Ju Ping is the artistic name of Seng Chye who was born in the pictureque province of Fukien, China in 1908. He received his early education from Pai Yuen Secondary School in China but later transferred to Chung Ling High School, Penang. He later studies at Singapore Nanyang Academy of Arts and graduated with the first batch of Nanyang artists in 1940. Later, he returned to Penang to work as managing director of his father’s company “Sin Guan Tai Co,” dealing with import-export of rattan and other products.
However, painting was his passion and in between business dealings, he would indulge in art. Most of his leisure hours were spent on painting and he gave free tuition to enthusiastic young artists and even provided financial assistance to the poor students to buy art materials. He led a humble life and was highly respected by his fellow artists.
He was a founder member of the Penang Chinese Art Club in 1936. He also gave art tuition at many high schools in Penang, including Chung Ling High School, Union High School,Li Tek School and Han Chiang High School. In addition, he was also very active in local drama societies as a make-up artist.
He majored in oil and watercolour paintings, with realistic and impressionistic influences. He was especially good at sketching, which was the result of painstaking observation of nature and people. He was known to have climbed up other people’s rooftops to paint scenery and every evening, he walked to the beach for inspiration. His devotion to art, his wide choice of subject matters, sophisticated compositions and techniques gained him a reputation among fellow artist for successfully combining versatility, style and technical excellence.
His paintings are represented at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur and Penang Museum and Art Gallery. He died in March 1966 at the age of 58 years, having suffered from hypertension. With his passing, Penang has lost one of her most dedicated and talented artist whose works will always be highly appreciated.