Known for his fantastical realistic artworks in ink, Singaporean-born Koh Liang Jiang was trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and graduated with a Diploma in Western Painting in 2014. Koh’s body of works reflects the rigorous draughtsman training at the Academy, executed with a contemporary interpretation of the traditional medium. Influenced by legends, stories from ancient mythology and modern science fiction, Koh’s focus resides in the fantasy realm, albeit with varying connections to real life. His preferred choice of medium is papyrus, which allows him to render intricate and complex ink lines.
In this compelling drawing, Koh incorporates the fictional character Merlion with localised elements, like the Singapore SBS bus, to portray the relationship between Singapore’s past and present. The Big Catch shows a once-flooded area overgrown with swamp plants and mangroves. A scavenger ascends to the top of an old Singapore SBS bus fishing and spots a rare creature in the depths. The mythical Merlion is depicted as a majestic living animal that could possibly exist in a future where everything has been reduced to empty husks. Koh’s illustration brings out a sense of irony where fantasy sprouts from the death of reality.