeline of key events in his career such as major solo and group exhibitions; accompanied by colour reproductions of three of his works: Backyard of an Old Shop House (1988), Lotus Pond—Space of Stillness Beyond (1996), and Dream of Borobudur (1996).
- Kwok, K. C. (1996). Channels & confluences: A history of Singapore art. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum, National Heritage Board. Call no.: RSING 709.5957 KWO
Briefly references Chua as a member of a new faction of Singaporean ink painters who, in evincing a preference for regional/local subject material and an intercultural orientation, further the work of their spiritual forebears such as Chen Chong Swee. Chua’s Corner House (1988) is reproduced here in colour to endorse Kwok’s thesis.
- Lee, J. (Ed.). (2007). Chua Ek Kay: Singapore street scenes, evoking memories. Singapore: Singapore Management University. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Published to honour and celebrate Chua’s gift of 30 of his works to the Singapore Management University (SMU). Includes a series of essays charting Chua’s artistic development and trajectory, appraisals of his critical/aesthetic sensibilities, and his relation to a Chinese ink painting tradition transposed onto Singaporean soil. The SMU collection is reproduced in full colour here. Appended by a chronological timeline of Chua’s life and career.
- Low, S. W. (Ed.). (2015). Chua Ek Kay: After the rain [蔡逸溪: 雨后]. Singapore: National Gallery. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Bilingual text in English and Chinese (Simplified) published in conjunction to the similarly-titled exhibition held in honour of Chua at the National Gallery from 26 November 2015 to 3 May 2016. Five critical and art historical essays on Chua are included along with multiple full-colour plate reproductions of Chua’s oeuvre and a comprehensive biographical timeline of his life and artistic career.
- Nadarajan, G., Storer, R. & Tan, E. (2007). Contemporary art in Singapore. Singapore: Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. Call no. RSING 709.59570905 GUN
Nadarajan’s two-column write-up on Chua examines the diasporic registers of Chua’s art and its incisive appropriation of established artistic traditions, such as the erstwhile unrealized liberal deployment of colour in Chinese brush painting. A short timeline is included along with full-page colour reproductions of Chua’s Song of the Cicada (1995) and A Distant Landscape (2002), which give force to Nadarajan’s thesis.
- National Arts Council. (2001). Histories identities technologies spaces: Singapore art today. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING q759.95957 HIS
Exhibition catalogue for the Nokia Singapore Art 2001 show, where several of Chua’s works were showcased. Chua is noted here as an experimental and innovative artist recalibrating the possibilities of Chinese ink painting, as evidenced in his Street Scenes and Borobudur series of works. Also includes a personal essay by Chua entitled “Chinese ink painting in Singapore: The challenges in the 21st century.”
- National Museum Singapore. (1993). Journey of ink: National Museum Art Gallery, 26 May–18 July 1993. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 JOU
Catalogue for a National Museum-organised exhibition featuring Chinese ink paintings by local artists. Some of Chua’s works, including Corner House (1988), were selected for display, and accordingly reprinted in full colour here. The text is prefaced by an introductory essay on artistic developments and critical ventures in Chinese ink painting in Singapore jointly penned by Chua and Kwok Kian Chow.
- National Museum Singapore. (1991). Many in one: 25 years of art from Singapore. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 MAN
Exhibition catalogue for a traveling group exhibition that showed at the United States in 1991 organized by the National Museum Singapore and Meridian House International. Chua was one of the featured artists.
- National University of Singapore (NUS) Extramural Studies Department. (1988). A selection of Chua Ek Kay’s Chinese brush painting and calligraphy [蔡逸溪书画展作品选集]. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING Chinese 759.95957 CHU
Exhibition catalogue for Chua’s first solo exhibition, organized by NUS’s now-defunct Extramural Studies Department, which featured a selection of his ink paintings and calligraphic works, reproduced here.
- Ong, P. et al. (Eds). (2005). Yixi: Recent paintings of Chua Ek Kay. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum. Call no.: RSING Chinese 759.95957 CEK
Exhibition catalogue for Chua’s solo exhibition held at the Shanghai Art Museum. Works displayed are accordingly catalogued and reprinted in colour here; catalogue includes commissioned works for the exhibition, such as the Singapore Streets Scenes series.
