Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
300 Years
300 Years

This painting derives from Chong Siew Ying’s 2009-2012 series, “The Home and the World”. The composition is dominated by a twisting tree that sags to the left under the weight of its heavy foliage. The texture of the tree trunk is thick and turbulent, made up of an intense swirling pattern that spirals towards the top of the painting. In the background, we look onto a vast cloudscape.. The chalky white mist is broken by tufts of black, conveying denser areas of clouds.  The forms are variously blurred and defined to capture the motion of the scene. When viewing this work, one is simultaneously brought into the world of Chinese ink landscape paintings and the European tradition of the sublime with their mountain vistas and mist-filled valleys; this is something characteristic of Chong’s works: a grounding in both Eastern and Western painterly sensibilities.

Charcoal and acrylic medium on paper mounted canvas
138 x 260 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Chong Siew Ying
About Chong Siew Ying

Chong Siew Ying (b. 1969, Kuala Lumpur) is a Malaysian painter best known for her dynamic gestural brushstrokes and expressive compositions. These paintings embrace broad themes such as nature, human sentiments, human connection, homeland and belonging, as well as references to literary themes and concepts. Chong left Malaysia for France in 1990 to pursue her studies in Fine Art. There, she enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts de Versailles and later at the Parisian printmaking centre, Atelier63. Returning to Malaysia in 1998, she held her first solo show in Kuala Lumpur in the same year. From 2000 - 2001, she travelled to the United States of America where she spent 7 months in New York City and 2 months at the Vermont Studio Centre in Vermont. She returned to Paris in 2001 and travelled back and forth between Paris and Kuala Lumpur until 2011. She has since moved back permanently to Kuala Lumpur. Her career has spanned a large number of solo and group exhibitions in Asia, as well as across Europe and the USA.

Source: Chong Siew Ying

Further Readings
Learning Section

  • Describe what you see in the foreground of this painting. Describe how the artist has used line, shape and texture on the surface of the tree. What adjectives describe her mark making? What verbs describe her use of line? How does her mark making change when indicating the leaves? Now describe the background. What marks, patterns and textures can you see?

  • The title of this artwork is 300 years. In your opinion, what does this title refer to? Does the title change your interpretation of the artwork?

  • In your opinion, is this artwork created from first hand observation, from a photograph or from the artist's imagination? What makes you think this?