As We See It: Visual Analysis through Southeast Asian Art


What is this artwork about? How do I make sense of what I’m seeing?

Art can be experienced and understood in a multitude of ways, so where do we even begin?

In this course, you will learn about the visual elements that make up Southeast Asian art, as well as all the intriguing stories behind them. The course aims to support you as you gain greater confidence in finding meaning from art while also making connections with your own life experiences.

Each lesson includes videos and an extensive list of readings where you will encounter diverse works by Southeast Asian artists— many of them from our National Collection! In the videos, you will learn how to analyse the visual qualities (e.g. composition, perspectives, colour) of selected works, while also learning about the stories behind the artworks and their wider histories. Combined with the readings, the videos will help you understand how artists deliberately employ visual techniques to convey certain effects and ideas.

Additional learning resources, such as lectures, artist interviews, and writings, will complement the videos and readings to consolidate your learning and extend your knowledge.

How do I sign up for a course?

Image (top): Exhibition view, (Re)collect: The making of our art collection, National Gallery Singapore. 2018. Image (left): Tan Lip Seng, Z, 1970, reprinted in 2017, Digital print on archival paper, 50 x 33 cm, Collection of National Gallery Singapore. This acquisition was made possible with donations to the Art Adoption & Acquisition Programme. © Tan Lip Seng




Encounter art and ways of thinking from Southeast Asia


Understand the visual elements and formal features of an artwork


Expand vocabulary of terms relating to visual analysis


Apply vocabulary and visual analysis strategies to form an interpretation of artworks


Art and Cultural AppreciationSoutheast Asian Art HistoriesVisual Analysis



Learn more about this course and how you can plan your learning.

Learner's Guide & 1 Video (approximately 15 mins)


Through the works of Filipino artist Juan Luna and Singaporean artist Choy Weng Yang, learn how colours can tell stories, while also affecting mood and atmosphere.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities

Line, Shape, Form

Explore the artworks of Singaporean artist Han Sai Por and Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin, and discover how line, shape, and form are applied to art.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities


Examine paintings by Singaporean artist Georgette Chen and learn how to describe and analyse the composition of a work.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities


Discover how perspectival techniques in two-dimensional art create different impressions of depth and space. In this lesson we will also learn more about Singaporean artists, including Chua Mia Tee and Chen Chong Swee.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities


Examine how the use of scale in art creates different viewing experiences, while also learning about the works of Indonesian artist Raden Saleh.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities


Identify examples of Southeast Asian art-making mediums and how an artist’s selection of a medium highlight the focus of their work.

1 Video, Reading, Quiz & Discussion (approximately 60 mins)
+ Optional resources and activities


The Team

Goh Sze Ying

Goh Sze Ying is Curator at National Gallery Singapore. She has worked on exhibitions including Living Pictures: Photography in Southeast Asia (2022), Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia (2022), Something New Must Turn Up (2020), Minimalism: Space. Light. Object. (2018), Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore (2018). In 2019, she also co-curated the sixth edition of the Singapore Biennale, Every Step in the Right Direction.

Teo Hui Min

Teo Hui Min is Curator at National Gallery Singapore where she contributes to the curation of Siapa-Nama Kamu? and Beyond Declarations and Dreams, long-term exhibitions of Singapore and Southeast Asian art from the 19th century to the present. Other exhibitions she has co-curated include Mohammad Din Mohammad: The Mistaken Ancestor (2021), Georgette Chen: At Home in the World (2020) and Lim Cheng Hoe: Painting Singapore (2018). Her area of research covers visual art practice in Singapore and Indonesia from the 1950s to 1980s, and tracing the networks of Chinese art societies in Southeast Asia.

Aaron Tang, Afiqah Aziz, Amelia Loh, Catherine Kausikan, Choo Chin Nian, Dave Yeo, Erica Lai, Ervina Chew, Gillian Daniel, Jying Tan, Kelysha Cheah Kassim, Lenette Lua, Malyanah Manap, Rose Wei, Seng Yu Jin, Summer Chiuh, Tamares Goh, Wong Jia Min & Yvonne Lim.

Our special appreciation to all the artists whose works and stories have inspired this course.