CHUA MIA TEE WORKERS IN A CANTEEN POSTCARD
Workers in a Canteen
Oil on canvas
Gift of the artist
Collection of National Gallery Singapore P-0236
This painting captures the boisterous atmosphere of workers at lunch at Jurong
shipyard. Chua has staged the scene as if the viewer has just entered the canteen, with the diagonal composition heightening the sense of dynamism and depth.
The scene features over 70 workers: some are wolfing down their meals while others
chat. The simple tableware and empty bowls in the foreground reflect the work’s central
theme, which Chua has expressed as “吃的是草，挤出来是奶”. This quote by the well-
known Chinese writer Lu Xun means “while the meal is simple, the product of labour is
immensely valuable.” Chua aimed to convey his respect and admiration for blue collared
workers, and their critical role in society.
Dimension: 148 x 105 mm