Sacré Coeur Basilica, Paris (巴黎圣心圣殿), 1992, Oil on Canvas, 76.5 x 76.5 cm
In Elizabeth Jennings’s poem “In a Mental Hospital Sitting Room”, the patients are described as “sitting below” a painting where “a nun is climbing/Steps in Montmartre”. The use of kinesthetic imagery with the moving nun specifically suggests a journey for enlightenment, which for mental patients would be to recover from or understand their illness. Gazing upon the gleaming white facade of the Basilica de Sacré-Cœur, combined with its significance as a place of religious worship, it's no wonder Jennings used this particular imagery. Koeh Sia Yong similarly features the Sacré-Cœur in this landscape study. In the painting, tourists slowly ascend the stairs towards the church. The hills are steep, making this climb a sort of pilgrimage as well. All the while, the Basilica, constructed in the Byzantine style, looms over them in its haughty grandeur. Koeh adopts a more expressive approach in this painting, as the glistening domes seem to waver in the sunlight amidst the eye-catching sapphire blue sky.