Singapore River (新加坡河), 2000, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm
This oil painting depicts the Singapore River in Koeh Sia Yong’s signature style of realism. One of his core subject matters, this painting is no exception as the familiar silhouettes of bumboats glide down the centre of the river, with many more boats docked on the riverbanks flanking them. In contrast to the vibrant colours that populate Koeh’s landscape paintings, this uses a more muted colour palette of browns, greens, and yellows. The only pop of colour is the yellow skyscraper in the background, seeming almost golden compared to the muddy waters of the river. Reminiscent of the silt-filled Singapore River pre-cleanup, it is a jarringly unfamiliar sight compared to the cleaner river waters of the present.