Born 1916 Sarawak, Malaysia


Source: National Archives


Lim Nang Seng (born 1916 Kuching, Sarawak) was a pioneer of sculpture in Singapore (many articles refer to him as a "craftsman"). According to his entry in the Sculpture '67: Singapore Art Society - First Sculpture Exhibition, he exhibited regularly at the annual art shows of the Singapore Art Society and other shows in Singapore and Malaysia.

"Since 1958, Lim Nang Seng's sculpural works have often been selected for annual art exhibitions in Singapore. He had studied sculptural techniques since young, starting from the making of clay figurines in southern China. During the Second World War, he began sculpting images in a modern style, in Vietnam. He came to Malaya after the war and taught at a Chinese school in Bekok, Johore. By then, his works, which use a local black river clay as medium, have become rather abstract while displaying a character which is typically Malayan. While he had begun to use pottery clay only recently, his works are no less expressive in power and Malayan in thematic consideration for which he received international acclaim. However, because most of his works are small in size, they were not taken seriously."

Source: Ma Ge (Marco Hsu), writing in  History of Malayan Art in 1963

 He is most well-known for creating the Merlion in 1972, that now stands at the front of the Singapore River adjacent to the Fullerton Hotel. A number of his works are under the collection of the National University of Singapore.