Lim Yew Kuan was born in Xiamen in 1928. He was a distinguished alumnus, artist and educator who dedicated more than three decades to nurturing and transforming the arts in Singapore. He served as NAFA’s second principal from 1963 to 1979, succeeding his father, Lim Hak Tai. Lim trained at NAFA and graduated in Western Art in 1950. From 1958 to 1962, Lim went to the Chelsea School of Art, London, to study design and printmaking. For his talent and artistic achievements, he was awarded the Cultural Medallion, Singapore’s highest accolade for artistic excellence and contribution to the visual arts. The artist passed away in May 2021.
NAFA at Orchard depicts an en plein air painting session held at NAFA, where he taught until 1994. En plein air painting is a practice of drawing and painting outdoors, a crucial aspect of NAFA’s Western painting curriculum. Most often, plein air paintings do not merely demonstrate a technical approach but also a distinct spirit of openness. Here, Lim captured the spontaneity of the atmosphere; a large crowd of curious onlookers attracted by the live painting demonstration while the artists and model remained preoccupied with their activities. The loose brushstrokes within this careful composition speak to Lim’s proficiency in the Impressionist style and his ability to encapsulate the vibrant carnival-like atmosphere within a frame.