Art Talk


The next time you are shopping in Bangsar Village II, Kuala Lumpur, take a walk across the road to Jalan Telawi 3 and upstairs to Lux Art Gallery and shop for some art - to paraphrase the Director General of National Art Gallery at Lux Art Gallery’s official opening on 19 August, 2017. 

In preparations for its opening, the Lux Art Gallery management team was looking to invite a guest of honour from the National Art Gallery (Malaysia).  Due to the short notice of their invitation, they were greatly surprised and honoured that the Director General himself would take time off from his weekend to come all the way from his tranquil home in Pahang to busy downtown KL.  But he did ! 

Owners, Teo Cheng Chuah and wife, Coco Shan flanking Dato’ Najib

Such is the commitment of Prof Dato’ Dr. Najib Mohamed Ahmad Dawa,  a man who has lived the life of an artist,  an art academician and now, once again heads the National Art Gallery of Malaysia.

He was also accompanied by Dr. Abdul Rahim Said, business coach and mentor to the “Young Art Entrepreneur (YAE)” initiative, the brainchild of Dato’ Najib Ahmad Dawa.

From left : Dato’ Najib, Dr. Abdul Rahim & Dato’ Abdul Jalil Othman (artist)

One may ask- Why is entrepreneurship important to an artist? By his own account, when Dato’ was a young, struggling artist in KL, he was unaware about the business of art and wished that he had the resources that are available now. But he concurred that even in art school nowadays, not much emphasis is placed on developing the skills to manage a business and all the challenges that goes with it.

So this pioneer batch of 7 selected art students from diverse backgrounds and artistic medium were given a 5-day YAEs boot camp training where mentors, coaches and invited guests share entrepreneurial know-how in the areas of finance, business planning, business law, marketing, project management, budgeting, etc. This was followed by a 6-month stint aimed at changing the mindset and putting theory to practice, although not sacrificing their artistic integrity but to be more savvy when handling the practicalities of the business of art.

Prof Dato’ Dr. Najib Ahmad Dawa  and owner, Teo Cheng Chuah

In the past, the National Art Gallery has supported artists usually by acquiring their paintings and organising art exhibitions and sponsorships. Now, the National Art Gallery (name changed back) sees its role grow to encompass other aspects of assisting artists, such as the YAE and also bringing big corporations to the ‘Balai Seni’, to educate their staff, their executives so that they can also enjoy the joys of art appreciation and hopefully create more art buyers and passionate collectors.

In conclusion, he hoped that commercial galleries like Lux Art Gallery will work together with the National Art Gallery to support these YAEs. 

Back to his earlier advice, instead of spending thousands for a bag or watch, he encouraged everyone, to come and view and buy art of equal price range but has appreciative investment value and art can also be soothing or inspiring or bring back memories because when we view art that resonates with us, we feel a connection with the piece. 


Ribbon-cutting ceremony with (from left) Pn Zanita, Dato’ Najib and Teo Cheng Chuah


51-1 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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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.