The Late Mr Chen Chong Swee. Photo courtesy of the Family of Chen Chong Swee.
The Chen Chong Swee Asian Arts Programme was made possible with a gift from the family of the late Mr Chen Chong Swee.
Mr Chen (1910 – 1985) was a pioneer in Singapore’s early art scene, and an influential art educator, writer and painter. He was a key figure in the development of the Nanyang style. Trained in both Western and traditional Chinese art, Mr Chen combined the aesthetic and cultural traditions of both styles and painted in watercolors, oils as well as Chinese inks.
Mr Chen was born in China and graduated from the Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts there. He later moved to Malaysia, before finally settling down in Singapore. He taught art at a number of schools including Tao Nan School, Tuan Mong High School, Chinese High School, Chung Cheng High School as well as the Teachers’ Training College Singapore (now the National Institute of Education). He later also taught Chinese ink painting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. An analytical and prolific writer, he wrote many essays that contained keen observations and discourses on all aspects of visual arts.
Mr Chen co-founded the Salon Art Society (Singapore Society of Chinese Artists) and the Singapore Watercolour Society. In addition, he served on a number of management committees of art societies in Singapore including the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore Society of Chinese Artists and the Singapore Art Society.
At Yale-NUS College, the Chen Chong Swee Asian Arts Programme will promote Singaporean, Southeast Asian and Asian art.