Saturday, May 18, 2024

Through The Asian Looking Glass

Where Colour, Soul and Life Collide

2021 is looking to be yet another exciting year for the art industry. Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HBArt), one of Malaysia’s foremost art purveyors, is set to auction off 194 of the best fine art paintings from all over Malaysia and Southeast Asia region.  

In the first of a 2-part series, PASSIONS is proud to present our editor’s pick of  the crème de la crème going on auction at the Malaysian & Southeast Asian Art Exhibition on August 8.  

Fishing Village by A. B. IBRAHIM

Typical of his light and fluid brush strokes, A. B. Ibrahim’s Fishing Village, is a poignant expression of a fishing village settlement built overlooking the sea. The artist uses watercolour on paper to construct a beautiful reminder of the livelihood of the coastal people.

Serenity in Village by TEW NAI TONG.

In this piece titled Serenity in the Village, Tew Nai Tong captures the soothing essence of a mountain overlooking a remote village in what seems to be pouring rain, or just simply overcast clouds. A kampung house and some coconut trees complement the view to create a wholesome landscape. 

Tew Nai Tong has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Shell Best Award (watercolour, 1981), Esso Best Award (1982) and Dunlop Best Award (watercolour,1983).

Rumah Selangor; Rumah Perak; Rumah Johor; Rumah Melaka, by OSMAN AKBAR LONG

Self-taught artist, Osman Akbar Long typically paints traditional activities, including Kampung scenes, Malaysian traditional games and Islamic calligraphy. In this painting, titled Rumah Selangor; Rumah Perak; Rumah Johor; Rumah Melaka, the artist captures the unique qualities of each of the different traditional houses in Malaysia.

Kampung House Series, 1999 by YEONG SEAK LING

Yeong Seak Ling’s realistic portrayals of Malaysian landscapes have captured the hearts of many. Between 1965 to 1990, much of his art sought to express the quintessence of buildings, trees, texture of old walls, rocks, and pigeons. In this signed and dated art piece of the Kampung House series, he brings to life the movement of pigeons taking flight, and the tranquillity and comfort of home. His mentors include Khor Ean Ghee, Lee Cheng Yong, Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng and Tan Chiang Keong.

Beauties with Fruits Aroma by WONG KEAN CHOON

Besides being a member of the Contemporary Malaysian Water colourist Association and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore Old Boy Association, Wong Kean Choon has received several awards for his art including being one of the three Nanyang Academy of Fine Art Alumnus Malaysia’s exhibition, creative award.

In this body of work titled ‘Beauties with Fruits Aroma’ a tranquil garden is depicted featuring two beautiful ladies, accompanied by a cat, and a bird in a cage, enjoying a moment in nature’s embrace.

Bargain by TAN GAIK HOON

A majestic view unfolds in the distance as four women negotiate over the price fish. In Bargain, Gaik Hoon, renders with refined strokes – colours and patterns, intricate in detailing Malaysian culture and tradition. Gaik Hoon’s other work can be found in collections around the world from Australia to France, Holland, United States, Singapore, and Sweden..


Traditional Malay society believes that kite games have a connection with the spirit of the wind and sky. In Wau, Ismail Mat Hussin showcases his mastery of watercolours in capturing the beauty of Malaysia’s national symbol the Wau Bulan. Ismail Mat Hussin was a member of the Angkatan Pelukis SeMalaysia as well as the Persatuan Senilukis Kelantan (Peseni).

Musim Durian by M. Sukri Derahman

Inspired by Ismail Mat Hussin and Datuk Chuah Thean Teng, M. Sukri Derahman constructs a captivating batik piece to express vibrancy of the durian season in a local village. This exquisite piece brings back the memories and joys of selecting Durian and the relationships cultivated.

Motherly Love by KHOO LOK SAIN

This batik piece by Khoo Lok Sain, founder of the Sain Art Academy features two mothers sharing an intimate moment with their children. Titled ‘Motherly Love’, the artist rendition of the theme evokes memories of precious moments spent in the loving care of a mother.

Oleg Dancer by Datuk TAY MO LEONG

Oleg Dancer by Datuk Tay Mo Leong, draws inspiration from the Oleg Dance – one of the many animal-themed dances carried out in Bali, Indonesia.

In the Oleg Dance, the male bee dancer obsessively flirts with female bee from one flower to another. In this stunning piece, Datuk Tay captures the vivacious spirit of Indonesian culture.