- The Private Museum Limited. (2015). Influences and friendships: A Chua Ek Kay estate collection. Singapore: Author. Call no.: PublicationSG
Bilingual text (English and Simplified Chinese) published in conjunction with a Private Museum-hosted and -organised exhibition featuring the late Chua’s private collection, which consolidated works from prominent Chinese artists and his friends, to coincide with the celebration of Singapore’s 50th anniversary and National Day. Illustrations from the collection are included.
- The Private Museum Limited. (2011). Old campus revisited: A Chua Ek Kay collection of the Catholic High School (11 January–11 March 2012 @ The Private Museum). Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Commemorates the Catholic High School’s (CHS) receipt of 25 of Chua’s works (Chua was an old boy of the school), which coincided with the opening of the Private Museum, established at CHS’s former grounds at 222 Queens Street, and were thus showcased at the Museum’s opening. Included in this publication is Britta Erickson’s essay providing a short introduction on Chua and elaborating on his artistic direction and endeavours. The exhibited works, which constitute the Lotus Pond, Street Scene, and Traditional Chinese Ink series variously, are reprinted here in full colour, as are Chua’s prose and poetry that accompany several of the works in question.
- Purushothaman, V. (Ed.). (2002). Narratives: Notes on a cultural journey (Cultural Medallion recipients, 1979–2001). Singapore: National Arts Council. Call no.: RSING 700. 95957 NAR
Contains a brief but informative two-column biography on Chua and introduction to his artistic career and persuasions, such as the Buddhist dimensions undergirding his works. Includes a photograph of Chen as well as reproductions of three of ink artworks from the Singapore Art Museum and Merrill Lynch collections.
- Singapore Art Museum (1998). Fan Chang Tien: His art & passion [范昌乾遗作暨范门桃李]. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING Chinese 759.95957 FCT
Bilingual (English and Simplified Chinese) exhibition catalogue for an exhibition featuring works by Fan and his students such as Chua held at the Singapore Art Museum. Includes a curatorial essay by Chua that considers Fan’s formal aesthetics as well as their mentor-mentee relationship.
- Singapore Art Museum. (1999). Power and poetry: Monuments and meditations in Chinese contemporary ink painting. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 POW
Companion text to the 1999 group exhibition featuring Singaporean ink painters, including Chua, at the Singapore Art Museum. Bridget Tracy Tan’s curatorial introduction evaluates several of Chua’s displayed works—for instance, Tan identifies the formal complexity that shores up Chua’s Seagulls (1998) and the sense of harmony that Journey to a Snowy Mountain (1995) inspires. A short biography of Chua and his artist’s statement are included as well.
- Singapore Art Museum and National Art Museum of China (2006). Encounters: Southeast Asian Art in Singapore Art Museum Collection. Singapore; Beijing: Authors. Call no.: RSING 759.9590904 ENC
Bilingual (English and Chinese) exhibition catalogue produced to complement the traveling Encounters: Southeast Asian Art in Singapore Art Museum Collection exhibition that was held at the National Art Museum of China in 2006. Two of Chua’s works were showcased and are catalogued accordingly here in full colour, along with a brief introduction. Chua is also referenced to as a Singaporean artist who has renovated and reframed ink painting, long associated with (mainland) Chineseness, in Kwok Kian Chow’s opening curatorial essay.
- Singapore Art Society. (1989). Contemporary Singapore artists [新加坡美术家名鉴]. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 709.5957 CON
A bilingual artists’ directory published by the Singapore Art Society. Chua is listed under the “Chinese painting / Calligraphy / Seal carving” section along with a profile picture and a colour reproduction of an undated/untitled work.
- Singapore Tyler Print Institute. (2007). Along the river banks: Chua Ek Kay. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Published to commemorate Chua’s second residency at the Tyler Print Institute in 2007. Lindy Poh’s introductory essay charts the development of Chua’s artistic career before and in between his first residency in the early 2000s and his sophomore residency in 2007, including a programmatic shift in subject matter and further innovations to Chinese ink painting. Also included is a series of interviews with individuals who have collaborated with Chua. Chua’s paper pulps produced during his residency are reprinted in colour here.
