Born in Singapore in 1947, Poon Lian graduated from NAFA in 1969 and majored in Western Painting. He learnt Chinese ink painting under pioneer artist Chen Wen Hsi and is adept at Western and Chinese painting techniques. While running his own business, Poon Lian contributed to NAFA in various capacities as an alumnus and continued his art practice. He retired in 2003 and became a full-time artist to paint and travel. In 2020, he was named the Ngee Ann Artist of the Year for his achievements and contribution to the local artist community.
Influenced by his teachers at NAFA and peers, Poon Lian enjoys sojourns around Southeast Asia and regions in Nepal, Taiwan, and China to capture landscapes and imbibe the daily rhythms of life in his paintings. He blends traditional Chinese ink with Eastern and Western practices, as seen in the work Just Before the Competition. Poon Lian captures a bird singing competition at the void deck just before the beginning of the competition. Each cage is depicted in unique patterns and colours, perhaps suggesting the heterogenous qualities of the birds in this collection. The vibrancy and excitement in the image testify Poon Lian’s mastery of capturing the emotions of a scene.