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Fishing Village in Punggol (昔日榜鹅渔村), 1958, Oil on Canvas, 63.5 x 81.5 cm

Artwork Highlight

Shaded in the late afternoon sun, this painting of Punggol, or Ponggol, seems straight out of a postcard. A hazy air is settled over the entire scene, with empty fishing boats laid out on the beach, or perhaps grounded by the low tide. Recounting his youth, Koeh Sia Yong speaks of how he and his friends used to go to the Punggol ports to sketch the scenery. When they were finished, they would then take a swim in the cool waters, attempting to fish for crabs by renting boats later on. A certain nostalgic mood does seem to emanate from this piece, allowing the viewer an insight to the fondness such a memory evokes. The artist utilises an impressionistic style in this piece, as smooth swathes of paint are layered upon each other to create the impression of a dense forest of palm trees. Unblended dots of leaves, rocks and tree branches help give the landscape some form of defined edge. In all, it is a snapshot of an aspect of early Singapore, reveling in a quiet time before modernisation swept its landscape.

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