Tan Choon Ghee (1930 – 2010)
Tan Choon Ghee was born in 1930, Penang, Malaysia. He graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 1951 and furthered his studies at the Slade School of Fine Art, London between 1957 – 1959. While in Europe, Tan travelled extensively on cargo vessels to France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Norway, illustrating its sights and scenes. After graduating from Slade School of Fine Art, Tan was awarded a scholarship from the West German Government where he participated in exchange programs within the region to paint. He also won a scholarship for television set design at the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney, sparking his career as a chief set designer in Singapore and Hong Kong television. In 1969, Tan returned to Penang to begin his second career as a full-time artist. Proficient in oil as well as Chinese ink painting, Tan was best known for his watercolour paintings of Penang’s streetscapes where he captured the vibrant scenery and great variety of everyday life in his hometown. His paintings of human figures set against scenes of street hawkers, shophouses and landmark buildings combined elements of calligraphic brushstrokes from the Chinese classical painting tradition and Western approaches of perspective and conceptualisation. Tan was one of the best-known Malaysian watercolourist whose works have been featured in the publication, Puspasent (a selection of paintings in the collection of Bank Negara, Malaysia). Tan passed away in 2010.