Accident on the railway, Malaya signed 'Chalker' (lower right), bears an inscription (verso) pencil, ink and watercolour heightened with white 23 x 34.5cm (9 1/16 x 13 9/16in).
Being an art student at Goldsmiths College and then taking on a scholarship with the Royal College of Art, Chalker's studies came to a halt when he was posted out to Singapore to fight for his country. He was captured in 1942 (along with 137,000 other troops) and placed in various labour camps and ended up working on the Burma Railway. During his time in the camps Chalker sketched and painted what he observed. Making any records of the adverse conditions in working camps was strictly forbidden and infringement of this was punished with savage penalties. In order for Chalker not to have his art works discovered he would hide them inside sections of bamboo buried in the ground, atop roofs of jungle huts or placed them in artificial limbs worn by amputees within the camp. After the Japanese surrender in 1945 the artist was attached to the Australian H.Q. in Bangkok as a war artist.