Lim Kang Kee is a Singaporean artist. Lim enrolled to study at the now-defunct Singapore Academy of Art, helmed by renowned artist Sun Yee. Beyond his time at the institution, he was also taught by pioneer artist Liu Kang. Both his teachers, trained in western painting, significantly influenced Lim’s art. Like the work of his mentors, Lim’s artworks are meticulous.
Pulau Ubin (granite island in Malay), a small island about 15 kilometres off the north-eastern coast of Singapore, has been and remains a site of many inspired artworks by local painters. Through the decades of the 80s and 90s, a generation of artist flocked out to seek the rural idyll unsullied by modern, urban development. Lim Kang Kee’s painting illustrates two key elements. The first is the tradition of artists seeking inspiration from the unblocked shores and unspoiled greenery of Ubin, and the second, the tradition of artists who enjoyed painting and sketching ‘en plein air’. ‘En plein air’ is a style of working that French artists of the modern period employed, primarily to capture scenes outdoors in the actual light as shown before their eyes. Colour saturation and definitions transform as work is produced outdoors. Working in watercolour also increases the speed at which an image can be created. For Lim, a sketch, and then finishing touches produced this image of Ubin, so named for the granite rock that invokes its lasting spirit of a time our heritage must not lose.