Water Pipe

Wee Shoo Leong

Title

Water Pipe

Artist

Wee Shoo Leong

Year

1991

Media

Oil on Canvas

Theme

Still Life

Wee Shoo Leong takes great care in composing his still life work, assembling each object in the composition from items that he has collected for the purpose. The objects are placed with great accuracy, aligned to the plane that Wee has intended to create a viewpoint from. They are arranged in linear formation, so that the artist and viewer can see them in full frontal position. Objects are often chosen with a sense of Wee’s own Chinese heritage, and for an interesting assortment of materials, textures and colours.

In this composition, Wee has selected an antique bronze Chinese waterpipe as the main object of interest. It is placed with a little bird feeder in blue and white porcelain, and a mineral-glazed clay vase of chrysanthemums. The vessels each suggest a history that can only be guessed at. The Chinese waterpipe is perhaps the most intricate, and also the most curious of the assortment.

Wee has created an antithesis to the convention of still life painting. In place of a treatise on human mortality, Wee embraces his personal heritage and cultural practices through the artefacts he has chosen to examine in each painting.

Bottle Gourd with Chrysanthemum (1998) by Wee Shoo Leong is another painting in the Singtel collection.