A good painting is one that is able to generate a thousand words in one’s mind.
An extraordinary painting will leave an impact and create a lasting impression.
Many such paintings can be found at the current Art of Minhwa exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, such as South Korean Kang Mi Reung’s work featuring numerous pairs of birds facing each other among nests of flowers.
The 47-year-old artist said her “Birds and Flowers” piece depicts the love between a husband and wife, a popular concept used in the Art of Minhwa.
“The piece has birds in pairs, like a couple. It is my favourite because I poured my emotions into it,” she said, who is also president of Art of Minhwa Association. All works in the show are by the association members.
Kang, who is showing three paintings in this exhibition, said that she was passionate about art from young.
The mother-of-two explained that Minhwa art was a way in which commoners in imperial times expressed hopes and wishes for their families to lead a life without sufferings.
“Minhwa art is very detailed and it requires a skill that takes about one-and-a-half years to master,” she said.
She said that there were three main categories incorporated into Minhwa paintings, which are the love between a husband a wife, success of the children and longevity.
“These paintings were done by commoners and not meant to be sold.
“Rather, they were kept in families for generations in hopes that the wishes symbolised in the paintings would be fulfilled.
“The paintings thus act as a ray of hope for them and serve as a mark of heritage,” she added.
Fellow participating artist Shin Pil Hyo, who is also a chef, explained that her painting titled “Tableware, fruits and vegetables” showcases her wish for a fruitful life and success for her herself as well as her children.
Tourism and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng said Minhwa literally meant “painting of the people” or “popular painting”.
“This type of painting was often the work of anonymous craftsmen who faithfully adhered to the styles and genres inherited from the past,” he said in his speech, which was read by deputy secretary-general Dr Junaida Lee Abdullah at the exhibition.
The exhibition, said Dr Ong, was part of the ministry’s aspiration to position Malaysia as an art tourism destination.
Tourism Malaysia Promotion deputy director-general Datuk Azizan Nordin, who was also present at the launch, said exhibitions such as this was a unique approach to not only promote the Korean culture in Malaysia but also to attract more tourists from South Korea.
The Art of Minhwa exhibition at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC) Art Gallery in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, features 92 Minhwa paintings, of which 82 are for sale. Proceeds will go towards the Malaysian flood victims in the east coast and to a Korean school currently being developed in Cyberjaya.
The exhibition ends on Jan 31. Admission is free.
For details, call 016-241 3090 (Kang).