Sun Yee (1919 - 2009) was born in Zhejiang, China. She studied at the Xinhua Art Academy in Shanghai and Nihon University in Tokyo before proceeding to France. She was a pupil of the renowned French modernist Fernand Leger. An accomplished exponent of Chinese brush painting and the oil medium, Sun Yee exhibited at the Salon des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1953. Her works met with exhibition successes in Japan, France and Singapore.
Sun Yee settled in Singapore in 1954 and established the Singapore Academy of Arts of which she was the Principal for 20 years. Her first exhibition in Singapore was in 1954. One of Singapore’s Founding Fathers Mr S Rajaratnam, in his capacity as Minister for Culture, opened several Exhibitions by the Singapore Academy of Arts including on 24/03/1960 and another on 01/08/1972, both at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Mr Rajaratnam urged the artists to paint local scenery which Sun Yee adopted in her teaching, writing and her own paintings. Sun Yee advocated the development of the localized visual idiom based on local subject matters including portraiture. In 1963, her exhibition in Singapore titled 'Flowers of Nanyang' depicted local and regional botanical species through the medium of Chinese ink.
She was a contemporary of Georgette Chen, Lee Man Fong, Cheong Soo Pieng and Liu Kang. Sun Yee’s paintings were collected by the elite of Singapore including Dato Loke Wan Tho, his wife Christina Loke and Malcolm MacDonald. A collection of her works are in the Permanent Collection of the National University of Singapore Museum.