"[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 practicesI 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, in 2002
Born in Guangdong, Chua Ek Kay migrated to Singapore in the 1950s where he pioneered a signature style of spontaneous modernist brushwork, derived from the traditional Shanghai school ink painting of his teacher Fan Chang Tien. Chua is best known for his Lotus Pond series, where he renders the impression and essence of the lotus flowers with quick, truncated calligraphic strokes-essentially becoming a Chinese ink painting, what Monet was to European Impressionism, by capturing the spirit and vitality of abundant nature and infusing it with a meditative, minimalistic quality; grasped through a viewer's intuition rather than by full physical definition.