VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Portable Cinema
2004-00564
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Chua composed the scene in this work from the memory of episodes from his childhood days, growing up in Chinatown. Equipment such as the portable cinema was especially popular during the 1940s, during the Japanese Occupation, when the Japanese used these devices for propaganda movies. When the painting was executed in 1977 the portable cinema was no longer used. What remains to be captured is the wonderment of the children depicted by their eager postures, and in contrast, the clear disinterest of the vendor toward the routine of his work. The architectural details in the background document the streets and shops of Chinatown. These were places Chua grew up in, but which no longer exist as the nation’s programme of urbanisation changes the landscape.

History of the Object
Chua often emphasises that Realist elements make art accessible to people by relating to things that they encounter and can relate to. While Realist art is derived from reality, it does not have to be based on actual happenings to be accessible and identifiable by the audience.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Oil on canvas 
Measurements
H: 78.5 x W: 79.4 cm 
Creator name
Chua Mia Tee 
Creator date
1931 
Where it was made
Singapore 
Geography
Singapore 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 1977 
Function
Art Work 
Acquisition
The painting was donated by Times Publishers Limited to the museum.  
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Singapore Art Museum 
Museum
Singapore Art Museum 
Credit line
Donation from Times Publishers Limited 

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