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Smith Street, Chinatown (牛车水史密斯街), 1983, Ink and wash on paper, 44.5 x 35.5 cm

Artwork Highlight

Continuing his focus on Chinatown, Koeh Sia Yong showcases another function of shophouses—as a residential area. Other than being used as a hub of commerce, the Five-Foot Way that runs along the front of shophouses functioned as a social space. Adults and children alike gathered to converse and play. Koeh depicts such a scene with a group of men gathered at the first floor chatting, Above them are the shophouse windows, with a plethora of delightful details differentiating each window. One has the usual clothes swaying on a bamboo pole, a birdcage peeking out from inside the house, while another is outfitted with stone railings. The small touches of red complement the loose dark lines, tying the whole sketch together.

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