top of page
The Painting Speaks
Paintings by Tong Chin Sye and Poems by Tan Chee Lay

ISBN: 978-981-11-4833-0

Publisher: artcommune gallery

Artist(s): Tong Chin Sye

Author(s): Tan Chee Lay

Publication Year: 2018

Pages: 103

Dimensions: 247 x 325mm (closed);

247 x 657mm (open)

Binding: Hardback

Stock: Available

To purchase, visit us at artcommune gallery.


Published in conjunction with the The Painting Speaks: Paintings by Tong Chin Sye and Poems by Tan Chee Lay at The Arts House from 4 –15 April 2018, this bilingual publication features 40 sets of ekphrastic poetry (written in Chinese and accompanied by English translations) by award-winning scholar, poet and educator Dr. Tan Chee Lay. The poems were composed in response to 40 selected paintings by Singapore landscape and still life painter Tong Chin Sye, relating an interesting literary dimension to appreciating Tong Chin Sye’s oil and mixed media visuals. The project brings together the creative outputs of two important local talents and provides new angles through which audience can connect meaningfully with both the visual and literary art forms. 


Dr. Tan Chee Lay (b. 1973, Singapore) studied Chinese Literature, English Studies and Business Administration and has lived in Singapore, Taiwan and the UK. He completed his doctorate in Oriental Studies (Chinese literature) at St John’s College, Cambridge University, specialising in Chinese poetry and exile poets. Dr. Tan was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council in 2004 and the Singapore Youth Award (Culture and the Arts), the highest accolade for youth, in 2006. A former tutor of the Chinese Language Elective Programme, he is currently an Associate Professor in Chinese at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and the Executive Director (Research & Development) of the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language. Dr. Tan has published and edited over 20 creative writing and academic books. 


Tong Chin Sye (b. 1939, Singapore -) is a multi-media artist trained in both Western and Chinese art. His dynamic oeuvre includes watercolour, oil, Chinese ink and mixed media paintings. He was previously a part-time lecturer in Western Art at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and has participated in numerous local and overseas exhibitions. He clinched the first prize in the Port of Singapore Authority Open Art Competition in 1987 and represented Singapore at the Flemish Watercolour Days held at Zaventen, Belgium in 1988. An avid traveler, Tong has journeyed across continents in his painterly quest for fresh scenes and cultural understanding. Whether depicting majestic monuments, bustling town scenes or indigenous locals going about their daily activities, Tong’s paintings absorb us through the curious, reflective lens of a traveler who explores the life and customs of others through the graininess of everyday life.

bottom of page