Kayan Musician

Cheong Soo Pieng was born in Amoy, China in 1917. He studied at the Amoy Art Academy and the Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai from 1933 to 1936. In 1946, Cheong settled in Singapore and taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts until 1961. Together with fellow artists Chen Wen Hsi, Chen Chong Swee and Liu Kang, they went to Bali, Indonesia in 1952 in search of new inspiration and subject matter. Cheong had a dominant influence on the development of modern art in Singapore and is regarded as one of Singapore’s pioneer artists. His innovative experimentations towards developing his stylistic oeuvre had a great influence on his students, many of whom later became established artists in the region. For his contributions in art, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Singapore government in 1962. Cheong passed away in 1983 in Singapore.Unlike his earlier phase of experimentation with impasto, Cheong explored the effects of thin and diluted oil paint in the 1970s and 1980s. He had by this time developed his unique stylisation of elegant elongated figures with almond shaped eyes and ‘Kayan Musician’ is a prime example. The Kayan people, an indigenous tribe in Borneo are featured in several of Cheong’s paintings after he made a trip and spent time with them in 1959.

Artist Name
Cheong Soo Pieng
Image size: 107 x 87 cm, Frame size: 119 x 99 cm
Accession No.
Oil on canvas
Collection of
National Gallery Singapore
Credit Line
Donated by Singapore Totalisator Board