- Singapore Tyler Print Institute. (2003). Being and becoming: Chua Ek Kay. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
Memorialises Chua’s first residency at the Tyler Print Institute under the Visiting Artists Programme, where Chua ventured into printmaking and produced six major prints and 30-odd hand-coloured pressed paper-pulp works by the close of his residency; the recurring motif and trope of Chua’s project undertaken at the Institute is that of “Being and becoming: The lotus series.” Chua’s painting and lithographic process is explicated at length, and his lithographs are reproduced in full-colour here.
- Singapore Tyler Print Institute. (2010). Re-visiting Chua Ek Kay: Tribute to the ink master, 5–20 March 2010. Singapore: Author. Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
A revisitation of the late Chua, who served two residencies at the Tyler Print Institute (see entries above), featuring tribute essays by Kwok Kian Chow and Lindy Poh that examine the refinement of his artistic sensibilities throughout his career, especially in relation to the Chinese brushwork tradition, as well as his work produced during his residencies in terms of his tropes, techniques, and formal approaches. Some 30-odd of his works dating from 1987 to 2002 are reprinted here in colour.
- Tan, B. T. & Ng, S. (2015). Lives of the artists, a Singapore story: The Cultural Medallion and visual arts, 1979–2015. Singapore: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Commissioned by the National Arts Council and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Communication, and Youth). Call no.: RSING 709.5957 TAN
A volume on Cultural Medallion awardees and a means to chart and take stock of Singapore’s cultural and artistic trajectory to date. Identifies Chua, recipient of the award in 1999, as an artist who integrates language and art and whose transnational orientation, which precipitated in study and research visits to China, Australia, and the like, informs his artistic approach, as evidenced in its syncretic overtones. Also featured in a brief explication of the Shanghai school of ink painting, of which he was formally/formerly trained in. Colour reproductions of several works such as Awaiting a Dragonfly (2002), Dunhuang (1981), and Still Life—Orchid 4 (1999) are included.
- Tan, S. Y. (2013). Art in transit: North East Line MRT—Singapore. Singapore: Land Transport Authority. Call no.: RSING q747.8531 TAN
Commemorates the series of art pieces and installations mounted at Northeast Line MRT stations upon its opening in 2003 devised to bring arts to the masses. Chua was one of the commissioned artists and was selected to furnish Clarke Quay station, and photographs of his ink-and-brush mural, including preliminary sketches and a few details, inspired by the Singapore River are featured here. The artist’s reflections, which illuminate the process from conceptualization to materialization, are likewise included.
- Wong, S. (Ed.). (1999). Crisp. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum. Call no.: RSING 709.5957 CRI
Exhibition catalogue for a group exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum in July and August 1999 featuring works by both local and overseas LASALLE-SIA artists, of which Chua was one. His Landscape in Ink (1999) was mounted; a colour reproduction of said work and a brief blurb on his education, selected group exhibitions, and awards are thus correspondingly reprinted in this text.
Newspaper Articles and Periodicals
(listed in alphabetical order)
- A river runs through it. (2013, June 8). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Interviews Chua on his Land Transport Authority-commissioned installation for Clarke Quay MRT station and introduces the installation itself.
- An hour @ the museum. (2012, February 10). The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Announces the opening of the Private Museum at the former grounds of the Catholic High School, inaugurated by an exhibition displaying 25 works by Chua. Provides brief captions to a selection of works mounted at the display.
- Art works donated to SMU. (2006, October 19). The Straits Times, p. H4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on Chua’s donation of 30 works, valued around S$300,000, to the Singapore Management University (SMU); this collection of works, which representations of Singaporean heritage provide a juxtaposition to the signs of modernity in which the university is located in, is on display at SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business.
- Cheah, U.H. (2013, March 8). A close, heartfelt look at the Singaporean artist. The Business Times (Singapore). Retrieved from Factiva.
Announces and elaborates on the directorial and creative process from which the Second Avenue Productions-produced documentary on Chua, Being and becoming Chua Ek Kay, emerged.
- Cheong, J. (2008, February 15). Farewell to ex-Cultural Medallion winner. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on Chua’s funeral at Mandai Crematorium attended by family, friends, and members of the art world, and a prospective memorial to be held 100 days after his passing. Recollects on his artistic achievements and centrality in informing and shaping the developing of Singaporean art.
