The Singapore Currency: An Artistic Expression by LIYU


I was invited to attend the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ (NAFA) BA Fine Art Degree exhibition because I spoke to one of the graduating student on Singapore’s modern currency some moons ago. I thought he was doing some research to write a thesis. Never did I know he was creating ART. 

The following are two of his graduating artwork on display at NAFA’s Lim Hak Thai Gallery.


Happiness, Prosperity and Progress Series no. 1: “To Greater Heights”

The author uses digital collage from Singapore’s four series of currency, including the $50 and $25 commemorative notes, to create his artwork. 

His artwork is intriguing and profound. It uses our currency as a strong expression of our economic progress and pursuit, that is becoming detrimental and weaker groups have fallen through the cracks especially when our social safety nets are weak.

The author “attempts to provoke a reflection on the value system of our society.”


Birds seems to be the key focus here; catching its preys and flying them up into the air before letting them plunge to the ground. The higher you go, the harder you fall?

I think you’ll probably know which banknote the skyline at the background comes from, but do you know where Victoria Concert Hall and the buildings with the brown roofs come from? I’ve no idea. Pls tell us on our Face Book page if you know the answer.

And I spotted a “strange image” at the centre of the artwork that is completely incoherent. Can you see it? Do you know what it means? Tell us on our Face Book page.


What’s Chen Wenxi’s monkey doing on the dome of the old Supreme Court Building? Banana tree? Where does that come from? :-)


Happiness, Prosperity and Progress Series no. 2: “In Celebration”

The focus here seems to be buildings and people. While most are celebrating some are drowning. So an artist is also a sociologist? Yes, very much one! Don’t you agree?


Can you make out where all those buildings come from? And all those spectators cheering? It took me a while to find out but the red building on the right, I have no idea where it comes from. :-(

MBS, the new Singapore skyline, the Science & Art Museum and the Singapore Flyer? I think I missed a lot here :-))) Can someone enlighten me?


All That is Solid

“Plant base jelly. Delightful in the first 8 hours, after that threshold, decay takes over, flies moves in to breed. Likewise, how solid is our economy?” (Excerpt taken from Liyu’s web-page

Philosophical. :-)


According to Erica Lai (BAFA Course Leader), “Liyu attempts to decipher the codes within the Singapore currency system through his experiments in ephemerality and magnifications  Like a tireless conspiracy theorist, Liyu has created a varied body of evidence that is utterly captivating.”I’m not an art critic so I’ll leave it to you to decipher LIYU’s message. And I hope LIYU can tell us more!I hope you like his work. Please join me to congratulate LIYU and The New NINE, and wishing them best of endeavours! 

by Russell Cheong

owner & author of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>