(born in China, 1947)

Chua Ek Kay lays claim to eminent cultural awards and accolades for his unique vision and contribution to local art development. His receipt of the Grand Prize - UOB 10th Painting of the Year Award (1991) marked the first time this premier award was presented to a Chinese ink painter in its nine-year history. Chua was also honoured with the Juror's Choice in the highly competitive Philip Morris Asean Art Awards (1998) and the inaugural Fellowship of LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts (2002). His extensive & influential roles as artist, educator, judge, advisor and mentor attest to the respect of his contemporaries & recognition of foremost cultural bodies. Chua's outstanding practice and singular pursuit of his aesthetic interests have enriched the cultural life and landscape of the republic - securing the ultimate tribute in the conferment of the Cultural Medallion by the Singapore state in 1999.

Chua Ek Kay uses Chinese brush technique and philosophy as ancient as Wei Dynasty of A.D.300 in China. His brush work has a certain resilience as if carved into a rock. His thought pattern is minimal and meditative, attempting to compress an entire landscape into one rock. While colour is hardly used in Chinese painting Chua Ek Kay breaks tradition and incorporates vivid colours of India into his landscapes. The dry brush background is achieved by rubbing ink onto paper with the 'heel' of the brush this is an exaggerated form of the original 'flying white' tradition. Chua Ek Kay does not paint a landscape in the conventional sense of space and scale. Chua Ek Kay's vision is a culmination of many Asian influences from Bali to Thailand and to India.


Studied Chinese Ink Painting under Fan Chang Tien
Advanced Diploma, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts
BFA Fine Arts, University of Tasmania, Australia
MA (Hons) Visual Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Solo Exhibitions

2001 Street Scenes Revisited - Soobin Gallery, Singapore
2000 Lyrical Spaces, Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore
1998 Hunter of the Wilderness, Art Forum, Singapore
1997 Colour of Infinity, CHIJMES, Singapore
1995 Recent Works by Chua Ek Kay, University of Western Sydney, Australia
1992 Duality and Tension, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore
1990 Street Scene by Chua Ek Kay, Art Affair at Duxton Road, Singapore
1988 Chua Ek Kay's Works in Chinese Ink, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore

Selected Group Exhibitions

2002 Timeless Space Damask Asia, London
2001 Nokia Singapore Art 2001, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
2001 Ink & Colour, 3 Singaporean artists, Kuala Lumpur
2001 Asean Art Today 2001, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore
1999 Ambulation, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore
1999 Beyond Tradition: Art of the New Migrant Chinese, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore
1999 Power and Poetry, Monuments and Meditations in Chinese Ink Painting , Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1999 CRISP, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1998 Philip Morris-ASEAN Art Exhibition Hanoi, Vietnam
1997 Nine Artists in Bali, Fort Canning Hill, Singapore
1996 A Century of Art in Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1996 The 3rd ASEAN Art Exhibition, ASEAN Art Symposium & Workshop, Singapore delegate and Workshop Director
1992 Singapore Art Festival, Tai-Ku Sheng, Hong Kong
1991 25 Years of Art from Singapore, Meridian House International Washinton D.C., Indianapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and Honolulu, USA


2002 LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts Fellowship, Singapore
1999 Cultural Medallion Award, Government of Singapore
1998 Philip Morris Group of Companies ASEAN Art Awards, Juror's Choice, Singapore
1991 UOB 10th Painting of the Year Award (Grand Prize)

Curatorial Practice

2003 President's Young Talents Exhibition 2003
2001 Nokia Singapore Art, Member of Curatorial Committee
1999 Nokia Singapore Art, Member of Curatorial Committee
1998 The Art of Fan Chang Tien and His Students, Guest Curator, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1993 Journey of Ink-Ink Paintings in Singapore, Guest Curator, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore




Street Scenes Revisited

20 June 2001 to 8 July 2001

Presented by Soo Bin Art Gallery

Born in China in 1947, Chua Ek Kay started his career when he had become a student of Fan Chang Tien. His solid grounding in calligraphy and ink painting and his interest in other culture have been making him one of the most effective and progressive artist in the local scene. In his Chinese painting, the remarkable richness lies in both traditional Chinese brushwork and an understanding of most Western.

The major exhibition of Chua Ek Kay include Lyrical Spaces, Colour of Infinity, Duality and Tension, A Century of Art in Singapore, etc. He also won the grand prize of 1991 UOB 10th Painting of the Year Award, Phillip Morris Juror's Choice. In 1999, according to his contribution to the art, he won the Culture Medallion Award which was conferred by Singapore Government.

The focus of this exhibition Street Scenes Revisited features 32 works in Chinese ink on rice paper reminiscent of the early Street Scenes series of the 80s. Painted in 2001, the new works come with the winds of change reflecting Chua's tempestuous attempts to re-orientate and then transform his art stretching over a full decade.

The new series has been motivated by a clear intention. Chua said: "I wanted to re-examine the same haunts to sense the changes. My intention is also to re-examine an important phase of my art development. My purpose is to capture the lapse of time, which represent, for me, a history of sights, of my visual experiences.

About the new works, he elaborated: "I also wanted the feeling to be the focus of my paintings not the rendering of the physical architecture. For a whole decade, my paintings have undergone a dramatic change. As a result of my travels, my reflections on art, a better grasp of Western contemporary art and having penetrated deeper into the Chinese ink techniques, the ideology of my art has changed rapidly.

In the works in the exhibition, there is profuse evidence that Chua has leaped forward in many fronts of his art.

The works are the result of a process of crucial stages of development Mood of Nostalgia derived from a familiar location with the architecture still in the forefront of the painting, with relatively consistent linework ink and work is a typical transitional work. There are sufficient details to make the association with the subject easy. The pictorial spaces for effects has undergone a stringent evolution, emerging beyond recognition. From relatively discreet, balanced forms, the lines have surged into powerful massive still linear structures, drenched with rustic brutality. They usurp so much pictorial space that often they dominate the painting as its very focus. The most extreme of such works is Ang Siong Hill.

Perhaps the most tantalizing of the developments in Chua's paintings is in the realm of inkplay - a challenge he relishes. Now, having tasted a higher level of illusive but fascinating manipulation of ink techniques he is ready for creative ink play never seen before. Among the achievements he is capable of its evident in Bicycle in the Pleased shade or Roof Top where in both, dazzling effects are handled with apparent ease and panache.

The intrigues of Chua's recent ink works, however, are to be found in his management of pictorial spaces. In a daring re-orientation, their role is shifted rigorously to one which is so mobile and abstract that they effectively dictate the scale and hierarchy of the work. An exciting feature is that the spaces will have enough ambiguity to engage the viewer's imagination. Titillating effects are prominent in such works as A coffee shop at Circular Road and Backyard a strong conceptual presence and an uplift poetic and touch continue to be.