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Artists give Malaysian Twist to traditional Chinese Ink Paintings

Traditional Chinese Ink Painting, Pixabay

Malaysia, April 11, 2017: While traditional Chinese ink paintings are usually associated with scenic landscapes such as mountains, hills, rivers, bamboo forest, pine trees or flowers, a group of local Chinese ink artists have given a Malaysian twist to such Chinese paintings.

They are featured at the Ink Sense Chinese Painting Group Exhibition at contemporary art space L’Atelier Rouge in Jaya One in Petaling Jaya. Six artists are participating in this exhibition.

Collectors and art enthusiasts can spot a distinctly Malaysian flavour or theme in this exhibition, with some works proudly drawing inspiration from traditional kampung settings, rubber trees and batik prints.

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At the show, Ng Yen Tee, 45, whose background is western art, has four artworks based on traditional Malay wooden houses. In her “harmony-centred” works, Ng contemplates on the idea of “home” – for a family and a multi-cultural nation. She uses three colours in her batik designs to symbolise the three dominant races in Malaysia. She also infuses her paintings with a dark ink texture to create a strong contrast for these colours to make each painting “visually more attractive”. Six years ago, she took up Chinese painting lessons from an art teacher in Klang.

Graphic designer Yon Chuk Yim, 48, feels that Chinese ink artworks need not be restricted to traditional themes. She explores a mixture of contemporary techniques, such as color splashes, and overlaying colors over ink.

Yon, whose mentor is Yee Sze Fook, a full time artist, likes to paint on the whim rather than follow a theme.

Veteran artist Shirley Chu Siow Eng, 67, born in Fujian province in China, Chu migrated with her parents to Malaysia when she was five. Choosing rubber trees as her theme, she recalls her younger days when her father explained how rubber plantations provided jobs and resources for the local economy.

Chong Buck Tee, 67, a graduate of the Malaysian Institute of Art 1972, who is one of Malaysia’s foremost Chinese brush painting artists, with a career span of more than 30 years, who has won numerous awards at home and abroad and is currently the president of the Bakti Art Centre in Ampang, and advisor of the Selangor and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Shui-Mo Art Society, loves to paint landscapes. At this exhibition, his striking work, Mystic Landscape, has a refreshingly modern feel. “My works are imaginary but based on what I have seen – either from my travels or from pictures,” says Chong.

Others taking part in the exhibition are Dr Kok Ming Fong and Karen Ng.

– Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself


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Malaysian Rapper’s Dog Video Sparks Claim of Insulting Islam

"I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,"

Wee Meng Chee, left, a Malaysian rapper popularly known as Namewee, is escorted by plainclothes policemen on his arrival at the magistrate court in Penang, Malaysia. VOA

Malaysian police said a popular ethnic Chinese rapper has been detained over complaints that his latest music video featuring dancers wearing dog masks and performing “obscene” moves insulted Islam and could hurt racial harmony.

It was the second time in two years that Wee Meng Chee, popularly known as Namewee, has been investigated over his music videos.

Police said in a statement that Wee was detained Thursday after they received four public complaints that his video marking the Chinese year of the dog had “insulted Islam and could negatively impact racial unity and harmony.”

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In the video entitled “Like a Dog,” Wee sits on a chair in a public square in the government administrative capital of Putrajaya with dancers wearing dog masks around him. Several of them mimic the “doggy-style” sex move. A green domed building in the background led some people to speculate it was filmed in front of a mosque, leading to criticism, but Wee later said it was the prime minister’s office.

The song includes the sounds of dog barks from various countries. In an apparent reference to government corruption, Wee sings that dogs in Malaysia go “mari mari, wang wang,” which in the Malay language means “come come, money money.”

Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims, who account for 60 percent of Malaysia’s 32 million people. Pixabay


Several ministers have called for Wee to be arrested. He has defended the video as a form of entertainment and said he has no intention of disrespecting any race or religion.

Earlier Thursday, Wee posted a picture on Facebook of himself at the federal police headquarters as he was wanted by police for questioning.

“I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,” he said.

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Previous controversies

In 2016, he was detained after enraged Malay Islamic activists lodged complaints that a video titled “Oh My God,” which was filmed in front of various places of worship and used the word “Allah,” which means God in the Malay language, was rude and disrespectful to Islam. He was not charged.

In one of his earliest videos, he mocked the national anthem and was criticized for racial slurs. He also produced a movie that was banned by the government in 2014 for portraying national agencies in a negative way.

Race and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where the ethnic Malay majority has generally lived peacefully with large Chinese and Indian minorities since racial riots in 1969 left at least 200 people dead. (VOA)