Darel Seow and Lee Xin Li
An Unnatural History

Site Specific

Commissioned | Professional

Why did you make this work:
Working together with fellow illustrator Lee Xin Li, this work explores the struggle between man and nature within the heart of Singapore, the world’s greenest city, where Singapore Art Museum (SAM) resides. The mural showcases our varied interests in architecture, culture and nature, and invites viewers to be both curious and critical as they discover the narratives we have created and re-told.

How was the illustration used:
The 40-metre site-specific mural covers the construction hoarding outside SAM, which was the former Catholic High School. While SAM undergoes redevelopment, adding yet another layer of history, the hoarding serves as a large-scale exhibition platform to engage the public. This mural draws on imagination and heritage to reflect the museum’s role as a re-teller of official narratives and histories.

How did you make this work:
As studio mates, we planned to work together in person. However COVID-19 forced us to adapt and work remotely instead, sending massive Photoshop files with hundreds of layers back and forth. We created this work over an intense 9-month period — first building the overall structure by referencing the actual site, buildings and trees, then adding finer details to blend our work with the real world.

Commissioner Name :
Andrea Fam
Commissioner Company :
Singapore Art Museum

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Darel Seow is a visual storyteller who illustrates tales of the natural world with his unique brand of wry wit and whimsy. The illustration graduate from Central Saint Martins believes in using storytelling as a means of engagement to create experiences that simultaneously excite and educate. He has worked with the British Museum, National Museum of Singapore and other cultural institutions on projects that encourage learning through the power of imagination and play.Lee Xin Li is an independent illustrator. Based in Singapore, Lee finds inspiration in the environment he grew up in, drawing on culture, food, architecture and history. An architecture graduate from the National University of Singapore, his love for the comic series The Adventures of Tin Tin by Hergé and Guy Delisle’s travel chronicles motivated him to begin drawing in 2013. His notable works include the Kueh series and Peta Singapura.