Chen Wen Hsi was born in Guangdong, China, in 1906. At a young age, Chen showed a keen interest in art. At age 20, he left Guangdong to pursue his passion at Shanghai College of Art and later Xinhua Arts Academy. During college, he met fellow pioneer artists of Singapore, Liu Kang, Chen Ren Hao and Chen Chong Swee. In 1948, Chen moved to Singapore and became an art teacher at The Chinese High School and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts between 1949 and 1968. In 1952, with his three colleagues, Chen embarked on a landmark trip to Bali to portray the beauty of Southeast Asia.
Chen loved animals. As a child, he would relish observing the animals in his village–watching sparrows in the air and geese waddle. The artist was well-versed in Western and Chinese painting, though his forte was in Chinese brush painting. The ink painting features three wandering sparrows depicted in gentle, fluid strokes, evincing stillness and tranquillity.