- Chew, D. (2006, October 25). A brush with fame. Today (Singapore), p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Feature article that introduces Chua at length—his life, his relatively late professional artistic career, his aesthetic inclinations, and his opinions on the Singaporean art scene. Includes a succinct timeline of his life, career, and awards received as well.
- Chew, S. K. (1999, April 15). Different styles, strokes. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Broadcasts Power and Poetry, an ink painting exhibition of 62 works at the Singapore Art Museum featuring Singaporean ink painters from Chua to Zhuang Sheng Tao.
- Chow, C. (March 11, 2003). Legends of the four. The Straits Times, p. L7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Introduces the artists and curators for the President’s Young Talents exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum; Chua was recruited to be a curator.
- Chow, C. (2005, August 18). Going with the flow. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Provides a preview of Chua’s upcoming solo exhibition, Yixi: Recent Paintings of Chua Ek Kay, and the selected series of works to be displayed therein; the exhibition is co-organised by the Singapore Art Museum and hosted at the Shanghai Art Museum from 23 August 2005 to 4 September 2005. Identifies his transnational orientation in his life and work too.
- Chow, C. (2006, June 8). Theatre goes arty. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Briefly reports on and elaborates Chua’s set design for the Singapore Dance Theatre and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s dance-triple bill, Quest, performed at the Esplanade for the Singapore Arts Festival.
- Chow, C. (2006, December 7). Conversations in the twilight. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews Drawing Ground, a joint exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum featuring Chua and Indonesian artist Srihadi Soedarsono.
- Chua Ek Kay’s family donates paintings to National Art Gallery. (2010, January 10). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva.
Reports on the late Chua’s family’s donation of 38 of his works to the National Heritage Board and National Art Gallery for research and archival purposes. Includes quotes from his family members that recollect and confirm Chua’s belief that art should be accessible to the public.
- Dawra, P. (January 29, 2016). Art as a culture and also a market. Mint. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from Factiva.
Reports on the 2016 edition of Art Stage Singapore, the flagship art fair of Southeast Asia. STPI reports that all of its exhibited works by Chua found buyers.
- de Guzman, A. (2010, February 26). Around town. The Business Times (Singapore). Retrieved from Factiva.
In part advertises a tribute exhibition to the late Chua, Re-visiting Chua Ek Kay: Tribute to the Ink Master, organised and held at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, where he served two separate residencies.
- Eddino Abdul Hadi. (2008, February 10). S’pore ink artist Chua Ek Kay dies of cancer. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on Chua’s passing following a protracted battle with nasal cancer and concisely retrieves his life, career, and awards conferred. Includes colour photographs of the artist, his immediate family members at his wake, and two of his most iconic works.
- Four artists appointed to NAC. (2000, September 21). The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Announces the appointment of four artists as Council Members of the National Arts Council; Chua is amongst the four (the other three are Philip Jeyaretnam, Lim Yau, and Abdul Ghani Abdul Hamid).
- Huang, L. (2015, November 20). Nine works that set artists’ records at Christie’s Singapore art sale. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Reports that Chua’s Archipelago 1, 2, and 3 (1999) fetched a record price of HK$875,000 at a Christie’s auction, surpassing and more than doubling his previous record of HK$400,000.
- Huang, L. (2015, November 24). National Gallery opening; new chapter in history. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Announces the 2015 opening of the National Gallery Singapore to the public; recognises the Chua exhibition as a centrepiece.
- Huang, L. (2015, December 15). Beauties of ink in the spotlight. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Broadcasts the two solo exhibitions featuring Chua’s and Chinese ink painter Wu Guanzhong’s works at the newly-opened National Gallery; reports that Chua’s exhibition, entitled After the Rain: Chua Ek Kay, features 50 of his works from the national collection supplemented by pieces from private and corporate collections.
- Munroe, B. (1997, September 19). Transformation of a Chinese brush painter. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews Chua’s 1997 exhibition entitled Colours of Infinity at Caldwell House, CHIJMES, and charts his artistic development and formal recalibrations, in terms of subject matter represented and the like.
