Chua CC Fund

Chua Cheng Chye

Our teacher/headmaster/scout master/boys brigade captain/choir master/church leader/church youth counsellor/ friend etc. Mr. Chua CC passed away in 2008. Since then  many old boys and friends who knew him have got together to honour him and they have put the ChuaCC Fund in memory of him and his work,love and generosity of spirit. Read more…

Farewell to a much-loved monk/artist

Bo-Yuen painting in his studio.

APRIL 14 — There are quite a few festivals that fall in April. For the Chinese community, there’s the annual Ts’ing-ming when they visit the graves in honour of their ancestors.

For the Christians they observe Good Friday and Easter, the death and rebirth of their saviour Jesus Christ. And the Thais who live here celebrate Songkran, the annual water festival signalling their lunar New Year.

It is in this mixed mood of death and birth that I write about two nonagenarian Malaysian artists. The venerable Bo-Yeun, 96, passed away this week and Fung Yow Chork, 91, is critically ill in hospital (I shall write about him in another article).

In the early years, there were two well-known artists/monks in Penang. One was the late venerable Chuk Mor from the Triple Wisdom Temple and the other was Bo-Yeun from the Kek Lok Si  temple. After many years, Bo-Yuen left Penang in 1961 to set up the Hu-Bin Vihara in Petaling Jaya.

They were among the first batch of young monks who migrated from Fujian, China, to serve in the local temples. Their passing marks the end of that line of descendants from China.

Read more…

Art and the marketplace

Mohamad Najib ahmad Dewa, Director General of the National Art Gallery

APRIL 12 – For 20 years or more, if you were a Malaysian artist, not in the popular line-up, yet one of those lucky ones with your artwork in the National Art Gallery’s (NAG) collection, you’ll probably have a quibble with NAG because you can’t find any of your works on display in the premier art institution. Why?

There could be many reasons for this distressing situation. One was that there was simply no deliberate policy, in the past, to display a sample of ever artist, past and present, old and young, of the 3,800 artworks in their collection, for the public to get an overview and judge for themselves what sort of artistic talents we have in the country.

But thanks to the current Director General of NAG, Mohamad Najib Ahmad Dewa, many things have changed. The 54-year-old, who has a PhD in textiles, was the former Dean of the University Science Malaysia’s Centre for Art Studies. He took over the helm of NAG in 2007.

Najib’s own artistic career has also seen many changes; starting as a batik artist at Central Market in Kuala Lumpur, he went on to university and later became an academic before moving on to the top job as custodian of Malaysian art.

NAG is now more inviting and informative about the general cultural wealth and health of the country. There are many more art activities by or endorsed by NAG in and outside the premises in Jalan Temerloh.

Read more…

Art reflects life

MARCH 1 – This black-and-white photograph of an artificial right leg without the body is an unusual and intriguing sight.

How many of us have come across this uncommon situation in the mainstream of our normal daily life? Normally, it is usual to meet a person without one or both of their legs but never a leg without the other limb and the rest of the body. Whose leg is this and where is the body? What is it doing there? This is surreal.

Where did this incongruous image come from? This bizarre portrait of a single prosthetic right leg with its shoe on and in a pair of blue jeans, set in a men’s changing room, is now on show at the photographic exhibition “Empathy”.

This is the third collection of my photographs focusing on people with various disabilities going about doing sports and other activities and enjoying their life.

Read more…

Ibrahim Hussein (1936-2009): A tribute

Ibrahim Hussein, My father and the astronaut, acrylic painting, 1970.

FEB 19 — Ibrahim Hussein, who died early this morning, was the artist almost every working Malaysian artist, especially the Malays, looked up to in terms of local and international artistic achievement and financial success.

The price of his works, before his untimely death, is easily above RM500,000 and this is also why his works are well sought after as an art investment.

In my opinion, he was undoubtedly seated at the head of the artistic table before his death. In the second place, the position was open and it was a choice between Latiff Mohidin and Syed Ahmad Jamal. Now that the first place is vacant, who will take the spot is a matter of interest and for another article.

Why was he at the top?

Well, he started his artistic career in the ‘60s together with Anthony Lau, Jolly Koh, Cheong Laitong, Latiff Mohidin and Syed Ahmad Jamal, the six major creative personalities at that time. They had all just returned from their art training abroad and the National Art Gallery and art community welcomed them with open arms.

The emergence of this young — and at that time new — talents somewhat overshadowed the pioneer painters like Yong Mun Sen, Hoessein Enas, Chuah Thean Teng, Tay Hooi Keat and a few more artists.

But it was these older artists that first started Ibrahim or Ib’s interest in art.

Read more…