Singaporean artist Chua Ek Kay learnt Chinese calligraphy from his father at seven years old. He later became a student under Chinese ink painter Fan Chang Tien. Fan was a renowned artist in the Shanghai school of Xieyi (写意) painting, which advocated for artists to pay attention to brushwork and self-expression over mimicking reality. Chua’s interest in art eventually led him to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania, followed by a Master of Arts at the University of Western Sydney in the 1990s.
Nostalgia for Nanyang is executed in Chinese ink and colour, which is crucial to Xieyi (写意) painting traditions. The dry brush technique that Chua employs amplifies the shapes and textures of the twigs and flowers, while the wash of colour adds dimension to the artwork.