The last tiger show

Hu-Kun, artist from China,’Taming the Tiger’, ink painting

The tiger, now an endangered species of wild life, mainly due to increasing number of poachers and deforestation, is found only in a few natural habitats. We are fortunate that in the Malayan jungle, in the 1950s (though they were already being hunted then), there were about 3,000  of these magnificent creatures.

Now it’s estimated that only 500 are alive (WWF sources).

Our nation’s emblems, crest and coat-of-arms, proudly carry the signs of the tiger. We also put the “tiger” in our car petrol tank. Many drink the “tiger” beer. And the Malayan Banking logo also uses the tiger as a symbol of strength and national pride.

In India, there are only 1,200-1,500 White Bengal tigers around. The Siberian tiger is down to 350-450 in the whole of Russia. Thailand and Vietnam have about 1,000 Indo-Chinese tigers. Sumatra has between 400 to 500 of their Sumatran creatures. The tigers in China are almost extinct except for those kept in their zoos.

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Langkawi Geoparks

Langkawi, the magnificient karst landsacpe of Kilim

Why do people visit Langkawi? A lot of people go there to buy or sell duty free goods. Some go there to buy or sell airplanes during the annual international air show. Tourists go to the islands for the beautiful tropical beaches and sun. Others go there to work in the tourist industry, the main economic backbone of the island.

However, there is a growing number who go there not just for its unique geographic settings of the hills, sea, beaches and sun but to know more about its 550 million years old geological history and its landscape.

In 2007, Langkawi, part of the state of Kedah, was given a new concept, geopark, by Unesco. Not long ago it was popularly called eco-tourism and before that, it was fragmented into nature, marine, forest and cultural reserves.

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Making art first, second & third

Tan Hon Yin in his studio/house in Penang

Tang Hon Yin, 67, was a geography teacher and later a State Education Director, in Penang for more the 30 years.  After school hours, his artistic passion was painting but now he does it whenever he likes. He is currently the chairman of the Penang Art Gallery.

For many years he has been producing paintings with Nature as the main subject. His first solo exhibition “Water Margin” was in 1983 in Penang. The collection was later shown in Kuala Lumpur in 1986. His latest series “Silk Road” was shown in 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.

Though he didn’t go to art school but through his many trips abroad, on his own initiative, he adopted two artistic parents, the American artists Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkom. They were his main inspirations. Tang admired the two artists for their use of colours and shapes and compositions.

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Autism, no barrier to communication

Ahmad A Khairuddin’s ‘ Cityscape’

A group of artists — all autistic — got together and held an exhibition recently to celebrate United Voice’s own building.

A self-advocacy society for people with learning disabilities in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, United Voice (UV) has been around since 1995.

After successfully raising more than RM1 million through various fund-raising events and donations, UV finally managed to purchase their own space this year.

The ground floor is their showroom and training centre where baking classes and craft making workshops are held while the first floor houses an art gallery.

It was in this gallery that the works of Nurul A. Rahman, Tan Seng Kit, Nadiah A. Jalil, Damiem Wong and Ahmad A. Khairuddin were shown.

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Mountains and Artists

Syed Ahmad Jamal, Between Haven and Earth

Nature has always been an inspiration for artists throughout the ages. Mountains, in particular, have inspired many regional landscape painters.

From China there has been a long history of artists who painted the many outstanding geological features of their physical geography. Some of these artworks besides depicting the shapes and designs of mountain formations in great detail also conveyed clear information of the various geological compositions of their landscapes.

One of the most well-known Japanese artists, Hokusai, from the Edo period, made colour wood block prints of a series of 36 views of Mount Fuji. The Great Wave of Kenagawa done in 1831 is one of Hukusai’s signature compositions of this collection of early postcards of Japan.

Cezanne paid homage to his boyhood home in Provence by painting the Mont Sainte-Victoire in Aix at least 60 times from 1885 to 1906. His devotion to a single hillock slightly over 1,000m in his backyard set the modern standard of painting and looking at European landscapes since the Renaissance.

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