Born in Fujian Province, Liu Kang (1911-2004) received his formal training in Shanghai Academy of Fine Art, where he was exposed to Chinese paintings. In 1928, he went to Paris where he was influenced by art movements such as Fauvism and Post-Impressionism. Not only was he one of Singapore’s pioneer artists, he was also a leading figure in the Society of Chinese Artists and the Singapore Art Society. In 1970, he was awarded the Public Service Star for his contributions in the field of art.Mainly an oil painter, Liu started using pastel during the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945) as oil paints were not available then. He discovered that the luminous quality of pastel could better depict the human figure and preferred it to oil for his later portraits.