Promoting Penang with pencil, ink and watercolour

Fascinated: Visitors checking out the works by Urban Sketchers Penang members on display at the collective exhibition in Alliance Francaise de Penang. (Above) A sketch entitled Penang II by Lee Weng Khim.

SCENES around the Pearl of the Orient are the focus of Urban Sketchers (USk) Penang’s collective art exhibition at the Alliance Francaise de Penang.

Over 50 small-scale works by 28 members are on display at the French language and cultural centre’s premises in Phuah Hin Leong Road, George Town, until Feb 21.

Done mostly with pencil, ink and watercolour, they are the result of regular weekend get-togethers cum sketching sessions in various parts of the state.

USk Penang co-founder Khoo Cheang Jin said it is a labour of love, one they hope would indirectly help promote Penang to the eyes of the world.

“Most people take photos to remember a moment or place, but for us, sketching is the best tool to record something.

“As you have to study the scene and think about every line you draw, you get a better appreciation of it,” he added during the exhibition’s opening ceremony recently.

Alliance Francaise de Penang director Rahime Bouaziz said such exhibitions faci-litate inter-cultural exchange and mutual enrichment, at the same time giving local talents a platform to showcase their works.

Penang II by Lee Weng Khim. (Jeremy Tan / Feb 11, 2015)
A sketch entitled Penang II by Lee Weng Khim

“We consider art as something valuable to people, and there are no borders in this. The more exposure we get from artistic experiences, the richer we are intellec-tually.

“We admire the work of sketchers, and their ability to capture on the spot, intense and expressive moments of Penang life. Their art represents the great identity of this island and its people,” Bouaziz added.

According to Khoo, the Urban Sketchers community first started in Seattle in the American state of Washington in 2007. Since then, many regional chapters were established in various countries and cities, including the one in Penang in 2011.

An informal community united by a common passion, their Facebook group currently has over 2,000 members, though only several dozen are regulars who go sketching on a weekly basis.

“Many are from other states or neighbouring countries, who will join us for outings when they happen to be in town.

“It’s a great platform for people to interact, make friends and indulge in our shared hobby,” Khoo added.

The exhibition continues until Feb 21, and is open from Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 1pm, and 2.30pm to 6pm. On Saturday, viewing hours are from 10am to 2pm. All the artworks are for sale.

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