Tay Bak Koi

1939 - 2005


Tay Bak Koi | 郑木奎 (b. 1939, Singapore; d. 2005, Singapore) was a second generation artist known for his oil and watercolour portrayals of local scenes. His ubiquitous stylised fishing villages, kampong scenes, waterfalls, buffaloes and later, urban landscapes have won him much popularity. His style combined realism and fantasy, a product of the Nanyang style of blending modernist and Chinese painting. Tay trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (circa 1957). He studied under pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng, who encouraged him to challenge conventional art forms.

Tay has exhibited in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Middle East, Europe and the United States of America. These included Impression: The Art of Tay Bak Koi at the National Museum Art Gallery (1990), the inaugural exhibition at the National Museum Art Gallery (1976), the Singapore Art Exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel (1980), and the 1st and 2nd Brunei-Singapore Art Exhibition at the National Museum Art Gallery (1989 and 1990).

In 1970, Tay was commissioned by the Hilton Hotel in Singapore to create 300 works. His works have also been collected by Singtel, public and private corporations and private collectors, among others.