The Lost Island "Pulau Seking" (失落之岛“实马高岛”), 1960, Woodblock Print, 29.5 x 19.5 cm,
Koeh Sia Yong brings the viewer back in time with this 1960 woodblock print titled “The Vanishing ‘Seking’ Island”. Formerly an offshore kampung, now only Pulau Ubin remains. In this print, Koeh presents a quiet tropical scene, with long palm trees in the foreground framing a lone cabin in the centre. Off to the side, a villager trudges towards the house, carrying a fishing net. Through his immaculate grasp of light and colour, Koeh layers different inks in this print, rendering the distant sky in light swatches of brown, while the palm trees and cabin are brought into sharp focus with dark black. This gives the print a sense of depth, freezing Pulau Seking in a stasis. Here, the island remains untouched by the wave of modernisation and frenzied urbanisation that had swept mainland Singapore during the 1960s. Yet, there’s a sense of isolation as well, in only having a distant silhouette to remember it by, creating a melancholic mood in this print.