Saturday, June 21, 2008

Londoners to get a taste of Malaysian Watercolours At Malaysia Week

Next month, between 30 July and 3 August 2008, Londoners watercolour lovers will get a chance to see Malaysian watercolourists in action. Five Malaysian watercolourists - five Malays and a Chinese - will be representing the nation's aquamedia fraternity in London during the Malaysia Week, an annual cultural and arts extravaganza.

There will be two venues, but the Malaysian watercolourists will be based at Potters Fields Park, Tooley Street, Southwark, London SE1. Between 10.00am and 6.00pm London time, daily, they will be showing off their works and perhaps, if time permits, even paint or two.

If you love watercolour art, this is your chance to grab hold of some very good and rare work of Malaysian artists.

This writer is not at liberty to release any names as all have been kept under wraps by the organisers lest it triggers unwarranted debates and ill-feelings among those not selected for the overseas event.

Suffice to say, these are seasoned artists and their works have appeared in this site.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Liew Choong Ching Introduces New Concept

Love: 40" x 60"

Artist Liew Choong Ching, who has just tied the knot, has informed switched to concept art. Leading this is his Button series, in various sizes and done in oil.

If you recall, Liew debuted with his very interesting Balinese series and later his frangipanni and mangosteen, before moving to Penang and established himself there with his abstract portraitures, which exhibited to much success last year.

Happiness, 56" by 56"

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Malaysian Art Through The Ages

Iconic work in acrylic - 49 Squares by Tang Tuck Kan

THE National Art Gallery is holding a SusurMasa exhibition featuring art through the ages in Malaysia. This is one of the rare opportunities to look at the history of art as well as get to know the artists and artisans who were pioneers in their own field.

If you are in Kuala Lumpur, check them out. Admission is free and the National Art Gallery has this time done a good job to showcase the works. Even unframed oils have been displayed behind a protective perspex board, thus barring itchy fingers from scratching the surface of these age-old work and defacing them.

I am expecially impressed by the collection of watercolour greats such as AB Ibrahim, Abdullah Ariff, AJ Rahman, and of course, the Father of Malaysian watercolour, Yong Mun Sen. Rare among the lot are those by Chang Fee Ming, Long Tien Shih, Chung Cheng Sun and Tew Nai Tong. You also get to see oils and acrylics, both impressionistic art as well as abstracts.

A rare piece by Long Tien Shih in oil

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Watercolours Class Art - Update So Far: We have 6, Can we get another 4?

If you recall, I posted an earlier piece on watercolour class art to be organised by a watercolour artist in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Like all painting classes, this one will be held outdoor at a venue of the artist's choosing. This will allow for creative expression according to each student's expression and impression.

At the moment, there are already six readers of this blog who have expressed an interest to learn from the artist. I am waiting for four more to hand over the artist's contact numbers to you people to contact.

Note that I am not the person holding the course. I am merely helping the artist to gather this small group. Do not send me any payment. Once the number reaches 10, I will have over your contacts to the artist and you will have to register with him.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Can You Live On Art Alone?

Came across this news some time back. It was to highlight the success of a local Malaysian Chinese artist - a digital artist or photographer if you like, but nevertheless the artist.

Read on:

Malaysian’s work of art fetches RM117,000 at Christie’s

KUALA LUMPUR: A digital art piece called Huminodun by Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann was sold for more than RM100,000 at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Saturday.

The work is one of Yee’s “Kinabalu series” which explores the eroded spiritual power of a Kadazandusun woman and her shifting relationship to her land.

Huminodun is based on the Kadazandusun creation story where a woman created the earth and padi and thus created her community.

Yee said she was shocked to hear about her piece being sold for US$38,000 (RM117,000).

This is the picture that made heads turn.

Stories like this are few and far in between.

How many ever made it to international acclaim? Is Malaysia suffering from such a artistic drought that every once in five or ten years someone makes it big out there?

Do we have good Malaysian artists for that matter?

The often exchanged advice to beginning artists is this: If you want to make it, go overseas. That used to be true. Not anymore, I think. Air travel and information exchange have never been easier and I think there is a fair share of foreign conglomerates that are based in Malaysia who have been contributors to art in their homeland. I have however yet to know of any that contributes to local art scene. Why this is so is pretty obvious.

If you have been following the art scene, you would not be amazed. Or surprised. If you have been talking to artists, especially the talented and struggling ones, you will know that a handful few would compete fiercely for the little that goes around. And what have the people appointed to take charge of the arts scene in Malaysia?

I have been proposing for a proper art marts in Kuala Lumpur since the demise of the Laman Seni. Is it any wonder? Here, we have a good concept that is drawing crowd way back in 2006-07.

Despite the lack of promotions, the art mart was only beginning to draw crowd. And wham, one day, it ended out of the blue - it was shifted to Putrajaya.

The intention was good - but ill planned. Not many art enthusiasts can make the 40km journey south of the capital. Not many tourists know where it was although many would have read up about the location of Kuala Lumpur's galleries, and the National Art Gallery, and could easily take a bus, cab or even walk there. And what happened was the demise - already predicted by the artists who were invited to showcase their art at the Zouk. Unfortunately, none wanted to offend the authorities and kept quiet.

Today, the motley crew of artists who used to take part in the once-a-month event are spread all over the Klang Valley. Some struggling to make ends meet, others having switched to art-related events which they could use their skill.

Looking back, one wonders if an artist can truly call himself a fulltime artist and live on his/her artistic creations alone. With rising prices, the future doesn't look too good. And I sympathise with them...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Are you Aware of This Artists Day?

I was going through the website of the National Museum and found this entry:

29 May 2008
Location : Merdeka Hall, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Synopsis : The Launching of National Artist Day 2008
Time : 9.30 am - 12.30 pm
Merdeka Hall, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur
The Launching of Artist Day is to appreciate the contribution and roles of local artises in shaping Malaysia as kind-hearted, highly sprited and valued arts and culture as part of their life through arts programmes.
Artist Day will officially be launched by Y.A.B Dato' Seri abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi and will be participated by artistes, local performers that have been contributing in the local entertainment industry.
Everyone is invited.
Malaysia National Film Development Cor[oration (FINAS)

This post was taken in its entirety - including the spelling mistakes.

I have asked several artists and they said they knew nothing of this sort. I pondered and found out what happened. The artists here meant artist-es. The people who perform on stages, singers and dances and choreographers.

Not THE ARTIST you and I know. I now know why artists I asked knew nothing of the event. Whether the event was held or not, I am also unsure as I did not remember seeing it in the papers, heard it on the radio or see it on television.

Which brings me to another question:

Do you think we can actually have an ARTISTS DAY dedicated to the true artists in Malaysia, celebrated or struggling, to recognise their contribution? I am talking about the real artists not artistes. Perhaps, even an ARTS DAY.

Artists in Malaysia have been divided both by status and accomplishments. For a nation marching towards developed status, it will be a pity if we continue to neglect the sculptors and documentators of our journey.