No matter where you go, home is where the heart is. This oil and canvas piece of art by Yong Khek Cheong brings back the fond and bittersweet memories of our hometowns and the role they play in defining the people we become today. Yong is a full-time artist, and has held 2 solo exhibitions in 2005 and 2010 respectively. He has also participated in various group exhibitions and art fairs including Art Expo Malaysia, Hangzhou Art Fair and Guangzhou Art Fair.

Untitled by Anne Samat

Untitled by Anne Samat

Samat is one of the pioneers of contemporary weaving, famous for blending Malaysian Songket textile with her own unique and contemporary style and techniques. In this untitled piece, she creates colourful and elaborate totems inspired by ancient tales of her ancestry, evoking her familial lineage and the different cultures in Malaysia.

Nocturne II by JOLLY KOH

Jolly Koh’s Nocturne II features three lissom women rendered shadowy with the silhouette of their shapes traced in the nocturnal outdoors. The question of what the trio are up to gets diminished by the luscious highlight of their feminine forms in the backdrop of a swathe of dark blue and lighte accentuating tones.

In 2017, Jolly was accorded a milestone late-survey exhibition by Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers at MAP Publika Kuala Lumpur, celebrating 60 years of painting since his first solo at the British Council Kuala Lumpur in 1957 at the age of 16.

Waterdance… Mahligai Purple Lounge by ISMAIL LATIFF

Ismail Latiff’s distinctive abstract paintings are known for their delicate brush marks that capture harmony in movement. He is famous for using spherical shapes to symbolise perfection and balance as an embodiment of his quest for wholeness and solidarity with the cosmos. In Waterdance, the ocean is illuminated with a shimmering light interweaved with enchanting colours, creating a spellbinding experience.


In Sanip Lasman’s rendition of Daik, a mountain located in a small village of Pulau Lingga famously known for its three peaks, he uses a vibrant combination of colours to convey the significance of the mountain to Malay culture. As one of the first Malays to graduate from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, Daik is an earmark to 60 years spent in front of a canvas.


Syed Fakaruddin’s painting theme so far revolves around natural landscapes. In Take Shelter, the artist combines different painting and drawing materials on canvas – dense and delicate in texture to express the sacred enigma and beauty of a forest. Syed is one of Malaysia’s up-and-coming artists, and much of his work sings of open terrain with no visible life forms.

Malay Man at Age of Early 30’s by ALI NURAZMAL YUSOFF

Malay Man at Age of Early 30’s is a debut of Ali Nurazmal Yusoff’s first solo exhibition titled ‘Satire in Paint’. The portrait captures himself, as a Malay man in his early 30’s, giving up his current job to pursue art full-time. Ali graduated with a Degree in Fine Art from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor (1996-2001), and is famously known for being one of Malaysia’s contemporary figurative painters.

Stairway to Heaven by NIZAM RAHMAT

Influenced by music, Nizam’s works could be read as metaphors that relate to cross-cultural influences in a universal context. His works are often reflections on modern society and the journey of the soul. Stairway to Heaven is a self-portrait inspired by his favourite band, Led Zeppelin, with the content and title reflecting one of their greatest hits, Stairway to Heaven.


Raja Shahriman Raja Aziddin graduated as a Printing major at the Mara Institute of Technology. He later switched to Sculpture in his fifth semester, eventually graduating in 1990. His works are rooted in Malay culture, and cover the spectrum of nature and religion. In his untitled oil and canvas piece, he showcases a frail-looking man reduced to a crumpled mass, collapsing in what looks like a cold corridor.

Human Mind by BEN CHONG

Influenced by traditional Chinese culture and philosophy, Ben Chong incorporates a strong sense of craftsmanship in his paintings – placing emphasis on strokes created with palette knives. In Human Mind, Ben conveys his encounters with mother nature and human nature in lyrical abstraction. The painting features an animal embedded into the skull, hinting at an innate ability to respond to the changes in the environment.

Within the elements of art, and the use of textures, forms, spaces, and colours, artists seek ways to express and communicate their pride, love, and experiences.

In these moments we find shadows of ourselves – joys, fears and sorrows – and the opportunity to re-examine the world around us from a fresh perspective.

Look out for the next edition of PASSIONS, where we reveal the second part of this series, featuring another 20 exquisite paintings from talented artists all over Malaysia and the rest of the Southeast Region.

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