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.
Street Scene in oil is undated, but there are a few clues as to the time of this image. Public street parking was introduced in Singapore in 1980. From the 80s into the early 90s, many areas in Singapore were undergoing urban renewal, gradually altering the nature of communities and the landscape in Singapore. Here, Lim captures workers and their wares in old woven baskets that usually stow fruits and vegetables. The old-fashioned shopfront with canvas awnings and laundry hanging from the windows above are subtly contrasted with the visibly modern, tall building in the background. The parking sign in front also reminds us that the work may be from the 20th or 21st century.
Like artists of his generation, Lim was engaged in the evolution of his community and landscape. In the same way that many artists sought to paint the older areas like the Singapore River, Chinatown and erstwhile ‘kampongs’, Lim also aimed to capture life before his visual panorama altered forever. Street scene is an excellent example of this.