TAY BAK KOI
B. Singapore, 1939 – 2005
Signed “Bak Koi” on the middle
Watercolour on paper
41.5 x 43 cm x 2 pieces
Provenance Private Collection Singapore
Illustrated on page 183 in the “777, Celebrating 7 Illustrious Years at KLAS” coffee table book published by KLAS in February 2019
Second-generation Singaporean artist, Tay Bak Koi is fondly known for his illustrations of urban landscapes, fishing villages and ‘kampung’. He was born in 1939. His artistic beginnings came from an innate talent and potential, which was later recognised by his father’s friend, who subsequently enrolled him in the prestigious Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) in 1957.
To date, his works have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, including Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Japan and the United States. One can discern that Tay’s artistic career has gone through a distinct evolution. When he began in 1964, his works emanated a strong resemblance to his mentor, Cheong Soo Pieng’s. Then, as Tay gained experience and grew in experimentation, his art started to come to life in a unique way.
The Singaporean landscapes in Tay’s paintings thrive on a palette dominated by neutral colours. Their complexity and richness both in texture and form far surpass those of his earlier paintings. Progressing from the bold and abstract, Tay’s works subsequently embodied a dreamlike quality, often blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, emitting a sense of tranquillity, and even timelessness.