Tay Bak Chiang, born in Malaysia in 1973, graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore in 1995 and studied at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, in 1997. A 2002 Young Artist Award recipient, Tay is one of Singapore’s most original painters. He has constantly reinterpreted the norms of traditional Chinese painting by striving towards a Chinese ink style of his own.
Tay has always been inspired by nature. He also believes his work should bear the imprint of his environment and reflect the spirit of contemporary times, even if it is rooted in Chinese ink painting. He says, ‘What I find most moving in the works of European or Chinese master artists are not the ink and brush techniques nor the forms and colours, but the artists’ courage and sincerity to imagine and break new ground. More often than not, I have questioned my own and other’s methods on what their predecessors have done, failing to regard what should be the most cherished element – originality.’ Tay was awarded the First Prize in the Chinese Painting category in the 19th and 22nd United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Competitions, in 2000 and 2003 respectively.