Singaporean artist Lim Tze Peng will turn 100 years old on September 28 according to his Chinese traditional age. He is celebrating the milestone with the launch of his first virtual exhibition, A Century of Memories, in collaboration with Singapore’s Ode to Art gallery, featuring 20 new works of the city state’s scenes which he painted from memory. Born in 1921, Lim is famous for capturing Singapore’s changing cityscape by blending traditional Chinese ink-painting techniques with scenes from contemporary city life. His works of old buildings in Chinatown and along the Singapore River that have since been demolished – victims of the city’s rapid modernisation – have resonated with buyers worldwide. In 2012, the self-taught artist made headlines when his Chinese ink painting Singapore River Scene sold for HK$620,000 (about US$80,000 / S$102,000 at the time) at Christie’s Hong Kong, the first time a work by a living Singaporean artist had fetched more than S$100,000 at an international auction. Focusing on his art, he says, has kept him both physically and mentally healthy throughout Singapore’s “ circuit breaker ” period of lockdown measures the city state adopted in April (though eased recently) to contain the spread of Covid-19. “During lockdown I spent a lot of time working on my painting and calligraphy – discipline is important to my craft. It’s helped me keep a sense of normalcy,” says Lim via email. “My energy has always come from my will to paint. Art drives me – even as I’m reaching 100 years old, I need to stay energetic to be able to climb the stairs to my studio on the second floor of my house, and I need a strong arm to wield my brush to breathe life into my art.” He says holding a physical exhibition in Singapore would be dangerous these days, so he is grateful to Ode to Art for the opportunity to share his art with collectors in a safe way. “I hope families can look at it together, and the [different] generations can take this opportunity to spend time and learn from one another, with the young ones managing the technology while the elderly can share about their own memories of our city.” Fellow Singapore-based artist Hong Zhu’an has also embraced technology, with his virtual exhibition Becoming and Being, also in collaboration with Ode to Art, now live. Hong, 65, who was born in Shanghai and is trained in both Chinese and Western painting, is known for blending scroll painting with Western abstraction. “I’m a very old-school person. I started practising calligraphy at the age of four, and 60 years later, my process is still the same. All I need is paper, ink, brush – and a clear mind,” he says. Spending more time at home during lockdown has meant fewer distractions and more appreciation for the simple things in life, he says. “There has been a lot more peace and quiet in my life. I feel more focused and have been able to dive deeper into my creative process,” he says. “My family and I have had to adapt. We had to home school our two young children, and maintain contact with friends and family in new ways. But this episode of our lives confirmed that simply being at home, with a brush in hand and a kitchen [in which] to cook for my family, is what brings me the most contentment and joy.” The situation put him in the mood to explore new directions in his discipline, he says. “In Becoming and Being, the pieces are more abstract, more meditative … My paintings reflect my personal journey, so it makes sense that this introspective experience translates into more contemplative works.” A Century of Memories by Lim Tze Peng runs from September 28 to October 28. Becoming and Being by Hong Zhu’an runs until September 17.