Singaporean artist Tan Khim Ser is a Chinese ink painter, calligrapher and teacher, who spends much of his career teaching Chinese calligraphy, Chinese ink painting and promoting Chinese culture through Life Art Society, a non-profit art organisation Tan founded in 1972. Tan graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1966 and is trained in both Western and Chinese painting traditions. Birds and flowers in Chinese painting have metaphoric and allegorical elements that symbolise virtue, luck, beauty, political authority, and omens.
Tan is fond of painting birds, flowers, fish and animals in xieyi, or freehand style, as it offers an expressive quality of spiritedness in his subjects through spontaneous brushstrokes and ink application. In this series of pictorial works, Tan renders simple subjects such as chicks, swallows, canary and plants like water lilies and bamboo found in the local tropics. He conveys his thoughts and expression by rendering birds on the ground or fluttering in the sky, seemingly to represent the carefree attitude of mankind. He also complements the birds with Chinese flowers or bamboo plants that symbolises well-being and happiness. A well thought out composition of the subjects, these works exude a sense of harmony and poetic expression.