Hainan-born Tan Tee Chie is a second-generation Singaporean artist known for the series of socio-political woodcut prints and paintings created in the 1950s. The late artist was trained in Western painting and Chinese ink at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), where he graduated in 1951. Mentored by Singapore’s pioneer artists, Tan became an art educator at the Academy for over 40 years. In the early 1960s, he moved from grand socio-political discourses to themes that reflect local subjects, a movement that is associated with the Chinese diaspora’s aspiration in defining their own distinct identity in Southeast Asia. Besides woodcut prints, Tan is adept in Chinese ink, seal carving and oil painting.
Landscape depicts local subjects, such as a kampong house and coconut trees. Influenced by Singapore’s pioneer artists, Tan was intensely drawn to Nanyang landscapes, a subject matter vital to developing Singapore’s modern art scene. By applying different opacity of pigments, the artist created a sense of depth and distance in the composition, as apparent in the faded mountain range in the background, contrasted with the vibrant colours of the trees in the foreground.