- Nayar, P. (1998, July 14). Inspiration born of a trip to Northern Territories. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Accesses Chua’s 1998 Art Forum exhibition, Hunter of the Wilderness, as a distillation of his excursion to the Northern Territories of Australia in the previous year, which is evidenced in his integration of Asian and Western practices, thus gesturing toward the transnational registers that dominate Chua’s artistic direction.
- Nayar, P. (1999, March 5). Fusion lines. The Business Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews the 1999 Beyond Tradition: Art of the New Migrant Chinese exhibition featuring works by multiple Singapore artists located within the Chinese ink painting tradition, from Chua to Henri Chen to Hong Zhe An.
- Nayar, P. (1999, October 30). Road less travelled pays off for Chua. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Provides a profile of Chua on the occasion of his being awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1999.
- Nayar, P. (2000, November 30). Chua Ek Kay’s works celebrate a great venture. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on the Merrill Lynch-sponsored Lyrical Spaces exhibition featuring Chua’s works at the Wetterling Teo Gallery. Profiles Merrill Lynch as a corporate art patron with some 50 of Chua’s ink paintings in its art collection (for sale at the exhibition).
- No mountains, I will paint a shophouse here. (1999, September 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Feature article of Chua’s unconventional artistic practice that departs from and reinvents the Chinese brushwork tradition, wherein his sensibilities are in part characterised by a reframing of the discipline to represent local subject matter. Includes a brief timeline of his artistic career and a photograph of Chua at work.
- Oon, C. (1998, July 9). Drawing from the mist of time. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews Chua’s 1998 Hunter of the Wilderness exhibition organised by the Art Forum, observes that Chua innovatively represents the zeitgeist of Aboriginal art via the medium of Chinese brush painting.
- Oon, C. (1998, September 5). World’s worries on their minds. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Documents the 1998 Singapore Art Awards organised by the Philip Morris conglomerate. Chua’s Dream of Borobudur (1996) is listed among five Juror’s Choices.
- Sabapathy, T. K. (1988, May 25). Chua’s solo debut with 60 works. The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Announces and articulates a warm reception to Chua’s debut solo exhibition, where some 60 of his Chinese calligraphic and ink works were mounted. The artistic merit of several of the displayed works are evaluated.
- Sabapathy, T. K. (1990, July 30). Roots of painting. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Advertises and reviews the joint exhibition, New Works by Kuan Soong and Chua Ek Kay, organised and held at Art Affairs in July and August 1990; appraises a selection of Chua’s displayed works in terms of its formal techniques and artistic sensibilities.
- Sabapathy, T. K. (1992, September 10). Breaking barriers. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews Chua’s solo exhibition, Duality & Tension: Recent Paintings, held after his win of the grand prize at the United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year award (as is customary of champions). Identifies several works, such as My Haunt (1991), the winning entry, as signalling a new pinnacle in Chua’s artistic maturity.
- Sabapathy, T. K. (1993, June 4). Historical journey in Chinese ink. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews the National Museum Art Gallery-organised and -hosted exhibition, Journey of Ink, curated by Chua and Kwok Kian Chow. Explicates the curatorial and directorial vision of the two curators at length.
- Sapawi, T. (1999, September 25). Writer, artist given Cultural Medallion. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Announces the conferment of the Cultural Medallion, recognised as “Singapore’s highest art honour,” on Chua and local author Abdul Ghani; includes a short profile on both personalities.
- Shetty, D. (2008, May 8). In memory of artist Chua. The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Broadcasts a special memorial for Chua on the 100th day of his passing at the Singapore Art Museum on 17 May 2008. His wife, museum director Koh Seow Chuan and Singapore Management University president Howard Hunter are to deliver eulogies.
- Shetty, D. (2011, July 21). Prize of evolution. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Broadcasts a new exhibition, Beyond the Prize, at the Ion Art Gallery at Ion Orchard organised by the United Overseas Bank (UOB) to honour and celebrate the past winners of its UOB Painting of the Year competition. Chua’s work, My Haunt (1991), which clinched the grand prize in 1991, is to be displayed and juxtaposed with another of his works, Lotus Pond—Being and Continuing II (2007).
