This pastel on paper still life composition follows the modern Nanyang style of using East-West components in the making of the artwork. Teng has appropriated the Chinese and Southeast Asian method of painting objects without perspective. The flattening of the planes using a backgound of ethnic or cultural objects seems to have developed, inspired by some of Cheong Soo Pieng’s still life and portrait compositions. These were inspired by Javanese wayang kulit and batik textiles, as are the objects that Teng had gathered in this arrangement. The hibiscus and gardenia flowers as well as the mangosteen fruit are the subjects of Teng’s interest. These are painted in rich detail and brilliant colour. The piece attests to Teng’s skill as an artist, especially in pastels.
Hibiscus with Still Life I marks a transitory phase in Teng’s art development, moving from the semi-abstract frangipani paintings of the 1980s to his figurative works of the 1990s.