Chua Ek Kay draws from a wide-ranging mix of influences, having trained under Chinese ink painter Fan Chang Tien, while also learning western art styles in Singapore and Australia. Though he stayed grounded in ink painting throughout his career, his practice is not confined to one singular cultural influence, but seamlessly marries both Eastern tradition and calligraphy techniques with Western modernist aesthetics.
Chua became renowned for his poetic, deeply personal impressions of an evolving, rapidly modernising Singapore during the 1970s and 80s, capturing not just picturesque scenes but fleeting snapshots of old buildings and their inevitable transience.
Old Street Scenes: Jalan Sultan Street Scene 06 depicts the iconic Sultan Mosque in Singapore, which was originally built in 1824, rebuilt a century later in 1924, and declared a national monument in 1975. The mosque is a profound reflection of Singapore rich spiritual heritage, but it is also a rare symbol of permanence, carefully preserved by the country over decades. Through his thick and heavy strokes; dramatic, chiaroscuro lighting; and distorted, close-up perspective, Chua captures the poignancy and power of this monument—which, amid an ever-changing landscape of newness and progress, offers a sense of rootedness and connection to the past.