Lot 067

b. Johor, 1936 - d. Kuala Lumpur, 1990


Signed and dated 'Yu Chian 1969' (lower left)
Oil on canvas
49cm x 69cm

Private Collection, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 18,000 - 30,000


Chia Yu Chian was a terrific painter specialising in both Eastern and Western techniques. With the integration of knowledge in both painting methods, he transforms local landscapes such as Jinjang Village, Selangor into an intriguing place evident in his Western influenced perspective-play, colour scheme and paint application. Jinjang was one of the 450 New Villages created by the British as a strategy to segregate Chinese villagers from the early Malayan National Liberation Army insurgents which were led by the Malayan Communist Party during the Malayan Emergency. It was part of the Briggs Plan, a military plan devised by British General Sir Harold Briggs shortly after his appointment in 1950 as Director of Operations in the anti-communist war in Malaya. Executed in 1969, a significant year in the history of Malaysia after the bloodshed riot of May 13, Chia’s depiction of the then village which has become a town today sees diverse ethnics going about their daily lives peacefully.

Chia Yu Chian attended Pei Wah Primary School in Johor followed by secondary education at Singapore Chinese High School. He was then enrolled to Christ Church English School in Singapore and later learnt French language at the Alliance Francaise de Singapour in Singapore before attending art school in Paris. He obtained an Academic Certificate in February 1959 certified by Jean Aurillac, the French Consular General to Singapore since May 1958. The certificate which was written by then Director of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) attested that the student Chia Yu Chian had even while studying painting over the course of two years, held exhibitions of critical acclaim. The recommendation enabled him to enroll in the second year of Western painting at NAFA where he studied under Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng, both pioneer masters in the Singapore art scene. Chia received a French government scholarship with this certificate to study in the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris from where he graduated in 1962. He was the first artist from the Straits Settlements to have been granted such prestige. In the following years, such scholarships had only been given to some of the more renowned artists from the Indian subcontinent and also China. During the span of his illustrious career, he had held a significant number of solo exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India and in Europe namely in France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain. He had also participated in many regional and international group shows. His works are in the collection of private individuals and institutions around the world. He had produced a grand mural titled Life in Malaysia for the Malaysian Embassy in Paris and portraits for various Malaysian government and political luminaries.

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