- Shetty, D. (2014, January 20). Local artists pull in strong sales at Art Stage Singapore. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Announces the robust performance of local artists at the 2014 edition of Art Stage Singapore; Chua’s lithograph, Where the Seasons Are (2002), was one of the first to be sold by the Singapore Tyler Print Institute and fetched S$5,200.
- Shetty, D. (2011, April 16). S’pore honours 41 heritage heroes. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Reports on the National Heritage Board’s 2010 Patron of Heritage Awards reception and ceremony held at the National Museum, where Yeo Yang Kwee, wife of the late Chua, was among the 41 recognised for donating 13 of the latter’s works to the national art collection in accordance with his wishes.
- Tan, C. (2003, March 11). $10m worth of artworks adorn North-East MRT Line. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Announces the Land Transport Authority’s commissioning of 16 art installations and pieces to be housed and displayed at MRT stations for the new North-East Line; Chua is one of the 19 artists recruited.
- Tay, Eileen. (2013, March 8). Artist Chua Ek Kay in new documentary. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Reports on the new documentary on Chua, Being and Becoming Chua Ek Kay; provides a synopsis of the documentary sequences and content, which registers Chua’s endeavours to reinvent Chinese ink painting amongst other material.
- Tay, S. C. (2010, January 21). Gallery gets Chua’s works. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
Reports on the late Chua’s family’s donation of some 38 of the former’s works to the national collection, some of which would be displayed at the soon-to-be-opened National Gallery Singapore. Includes a brief introduction to Chua’s life and career as an artist.
- Tsang, S. (1991, July 15). Winners come with years of experience. The Business Times (Singapore), p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on the winning entries for the United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year competition in 1991, where Chua was the grand prize winner. Includes quotes from Chua.
- Wong, S. (1991, September 6). Celebrate the art. The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews the 1991 United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year competition, where Chua emerged as champion; identifies that Chua is the first Chinese ink painter to win the competition in its decade-long history and explicates the judges’ decision for selecting My Haunt (1991) as the winning entry.
- Wong, S. (1994, March 26). Eclectic selection, but some promising works. The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reviews the large-scale group exhibition, Rhythm & Vitality, at the Empress Place Art Gallery. Chua’s works were amongst the 400-odd featured; his Bicycle along Pavement (1993) is reproduced here in black-and-white.
- Yap, S. (2008, May 18). Late artist’s works donated to museum. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Reports on Chua’s widow’s decision to gift a “representative collection” of the former’s body of work to the Singapore Art Museum. Includes a colour photograph of her with one of the late Chua’s works to be donated.
- Yuen, S. (1991, July 24). On the winner’s rostrum. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Feature article on Chua’s artistic practices and sensibilities following his win at the 1991 United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year competition; includes a photograph of him with his winning entry, My Haunt (1991).
(listed in alphabetical order)
- Chua Ek Kay. (2012). Chuaekkayfilm. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the Second Avenue Productions website:
Online portal for the Second Avenue Productions-produced feature documentary on the late Chua’s artistic career. Includes a film synopsis, a brief introduction to the artist, regular film updates, and an option to purchase the film.
- Chan Hampe Galleries. (2015). Chua Ek Kay. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the Chan Hampe Galleries website:
Online webpage for a solo exhibition featuring Chua’s Archipelago series organised and held at the Chan Hampe Galleries, Singapore between 9 July 2015 and 8 August 2015. Provides a brief introduction to Chua, critically approaches a selection of his works featured at the exhibition, and accesses the means by which Chua’s oeuvre coheres with the foundational tenets of traditional Chinese ink painting.
- Chua Ek Kay. (2000, April). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the Postcolonial Web website:
From the Singaporean chapter of the Postcolonial Web, maintained by the University Scholars Programme at the National University of Singapore. Contains a link to an image of Chua’s Corner House (1988), one of his most exemplary works.
- National Gallery Singapore. (2015). Chua Ek Kay: After the rain. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the National Gallery Singapore website:
Exhibition website for the National Gallery-organised and -hosted large-scale solo exhibition of Chua’s works from 26 November 2015 to 3 May 2016, structured around the thematic rubric of water. Explicates the exhibition’s theme and announces other programme and logistical information.
- National Library Board. (2002). Chua Ek Kay, written by Nureza Ahmad. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from Singapore Infopedia.
