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Resources > Collections > Artist Chua Ek Kay 蔡逸溪

Chua Ek Kay (1947 – 2008)

Born in 1947, Guangdong, China, Chua Ek Kay came to Singapore with his family in the 1950s. As a child, he began to practice calligraphy with his father and enjoyed Chinese literature and poetry. In 1975 he sought tutelage under Shanghai school painter Fan Chang Tien and learnt painting. Chua resigned from his full-time job in 1985, taking up part-time teaching duties at the Extramural Studies Department of the National University of Singapore. Chua was such a confident painter that the forms and rhythm established from his early ink works remained consistent and distinctive over the course of his career. Familiar with the expressive brushwork of xieyi (写意), his gravitation towards a conceptual approach developed in tandem with his cultural background and Buddhist beliefs.

Although his early works were primarily in the mediums of ink painting and calligraphy, Chua’s genuine interest in understanding Western art and ideas led him to enrol at Lasalle College of the Arts. In 1994, Chua obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tasmania and a Master of Arts (Honours) in Visual Arts from the University of Western Sydney the following year. In pioneering new forms of representation through the dialectics of tradition and modernity, Chua developed a pictorial language that evolved alongside his inspirations and the artistic trends of his time. Among his artistic accomplishments were the 10th United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award in 1991, the Juror’s Choice award at the Philip Morris Group of Companies ASEAN Art Awards in 1998 and being accorded the Cultural Medallion in 1999. Chua passed away in 2008.