Chua Mia Tee

  • Born 1931 in Shantou, China

Chua Mia Tee, whose family fled to Singapore in 1937 during the Sino-Japanese War, studied art at the Nányáng Yìshù Xuéyuàn (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) from 1950 to 1952. After graduation he taught at Nanyang Academy in 1956 and 1957; later that year he commenced his career as an illustrator and designer of books and advertising. Showing great attention and affection for his people and surroundings, he created detailed painted and drawn records of Singapore’s vanishing traditional urban life and landscape. He captured important scenes in Singapore history, as well as political and social concerns in paintings like Guójiā yǔyán lèi (National Language Class; 1959) and Zài zhígōng shítáng (Workers in the Canteen; 1974). Chua was also a renowned portraitist who portrayed a number of significant political and historical figures. In 1974, when he gained much acclaim for his first solo exhibition at the Ruìxīng měishù guǎn (Rising Art Gallery), Chua finally decided to pursue art full-time, working predominantly in oil on canvas. His art works have been shown extensively abroad (Indonesia, Thailand, Belgium, Germany, Australia and New Zealand). In 2015 Chua received Singapore’s Cultural Medallion.