Known for his fantastical realistic artworks in ink, Singaporean-born Koh Liang Jiang was trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and graduated with a Diploma in Western Painting in 2014. Koh’s body of works reflects the rigorous draughtsman training at the Academy, executed with a contemporary interpretation of the traditional medium. Influenced by legends, stories from ancient mythology and modern science fiction, Koh’s focus resides in the fantasy realm, albeit with varying connections to real life. His preferred choice of medium is papyrus, which allows him to render intricate and complex ink lines.
In this compelling drawing, Koh seeks to portray a fantastical reimagining of the original story of the discovery and founding of Singapura by the Srivijayan prince, Sang Nila Utama of Palembang. Requiem features the Merlion, a mythical creature iconic to the city in the foreground and an old English warship arriving on the shores set against a backdrop of ancient ruins resembling a postapocalyptic cityscape of Singapore. This re-imagination of the collision of Singapore’s ancient, colonial and modern past memorialises the complexity of Singapore’s history and identity.