MALAYSIAN artists have given traditional Chinese ink paintings a local twist, creating art pieces beyond the familiar topics of landscape and bird-and-flower.
The localised contents, such as the attap houses, tropical plants and Thaipusam celebration, are immortalised on the xuan paper with the traditional brush techniques.
Oriental Art & Cultural Centre (OACC) director Chin Yuen Seam said she believed that the local artists were not only on par with their counterparts in China, but had also developed their unique style of expression.
“Both use the same paper, brushes, colours and techniques but Malaysian artists are noted for the new and creative composition of their paintings,” she said.
Forty-six artworks of 24 local artists are now exhibited at OACC in its contemporary ink painting exhibition.
Highlighted as the main exhibits are two distinctive creations of OACC honorary director Dr Cheah Thien Soong.
His paintings feature several panels which are individually painted and then combined into an artwork.
“As a result, a painting portrays views from different angles and perspectives,” Chin explained.
Other prominent artists featured in the exhibition are Chin, Yap Hong Ngee, Yee Sze Fook, Hon Peow, Dr Foo Yong Kong, Chong Buck Tee and Loo Fah Sang.
If not for Chin, who was explaining the art pieces, one would not have imagined that Chia Woon Chu’s painting of roosters and chicks was painted with his fingers and not paint brushes.
Chua Siaw Choo’s Window series, on the other hand, were peppered with a dose of playfulness.
The viewers had to observe the artworks patiently to identify the small objects, such as attap houses, people living in the houses, banana trees and chickens.
Amid the attractive realistic pieces were bewildering abstract pieces.
June Yap’s artworks of bold and solid colours were said to be inspired by the native art she saw during her travels.
At a glance, Lum Weng Kong’s painting looked like it was made up of only a few fast and powerful strokes in black and orange hues.
Closer examination revealed an excerpt of a patriotic poem Man Jiang Hong written on the painting. The painting was a depiction of Yue Fei, a military general of the Southern Song Dynasty.
The only acrylic pieces in the exhibition were the works of Liu Shu Nei.
“She has employed the Chinese gongbi techniques when drawing the water lilies and their seed heads,” Chin explained.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Dr Foo Yong Kong will be giving a talk on Traditional and Contemporary Ink Painting Appreciation tomorrow at OACC from 2pm to 4.30pm.
OACC is located at No. 10 & 12, 2nd & 3rd Floor, Pusat Elken, Jalan 1/137C, 5th Mile, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours are from 11am to 7pm (Tuesday to Sunday). Closed on Mondays and public holidays.