Chua Ek Kay (1947-2008) Chinatown Street Scene

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Lot 8
Chua Ek Kay
(1947-2008)
Chinatown Street Scene

Sold for HK$ 125,625 (US$ 16,204) inc. premium
Chua Ek Kay (1947-2008)
Chinatown Street Scene
1991

signed and dated 91
ink and colour on paper

69 by 78 cm.
27 1/8 by 30 6/8 in.

HK$100,000-150,000

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Ode To Art Gallery.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Property of a Singaporean lady

    *Please note that this lot is located in Singapore. Buyer is responsible to arrange shipping from present location of lot to buyer's desired destination. To enquire shipping quote, please contact [email protected]

    "[I am] constantly trying to distinguish what I am doing now with what came before in Chinese painting - so that it can create new space and new meaning. There are many who see our cultural heritage as authoritative and believe in a kind of 'purity' in preserving certain schools of practice. I would like to produce some new works - some innovations - but, not so much that I am severing all ties with tradition, that it makes no sense to identify with my work with the Chinese ink tradition. I am always trying to work out these tensions."

    ― Chua Ek Kay, 2002 (WY Choy, Chua Ek Kay: STREET SCENES REVISITED, Singapore: Soobin Art Gallery, 2001, p.9)


    Chua Ek Kay's (1947-2008) blend of traditional Chinese art forms and Western art techniques mark him as one of the most iconic Chinese ink painters in Singapore art history. Firmly rooted in the practice of traditional ink and brush, Chua began to study Chinese calligraphy under his father and Fan Chang Tien after migrating to Singapore in 1953. He adapted the aesthetic values of expressive xieyi freehand calligraphy, along with Western styles of Jackson Pollock, Matisse, and Picasso.

    His 'Street Scenes' series, which began in 1985, shows Chua's interest in recording Singapore's history. It simultaneously celebrates the scenes of the present while signalling its impending demise. He is deliberately selecting mundane, ordinary scenes from Singapore's streets as they underwent modernisation in the 1970s and '80s. Inspired by the environment of Chua's youth, this perhaps explains the childlike perspective of many of the paintings, in which observers gaze upward at shadowed windows and looming walls. It is a love letter and a eulogy to the streets of his childhood, a "history of sights" informed by feeling, rather than a literal rendering.

    Chinatown Street Scene is an urbanised Chinese landscape painting, loose brushstrokes and washes of black ink and distinctive light blue pigment see cliff-like shophouses emerge from swaths of negative white space. Chua Ek Kay was the first Chinese-ink painter to win the United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award in 1991 and received the Cultural Medallion in 1999.
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