Lim Sew Yong was born in 1943 in Malaysia and moved to Singapore at five. In 1968, the artist studied art at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and graduated from Nanyang University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1972. She paints in watercolour and acrylic and has experimented with batik painting as well. The subjects in her work include carp, fish, opera figures and small-scale community depictions such as kampongs and animals. Her style often conveys something of a personal, emotive character.
Her focus on depictions of opera as a subject matter was twofold: to capture the dramatic characteristics of the players and roles through such unique conveyance and to inspire interest in this traditional art form. This work is executed in watercolour on paper and shows a lady and a man. The figures' body language hints that Lim catches a brief and fleeting moment, like a photograph capturing a scene in motion. As seen in one of the figures, the handkerchief is a typical prop for female characters. It also accentuates the subjects' demure and flirtatious qualities, which they use to hide and cover their faces.