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.Pastel was initially used in place of oil paints during the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), but Liu soon discovered that the luminosity of pastel could better depict the human figure. He began to use pastel for his portraits and earned a reputation as one of the best pastel artists in Southeast Asia.