Diana Chua



Diana Chua Be Ie (b. 3 November 1963, Singapore–)1 is an art educator and artist whose focus was in printmaking.2 Her works are usually social commentaries about modern life. An outstanding female artist of the 1980s and 1990s, she made headlines together with other established female artists in 1991 when they participated in a themed exhibition entitled Women and Their Art curated by the National Museum Art Gallery.3

Artistic beginnings
Chua’s interest in art developed at a young age and she pursued the subject at the former Institute of Education (which later merged with the College of Physical Education to become the National Institute of Education) in the early 1980s. She was subsequently awarded a scholarship in 1985 by the Public Service Commission to study fine art in Taiwan. From 1985 to 1989, she received formal training in art at the National Taiwan Normal University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art.4 During her time in Taiwan, she exhibited widely at showcases such as the 4th International Biennial Print Exhibition and the National Art Exhibition, and won numerous awards for her works in sculpture, printmaking and oil painting.5


She taught art at the National Junior College in Singapore in 1990. She was also part of the Shell Art Programme that sought to provide a platform for new and obscure artists. Her involvement in Shell’s Discovery Art Exhibition series helped propel her visibility in the art community during the 1990s.6

Accomplishments
In January 1990, at only 26 years old, Chua was the youngest artist featured at Shell’s ninth Discovery Art Exhibition. At the time, Discovery was the only exhibition series in the Singapore visual arts scene, with a strong agenda to promote and publicise the works of novice artists. The series was essentially a talent-hunt scheme that sought to nurture potential talent in visual arts. For this exhibition, Chua used watercolour to produce a series of eight pieces focusing on the theme of cityscapes. Her works Cityscape No. 5, Cityscape No. 10 and Cityscape No. 11 were reviewed in The Straits Times as “exemplary compositions of a highly accomplished, satisfying series of pictures”.7


1990 proved to be a fulfilling year for Chua. In October that year, she held a joint exhibition with fellow painter, Wong Shih Yaw at the National Museum Art Gallery. The two were initially seen as an odd pairing. However, this worked in their favour as the exhibition, Boxes and Windows: Recent Works by Diana Chua and Wong Shih Yaw, was later described as intriguing. Departing from her usual pictorial forms, Chua took a more provocative stance, choosing to focus on the complexities of urban life. Her work Boxes portrayed the alienation, anonymity and displacement experienced by people in the modern world, a situation she characterised aptly: “We are living in a box, man exists because of his relationship with mankind, yet each individual lives in an invisible box”.8

In November 1990, Chua participated in yet another exhibition, Man Objects Images, held at the National Museum Art Gallery, alongside other artists such as Tang Mun Kit, Adie Yadonie and Peh Soh Chwee. In this exhibition, the third in an annual series, the artists aimed to create images that conveyed the human condition provocatively and powerfully.9

Chua continued to be busy with several exhibitions in 1991,10 but perhaps the most significant was Women and Their Art, held at the National Museum Art Gallery in August. The event is considered to have been as a landmark art exhibition “by women for women”, as it was the first all-female exhibition. The exhibition also featured works by other notable female artists such as Chng Seok Tin, Amanda Heng, Katherine Ho, Soh Siew Kiat, Lee Foong Siew and Hazel MacIntosh. With the chosen theme being women and their art, the exhibition sought to confront fundamental notions about womanhood and explore the question: “What is a woman"?11

Exhibitions
1988–1989: Teacher-Student Joint Exhibition, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan.12

1989: 4th International Biennial Print Exhibition, Taiwan.13
1989: National Art Exhibition, Taiwan.14
1989: Seven Young Printmakers Joint Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan.15
1990: 9th Shell Discovery Art Exhibition, Shell Tower, Singapore.16
1990: Boxes and Windows: Recent Works by Diana Chua and Wong Shih Yaw, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.17
1990: Man Objects Images, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.18
1991: Women and Their Art, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.19
1991: Sculpture Show, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1991: Grand Discovery Art Exhibition, Empress Place Museum, Singapore.
1991: Singapore Printmaking Exhibition, Goethe-Institut, Singapore.
1991–1993: Singapore Artist Directory Exhibition, Empress Place Museum, Singapore.
1992: 2nd ASEAN Photography and Painting Travelling Exhibition.
1993: Philippe Charriol Foundation Contemporary Art Competition '93.
1993: Lifestyles, Cultures and Perceptions, an exhibition of print works by Singapore and Jilin artists, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.20
1996: Modernity and Beyond, Singapore Art Museum.21

Awards

1989: Tan Tsze Chor Art Award.

1990: Certificate of Distinction, UOB Painting of the Year Competition.22
1990: IBM Art Award 1990.23
1990: Promising Artist Award, Ministry of Communications and Information Art Competition.24
1994: Third prize for Masquerade Permutates, Philippe Charriol Foundation Contemporary Art Competition.25



Author

Adlina Maul



References
1. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
2. Leong, W. K. (1994, December 1). Thomas Yeo: Artist as prolific publisher. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Wong, S. (1991, August 15). Of women by womenThe Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
5. Singapore Art Society. (1989). Contemporary Singapore artists. Singapore: Singapore Art Society, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 CON)
6. Sasitharan, T. (1990, January 4). The best of the newThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sasitharan, T. (1990, January 4). The best of the newThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sabapathy, T. K. (1990, October 25). Brusque, raw powerThe Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Sabapathy, T. K. (1990, November 29). Altered statesThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
10. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (c1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
11. Wong, S. (1991, August 15). Of women by womenThe Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
13. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
14. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
15. Singapore artist directory. (1992). Empress Place Museum: Singapore, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570922 SAD-[DIR])
16. Sasitharan, T. (1990, January 4). The best of the newThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Jayanti, K. (1990, October 27). Exhibitions. The Business Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Sabapathy, T. K. (1990, November 29). Altered statesThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Wong, S. (1991, August 15). Of women by womenThe Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
21. Wong, S. (1996, January 22). Inaugural show conveys spirit of the individual. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Singapore artist directory. (1992). Empress Place Museum: Singapore, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570922 SAD-[DIR])
23. Tsang, S. Y. (Ed.). (1994). Singapore artists speak 2. Singapore: Art & Artist Speak, p. 301. (Call no.: RSING 709.5957 SIN)
24. Singapore artist directory. (1992). Empress Place Museum: Singapore, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 709.59570922 SAD-[DIR])
25. Wong, S. (1994, February 21). Art contest enables artists to learn. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 19 September 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Subject
Chua, Diana Be Ie, 1963-
Arts>>Visual Arts>>Printmaking
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Arts>>Printmaking and graphic arts
Artists--Singapore--Biography
Visual Arts