Wee Beng Chong is one of Singapore’s most versatile artists, producing exceptional works in various mediums, such as calligraphy, seal carving, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media works, oil and Chinese ink painting. His formal art education began in 1955 when he enrolled in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and was introduced to different genres of art. Besides building a solid foundation in Western art, the artist also picked up seal carving and Chinese ink painting under the tutelage of See Hiang To. Later in 1964, Wee studied sculpture at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, adding sculpture-making to his impressive list of art skills. As a key figure in promoting the development of visual arts in Singapore from the 1960s–1980s, Wee was accorded the Cultural Medallion in 1979.
During the 19th century, buffaloes were used to plough the land for agricultural purposes and to transport goods and people. Wee’s sculpture pays tribute to this historically significant animal of Singapore. The artist renders the buffalo’s head and half of its torso, evoking the visual image of viewing an animal manoeuvring through the water. Wee also made the creative choice of accentuating the muscular features of the buffalo to reflect its strength and power. Wee’s interpretation of the buffalo is compelling, demonstrating his understanding of the subject matter and familiarity with the material.