Artists you should know
Chan Kok Hooi (pictured above)
A native of Penang, Chan is one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists who has found fame and fortune elsewhere. Like others, he too notes the surge of energy on the island. ‘In these two years, it’s been getting better and better,’ he says, also crediting growth to George Town’s 2008 UNESCO listing. Chan first returned to Penang five years ago for the nowdefunct RBS Malihom Artist Residency program, and sings praises for Penang despite fairly steep prices of studio rentals. ‘Penang is a good place to live, and I am very comfortable living here.’
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean
+604 899 0426/www.kiahkiean.com
Primarily an artist of Penang’s historic streetscape, Kiah Kiean’s works are reminiscent of the plein air (outdoor) artists of yore. A born and bred Penangite, he uses graphite, Chinese ink, and watercolours for his sketches, and argues that Penang’s a great place for an artist to call home. ‘Penang, especially the culture and heritage of George Town inspires me a lot. As an Urban Sketcher (www.urbansketchers.org), I want to show the world through my sketches that Penang is lovely place’.
This Dutch sculptor has lived in Penang for over a decade, and says moving to Malaysia has been ‘the best decision ever’ for her and her family. It’s also been great for her art. ‘In the beginning I used to work at my friend’s studio which was called Claycraft on Moulmein Road, but since 2009, I have been able to rent my own art studio/gallery here in Penang. I have found a very professional foundry in Ayutthaya, Thailand, where I do all my castings, so now, mostly once but sometimes twice a year, I hold an exhibition – either at my own studio in Tanjung Bunga where my next exhibition in November 2012 will be or at the WAF gallery at Straits Quay’.