Home Magazine A Journey Through Malaysian Art

The Colourful World of Malaysian Visual Art - A Celebration of Diversity. Read the article to discover more.

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Malaysia has a long history of traditional arts, including textiles, weaving, pottery,  woodcarving, fabric dyeing technique and many more which continue to be practiced and celebrated today. In addition to these traditional forms, Malaysian artists have today embraced modern and contemporary styles and mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation art and performance art.

They often explore a variety of themes and subjects in their works, drawing inspiration from the country's rich cultural heritage, natural environment, and contemporary social issues. Some common elements that they often explore include:

Culture and heritage - Many Malaysian artists create works that celebrate the country's diverse cultural heritage, incorporating traditional motifs and symbols into their designs. One of the most important influences on Malaysian art has been the country's multi-ethnic and multicultural society, which has given rise to a rich and diverse artistic tradition that reflects the country's many cultural influences. Malaysian art draws on a range of cultural traditions, including indigenous, Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western, among others.

Haron Mokhtar. Baba-Nyonya Series: Talam and Rantang, 2022. Courtesy of The Art People Gallery.

Nature and the environment - Malaysia's lush natural environment and resources are a frequent inspiration for artists, who create works that reflect the country's diverse flora and fauna. They can be seen by the existence of flora and fauna motives in the various art related to the life of Malay traditional society. The major parts of vegetations such as flowers, shoots, fruits, seeds and roots became the basic motives to create patterns.

Lisa Wong Sook Kuan. Keep on Shining, 2023. Courtesy of The Art People Gallery

Social and political issues - Some Malaysian artists use their works to comment on contemporary social and political issues, including questions of identify, inequality, corruption, and environmental issues, as well as issues related to globalization, and urbanization that have shaped its development over the years.

Mythology and folklore - Malaysian artists also draw inspiration from the country's rich mythological and folkloric traditions, creating works that depict mythical creatures and legendary figures.

Afi Sulaiman. Hawflakes, 2022. Courtesy of The Art People Gallery

In recent years, Malaysia's art scene has become increasingly recognised globalized, with artists and works from the country gaining greater recognition on the international stage. This has helped to further the development of Malaysian art, as artists are exposed to new ideas and influences from around the world.

The Malaysian art market has grown significantly in recent years, as interest in Malaysian art has increased both locally and internationally. The market includes a range of buyers, including collectors, galleries, museums, and institutions, as well as individual art enthusiasts.

One of the key drivers of the Malaysian art market has been the country's growing economy and expanding middle class, which has resulted in increased demand for art and cultural experiences. This has led to the emergence of a number of private galleries and art spaces across the country, which showcase the work of both established and emerging Malaysian artists.

In addition, several high-profile art events and exhibitions are held annually in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, which attract art collectors and enthusiasts from around the world.

The Malaysian government has also been supportive of the country's art scene, providing funding and support for local artists and institutions, and promoting Malaysian art on the global stage.

Lisa Wong Sook Kuan. The Art of Self Care, 2022. The Art People Gallery

Overall, Malaysia’s artistic community is a rich and diverse field that reflects the country's unique cultural heritage, as well as its place in the global art world. But the Malaysian art market is still relatively small compared to other international art markets, such as those in Europe or the United States. However, it is a growing and dynamic market with a log of potential for growth and development in the years to come.

Current Show

The Art People Gallery, partnered with the Plaza Premium Lounge in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on an inspirational tour of Malaysian spirit through a specially curated exhibition, highlighting nine local, emerging, and established artists. Each artists conveys an insighted into the culture and traditions of Malaysia on the canvas, through their own lenses and style, granting visitors who visit the lounge a glimpse into Malaysia.

Ting Cho Chien. Peaceful Land No.15, 2020. Courtesy of The Art People Gallery

Upcoming Shows

This Merdeka (Malaysia Independence Day) season, The Art People Gallery (TAPG) and the Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown are proud to present A Tapestry of Tales: A Merdeka Art Exhibition. Malaysia has had an incredibly storied path, from her beginnings as a trading port, her independence from the Colonial British, and now her present as a piercing skyline. What better way to tell her tale than through the handiwork of six talented artists: Ahmad Amirul, Ellis Khan, Fakhriq Zulkifli, Harris Rashid, Kho Xun Fu and Liu Cheng Hua. These artists are the assigned storytellers in this ode to Malaysia’s history, present and future, right in the heart of one of Kuala Lumpur’s most historic districts. Stay tuned for the exhibition information in the next coming weeks. The exhibition is scheduled to run from 19 August to 3rd September 2023.

About The Art People Gallery (TAPG)

The Art People Gallery (TAPG) is a Malaysian homegrown art space established in 2015. With its flagship situated in Malaysia, the gallery is a celebration of creativity, openness, talent and generosity. Committed to innovation, TAPG highlights a diverse range of modern and contemporary art and represents both prominent living and promising budding artists from Malaysia and Southeast Asian spheres.

Together with TAPG’s international arm in Hong Kong inaugurated in August 2018, TAPG strive to inculcate understanding and awareness about the art realm through its line-up of art exhibitions, fairs, talks and digital platform where the gallery engages both local and global individual and corporate collectors.

Cover Image: Chong Soon Leong. Hide and Seek, 2020. Courtesy of The Art People Gallery.

Written by: Joy Ee Lum – Szwarcberg.

Stay Tuned on Kooness Art Magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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