Foo Chee San apportioned a considerable part of his life nurturing the next generation of artists and is fondly remembered as a teacher to numerous younger artists. Foo was born in Hainan and later trained in Western painting and Chinese ink at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts from 1953 to 1956. Inspired by his teachers, pioneer artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi, Georgette Chen and See Hiang To, Foo eventually became an art educator for over 50 years. To fulfil his other passions in life, Foo created a body of work consisting of woodblock prints, Chinese ink paintings and oil on canvas throughout his artistic career.
Inspired by pristine landscapes and the simplicity of everyday life, Foo had a penchant for depicting kampung scenes and fishing villages, as seen in the work Village at Dusk. To Foo, these local landscapes possess a distinctive Asian identity. Foo often incorporated Western mediums with Chinese painting traditions. For instance, specks of white in the painting, seen close to the trees in the background, create a blurred effect to evoke the veiling effects of the atmosphere and suggest space—a common approach in many Chinese paintings. In various tones and vague intimations of green foliage, Foo’s goal was to capture an expressive impression instead of a realistic portrayal of the scene.