The Modern Art period in South East Asia began as the colonial powers left the region during or after World War II. Independence in many countries spurred artistic communities that were trained in the Western artistic tradition but were eager to break new ground. Subjects were originally focused on independence movements but quickly moved to more experimental topics, including ethnic traditions, portraits and the lives of ordinary people. Local artists increasingly developed original styles while borrowing freely from the post- World War II art movements in the West. The generation artists that make up the Modern Period peaked in the 1970s and tapered off in the 1980s.