Ong Kim Seng, born in 1945 and one of Singapore’s best known watercolourists, is largely a self-taught artist who learnt by observing pioneer watercolourists Lim Cheng Hoe (1912-1979) and Gog Sing Hooi (1933-1994) who painted by the Singapore River on Sundays. Ong, whose first solo exhibition in 1979 featured works from his 1978 trek to the Himalayas, became a full-time artist in 1985. In 1999 Ong was awarded the Cultural Medallion by the Singapore government, and in 2000 the prestigious Dolphin Fellowship by the American Watercolour Society, the only Asian to receive such an honour. ‘Beo Crescent’ is one of a group of works Ong began in 2007 that features a faint historical scene superimposed onto a contemporary one. In this painting of Beo Crescent, an early public housing estate built on the site of the devastating 1961 Bukit Ho Swee fire, a poignant contrast is created by the juxtaposition of people scavenging and a street that is today known for its Teochew food.