About the artworkSingaporean artist Frank Zhen has latched on to his signature icon by fusing the stylized red paper-cut head of a lion to the paper-cut body of a fish to form that singular representation of Singapore – a paper-cut merlion! Executed in paint on canvas, they frolic with joyful abandon in auspicious bicolour designs of red and white, which also happen to be the colours of Singapore's national flag. The recent COVID-19 crisis also provided inspiration for a new series where his indomitable merlions don face masks in solidarity to face the world! In Fortitude, the colour introduced in the mask reflects our patriotic artist’s coding for the racial harmony in Singapore society (Blue=Indians, Green=Malays, Yellow=Chinese, Pink=Peranakans, Purple=Eurasians, Orange=Others), and the merlion obediently acquiesces to have its temperature taken.
Art has been a passion for Frank Zhen since his youth, who would as a child spend hours drawing on paper. As he matured, he experienced an intense urge to paint to express his feelings, and undertook a number of short courses in painting from 2006 to 2011. His first solo show launched his signature icon by fusing the stylized red paper-cut head of a lion to the paper-cut body of a fish to form that singular representation of Singapore â€“ a paper-cut merlion, but in paint! His works are usually replete with auspicious bicolour Chinese symbols in red and white, although he is also progressing from linear paper-cut designs to more complex patterning and modelling. Frankâ€™s shows have been covered by Channel NewsAsia on television and the Straits Times in print.