Chen Chong Swee
Size: 90.5 x 128.5 cm.
Balinese Women, an oil painting finished shortly after Chen's return from Bali, portrays two Balinese women going about their chores. The rendering of precise outlines and the clever use of colour enhance the realism of the two figures. The composition is well thought-out, the difference in scale of the figures giving an illusion of distance between them, lending spatial depth to the painting. The youthful body of the woman in the foreground exudes strength and vitality, qualities which are enhanced by her sunshineyellow headdress. Chen wrote: "Bali is indeed a women's empire; the robust beauty of Balinese women and the pastoral scenery form an excellent painting." But he did not only see Balinese women as ideal models, he also had a high regard for them for their important social and economic roles.
-- Channels & Confluences: A History of Singapore Art, chapter 12.
Kwok Kian Chow. Channels & Confluences: A History of Singapore Art. Singapore: National Heritage Board/Singapore Art Museum, 1996. Plate 29.
This document is part of a joint project of the Singapore Art Museum and the Honours Core Curriculum, National University of Singapore. This image and accompanying text appears here with the kind permission of the Singapore Art Museum.
Last updated: April 2000