You wouldn’t normally expect to find an art gallery in the suburbs, let alone in Hulu Klang. But among the row of houses on its street, RumahLukis sticks out like a sore thumb. Instead of the normal metal gate we have at our driveways at home, RumahLukis has a large completely rusted metallic gate. Apart from that, the walls on the house are left bare. Pital, the owner of the gallery, says that he even has neighbours coming up to him asking whether the renovation will ever be ready.
RumahLukis is literally that, a rumah lukis. Pital intends to exhibit artists’ more personal pieces, aiming to highlight their growth and evolution. Opened late last year, Rumah Lukis debuted with ‘Carta’, showcasing the works of prominent local artist Jalaini Hassan. On display were Jalaini’s drafts and note books from his younger, formative years as an artist to sketches from as late as 2000.
By showcasing such personal works, Pital hopes to inspire young artists, letting them know that even those who are established go through the same processes as anyone.
Before there was Galeri Prima, New Straits Times Press (NSTP) used to run their art gallery at their lobby in Balai Berita. Known for having one of the best collections of fine art, the small gallery has featured over 6,000 works of art across all genres.
In 2016, the gallery relocated to a new, much larger building in the Balai Berita complex at Jalan Riong and has been renamed Galeri Prima. The space was a former NSTP newspaper printing factory.
The new Galeri Prima’s space looks like it was taken straight out of Berlin with its warehouse feel, chains left over from the building’s past life hanging on the walls, and bare light fixtures on the ceiling. The large open area affords the gallery enough space to accommodate more art pieces, and also allows for a different experience compared to a typical art gallery’s enclosed space within white concrete walls. Pro tip: the benches throughout the gallery allow for a 360-degree view of the whole gallery, so you to absorb everything at once.
Noticing the lack of art galleries around Klang, art collector Lum Peng Cheong and artist Dzul Afiq decided to open one in Bandar Bukit Raja. Not only is this the only art gallery in Klang, it’s the largest in the surrounding area, even larger than many independent art galleries in the city center. The gallery is two floors and covers a whopping 7,000 square feet.
TAPG started out as a private gallery, but after the positive reception of their first show in September 2015, the gallery opened to the public and has been hosting regular exhibitions since. Most, if not all, the works at TAPG are by Malaysian artists. TAPG intends to promote local talents, regardless of whether they’re budding artists or established ones. Apart from exhibitions, the gallery also hosts ‘Art Talk’ where they invite artists to discuss issues surrounding art and the industry.
Sitting atop the highest floor of Ample West @ Menara 6, Warren Art Gallery is probably the highest art gallery in the city centre. Run by a lovely couple, both art graduates themselves, Mr Warren and Mrs Teoh want to highlight the best of Southeast Asian art.
Mr Warren argues that there are already many galleries in the city that do a great job of showcasing local talent, so he feels that as an expert of Southeast Asian art, it’s his responsibility to educate Malaysians on the artworks of our neighbours.
Having only just learnt their way around social media, their last exhibition, ‘Labyrinth’ by Suk Tai, was actually their first show that was promoted to the public. Now that they’re more active online, keep your eyes peeled for any announcements on any new shows.
After some years in the arts scene, juggling between being an arts consultancy and organising pop-up exhibitions, OUR ArtProjects have finally reached their endgame. The OUR ArtProjects Gallery is among the 12 units which make up the newly restored Zongshan building in Kampung Attap. In fact, it’s the first unit in the building to be fully operational and open to public.
What the gallery lacks in size it makes up for in the quality of its curation. For example, for its inaugural show, the exhibition debuted with Nirmala Dutt’s ‘Great Leap Forward’. Also, since the space is small and contains fewer pieces, it allows for longer contemplation of the artworks. According to Snow, one of the co-founders of OUR ArtProjects, the gallery is focused on showcasing contemporary Southeast Asian art. So, expect to see some regional names here too.
While you’re there, don’t miss exploring the rest of the Zongshan building. Apart from running their gallery, OUR ArtProjects are also responsible in leading the creative direction of the building. They’ve carefully handpicked the other tenants in the building, which include Malaysian Design Archive, Tandang record store, Ricecooker Gallery and more.