Art Talk

A Visit to The Art Gallery, Penang

Art has no beginning or end because it is always a continuous journey.
My art voyage had finally spread its wings to the island of pearls, Penang along with my pleasant bunch of ArtMalaysia teammates.
Winston Churchill once quipped,“The painter wanders and loiters contentedly from place to place, always on the lookout for some brilliant butterfly of a picture which can be caught and carried safely home.” As for me, the writer, I am impersonating the footsteps of an artist but my quest for art is for the sake of transfiguration and creative realisation in crafting my articles. 
On that fine Monday morning, we breezed into The Art Gallery with a heartwarming welcome by Datin Ivy Lee. She looked refreshingly energetic with her casual attire as she gleefully brought us around the spacious gallery.

 Gleeful smile from Datin Ivy

Datin Ivy & I 
Founded by Dato’ Dr Tan Chee Khuan in 1989, The Art Gallery’s niche and focus is in the promotion and collection of pioneer artists of Malaysia. The gallery has a noble goal to heighten awareness and to educate the public on art, especially on pioneer artists’ works of art.
What’s more, Dato’ Dr Tan Chee Khuan has published more than 30 books on Malaysian arts and artists including Eight Pioneers of Malaysian Art and 200 Malaysian Artists which have been used as reference books by art students and researchers.

 Piles of books written and published by Dato' Dr Tan Chee Khuan
Datin Ivy showed us the book on “Eight Pioneers of Malaysian Art with a supplement on Peter Harris”, showcasing masterpieces from eight pioneer artists of Malaysian art; Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng, Dato’ Tay Hooi Keat, Abdullah Ariff, Kuo Ju Ping, Khaw Sia, Lee Cheng Yong, Yong Mun Sen and Dato’ Mohd Hoessein Enas, with an interesting supplement of Peter Harris.

 Datin Ivy showing us the pioneer artists' masterpieces
I was exceptionally fascinated when Datin Ivy actually led me to Peter Harris’ real paintings in the gallery! According to her, Peter Harris was Malaysia’s first art superintendent and founder of the Wednesday Art Group in KL. .

Browsing through other paintings of pioneer artists in the gallery, I had the chance to experience their emotions, lives and struggles that were painted intricately on their canvases. Their works are significant as they demonstrate the importance of Penang as the first art centre in Malaysia. Indeed, they were a sight to behold! Remember, the work of art lives in the experience and the journey within the process.

Datin Ivy telling a story about one of the pioneer artists

Browsing through the works of art 

Datin Ivy showing more of the 'hidden' works of art

 Datin Ivy's favourite paintings, unveiled!

We thank Datin Ivy for her earnest cooperation in this awe-inspiring interview. I will update all of you, my dear readers once I have the opportunity to meet up personally with Dato’ Dr Tan Chee Khuan for a comprehensive coverage. Till then, stay tuned…

(from left) Datin Ivy, Ms. Aida Sanz, Mr. Liew Kian Yap & I

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the current opinions of the author and should not be construed to reflect the opinions, policies or positions of any entity other than the author's.