The founding principal of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Lim Hak Tai, was one of Singapore’s most notable artists. Adept in Western oil painting, Chinese ink painting and calligraphy, Lim integrates Western and Chinese techniques while portraying Southeast Asian subject matter. This style of work is known as the “Nanyang style”. Lim ensured that the school he established embraced similar sentiments. The curriculum was one of the first schools in Asia to strike a balance between Western and Chinese art traditions in the curriculum, an initiative that NAFA still embraces today.
The oil painting Flowers highlights Lim’s proficiency in Western painting. The vibrant colours, produced with gestural strokes, work harmoniously to imbue vibrancy into this still-life. In the middle, the white flower brings contrast to the entire piece. The artist cleverly builds texture on acrylic to inject some character and life into the scene.