An Infopedia resource that concisely chronicles Chua’s early life and subsequent professional career as a full-time artist; includes a biographical timeline and list of awards conferred as well.
- Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI). (n.d.). Chua Ek Kay. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the STPI website:
Provides an introduction to the artist, image links to selected works mounted at galleries, and key press release statements.
- Trailer—Being and becoming Chua Ek Kay. (2013, July 25). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from the YouTube website:
A three-minute-odd trailer for the Second Avenue Productions documentary on Chua (see above entry titled “Being & becoming: Chua Ek Kay”).
(listed in alphabetical order)
- Chua Ek Kay, Cultural Medallion recipient 1999 (Visual Arts). (2008). [Videotape]. Singapore: Ken Cheong (on behalf of Singapore Art Museum for National Library Board, in collaboration with National Arts Council Singapore). Call no.: RSING 759.95957 CHU
17-minute video chronicling Chua’s artistic development/maturation throughout his career. Excavates the influences and inspiration that motivate Chua’s art and details his art training and his formal techniques and strategies such as his synthesis of Chinese and Western artistic traditions. Chua’s Street Scene, Lotus Pond, Reflections, and Grass Series, along with photographs of urban Singapore from which Chua translated into his paintings, are included.
- Fan, J. (Interviewer). (1997, May 19). Oral History Interview with Chia Wai Hon. [Accession No. 001886]. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
In reel 12 of 16, Chia discloses his acquaintance with Chua’s works and opines briefly on its formal aesthetics.
- Lee, J. (Interviewer). (2007, Jan 29). Oral History Interview with Chua Ek Kay [Accession No. 003113]. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
Fifteen reels amounting to fifteen hours-odd of audio footage that collectively afford a comprehensive record on Chua, from his bio-history to his mentorship under Fan Chang Tien (and corresponding his initiation into the xieyi school of Chinese ink painting), and from his solo and group exhibitions to the critical/intellectual paradigms that undergird his artistic approaches.
- Lee, J. (Interviewer). (2008, April 30). Oral History Interview with Terence Chin Keong Teo [Accession No. 003295]. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
Teo considers Chua’s formal art training, his induction into and recalibration of the xieyi tradition, and his artistic development and trajectory in reel five of eight.
- Lee, J. (Interviewer). (2008, March 25). Oral History Interview with Marjorie Chu [Accession No. 003241]. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
In the last reel of five, Chu considers various regional artists, including Chua, and their location within a Southeast Asian artistic canon.
- Sian Era Jay. (Interviewer). (2010, January 28). Oral History Interview with Lim Hock Ann @ Halim [Accession No. 003452]. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
In the final reel of seven, Lim articulates his opinions on the Singaporean art world with reference to several key artists, of which Chua is identified as one.
(listed in alphabetical order)
Archipelago. (2006), [Image of painting], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
Chua Ek Kay: Half-length portrait. (1979–2001), [Image of photograph], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
A junction on Rochor Road. (1999), [Image of painting], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
Reflections: Lotus pond in a moment of silence. (2006), [Image of painting], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
Song of cicada. (1995), [Image of painting], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
A wall of history. (2006), [Image of painting], [Online]. (2008). Retrieved March 9, 2016, from PictureSG.
Accessing National Library Board Singapore Resources
Accessing the Print Materials
You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home (). The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types or language holdings. In both instances, you will also be able to limit your search to specific libraries by clicking on the “limit by branch” option.
To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings
If you wish to search for only materials available in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please always click on the “Limit by Branch” button at the bottom of the page, after you have keyed in your search term. This brings you to a new page whereby you will be able to select the library of your choice. Choose “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library” and select “yes” under the “Display only items available in the selected branch below” and then click on search.
Things to note:
Once you have identified the title that you need, please double-check the following information and write down the necessary info:
i. The “Status” of the item: the item is not available in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.
ii. Double-check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Branch”.
iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please refer to the table below for more information (Note: Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.)
All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.
Accessing the Databases
The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.
If you’re having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to email@example.com for help. The librarian will get back to you within three working days.
Heirwin Mohd Nas
Jason Yan (Updated by)
The information in this resource guide is valid as at Feb 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.