In the 1960s to 70s, I went to many Malay villages (also known as kampongs) to paint on the spot, these villages include the kampong at Tuas, Sembawang, Radin Mas, Kampong Fatimah and the Punggol fishing village.
Kampongs have been a familiar sight since the dawn of Singapore. Now, due to Singapore’s growing population and rapid urban developments, these rustic residences have been forced off of their soils and replaced with those tall concrete slabs of housing across Singapore.
Kampongs were the sturdy roots of Singapore that held the country’s many people as one. They had many people of different cultural backgrounds residing in the same plot of land, allowing them to bond and develop ties with one another, making the little island then more socially stable and harmonious. Simply put, these kampongs are where the authentic culture and heritage of Singapore stems off.
The artworks evoke the primitive feels given off by the kampongs back then. Men were living in houses surrounded by palm trees with thatched roofs and elevated floors. Instead of conventional asphalt roads, they walked on dirt paths. Times were simpler back then.