Chua Mia Tee: Directing the Real spotlights Chua Mia Tee (蔡名智) (b. 1931), one of the leading realist artists in Singapore’s art history. Taking inspiration from the artist’s quote on how “the painter assumes the role of screenwriter, director and actor to freely shape the subject’s image”, the exhibition offers audiences an insight into Chua’s distinct view on realism that goes beyond the mere representation of reality. Chua’s purposeful direction of images takes centre stage in the show, compelling visitors to appreciate his critical contributions and enduring influence on Singapore’s artistic landscape. Opening on 26 November, Chua Mia Tee: Directing the Real also marks the artist’s first solo institutional exhibition since 1992, a fitting tribute that aptly coincides with his 90th birthday on 25 November.
Spanning four decades of Chua’s artistic practice, the exhibition features over 50 works alongside archival materials, filmic recordings, and quotes from the artist’s writings, offering deeper insights into Chua’s artistic philosophies. Audiences are invited to discover how his paintings of life in Singapore went beyond realist depictions, reflecting his intentional direction of the image to bring out the “truths” that engage and move the audience. Focusing on works from the 1950s – 1980s, Chua Mia Tee: Directing the Real also sheds light on a period where Chua’s artistic growth runs parallel to the development and transformation of Singapore as a nation in its early years. Through his vivid depictions of the country and its inhabitants in this period, the exhibition examines the social tensions across different segments of society as the young nation was laying the foundations for progress and development.
Venue: National Gallery Singapore, Level 4 Gallery, City Hall Wing
When: 26 Nov 2021 - 20 Nov 2022,