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The Old Dream Maker: Koeh Sia Yong

Publisher: Straits Gallery
  • Description
  • About the Author
  • The Old Dream Maker explores a man's decades-long artistic journey to define himself in a world where the only constant is change. Following Koeh Sia Yong's early works in colonial Singapore, the reader is given an insight into how this socially conscious mindset pervades and influences his later works, crafting narratives that act as bridges across time, space and culture. In the same way, the book aims to give readers an understanding of Koeh's evolution as not just an artist, but as a person.

    Charting the evolution of Singapore from post-war independence to its modern day 21st century iteration, the artist offers an intimate, personal perspective of Southeast Asia. He fills in the gaps of the dominant narrative, and in doing so, continues in the revolutionary tradition of his predecessors, the first-generation Nanyang artists.

    Notably, Koeh never intended to be an artist. It was an off-hand compliment from a neighbour that gave him the idea to become one. It is through a similar chance encounter in Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts that he then joined the Equator Arts Society, one of the small but many important footnotes in his story. His journey, and consequently art, might then be summarised as a series of interconnections - of shifting states between narrative and reality, between cultures and country.

    This book is an effort to represent the complexity of these connections. It is a collection of works written by various people, from all walks of life, about the artist, in the hopes that a balanced view may be achieved. Like his art, perhaps new narratives will emerge.

  • Felicia Chan is a third year student at Nanyang Technological University, pursuing her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English. Having a passion for analysing texts, writing about art was a challenge to adapt to. In this respect, the guidance of her coworkers has been invaluable. Presently, Felicia is also employed as a writer at Straits Gallery, and has helped contribute to the Gallery's first publication, The Old Dream Maker, with a book launch hosted by National Gallery Singapore. Currently, she is working on a similar book about Lim Choon Kee's artworks.

ISBN: 9789811835971
Cover Type: Hard cover
Page Count: 400
Year Published: 2022
Size: 370mm x 270mm