Search within
News and Updates
- Capsule Modules
- Research Materials
- Publications
- Collections
Workshops and Events
- Past Workshops and Activities
- Past Exhibitions
- Virtual Exhibitions

Resources > Collections > Artwork Watchman

Year of execution:  1967
Year of acquisition:  1985
Medium:   Watercolour on paper
Dimension:  43 x 57  cm
Gift of Mr Chen Qi Xin

Chen Chong Swee, also known as Chen Khai, was born in 1910, Chenghai County, Guangdong, China. He graduated from the Xinhua Arts Academy in Shanghai and Union High School in Shantou, China, before settling in Singapore in 1934. Known as one of Singapore’s pioneer artists, Chen was also an influential art educator and writer passionate about the state of the arts in Singapore. He spent his early years in Singapore teaching at Tuan Mong High School and Chung Cheng High School before heading the Chinese Painting Department at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), where he remained for over 20 years. Proficient in various mediums, including watercolour, oil, and Chinese ink, Chen was best known for his realist works and application of Chinese ink painting techniques. Mixing Chinese and Western pictorial traditions, Chen was one of the first to capture the Southeast Asian landscape and people in the Chinese ink and brush landscape format. 

Watchman depicts an Indian man dressed in a long-sleeved white shirt gazing into the distance. His face is calm, shoulders relaxed and posture in repose. The subtle tones and soft strokes demonstrate Chen’s excellent portraiture technique, offering a detailed visualisation, a thoughtful composition and a creative interpretation that captures the rugged expression of the model.


Chen Chong Swee 陈宗端