BRACE yourselves for an overload of cuteness when visiting the Wang Wang Art Exhibition 2018 at the Island Gallery in Penang.
With over 115 artworks of man’s best friend on display, one is sure to be smitten by longing eyes, wagging tails and playful expressions.
Beyond the visible, most of the pieces hold deeper meanings and represent their creators’ many thoughts and ideas about life.
For gallery owner Cheong Mei Fong, the varied artworks also exemplify how different people see and express a common subject.
“The artworks are done by 115 people. Of those, 25 are artists while the rest are students aged five to 18 from schools in Penang.
“With this being the Year of the Dog, we opened the show to everyone who wanted to paint these adorable and loyal animals. And on canvas, they come alive.
“You can feel their personality and emotions,” Cheong, a dog lover herself, said during the opening day of the exhibition.
She pointed out the furry, four- legged creatures’ loyal nature, intelligence and ability to help humans perform certain tasks.
“They understand us well and are not concerned by material wealth.
“A dog will remain loyal to you for life, regardless if you are rich or poor,” she opined.
Artist Choy Meng Foong put up a piece titled ‘Waiting’ depicting a mongrel his family had during his childhood days.
“We adopted it from a friend and it became a family member, living out a full life until it passed on due to old age. This picture shows the way it used to look at me before we parted.
“The sad expression is also a reminder to pet owners not to neglect their animals. Nowadays, people are so busy with their lives, they often have no time for their pets,” Choy lamented.
Also drawing on childhood memories was Alice Loo with her piece ‘Prosperous Year’ showing her late grandparents’ pair of dogs with their puppies.
“We would return to our hometown Alor Setar every Chinese New Year. One of the things that brought us joy was playing with the dogs.
“Now I have a poodle but every festive season reminds me of my grandparent’s dogs,” she said.
Koay Sheng Tat displayed a pair of paintings titled ‘Double Happiness’.
In each, a friend’s beagle is piqued by a trail of flowers, hinting at an inevitable meeting.
“As people, we have our own lives to lead. But festivals like Chinese New Year give us an opportunity to find our way back to loved ones and reconnect,” Koay said of the meaning behind his works.
Jason Min’s piece ‘Who Am I’ offers a commentary on mankind’s willingness to do things they do not neccessary like or agree with for monetary rewards. It shows a male dog, dressed in a bra and g-string.
“This is a reflection of life where we are constantly chasing money to pay for food, a house or car but may not be truly happy with what we do.”
Cheong believes the group exhibition also gave participating students a platform to exchange ideas and improve their artistic talent.
“They can draw inspiration from what others have done and learn things not taught in school,” she added.
The gallery is located at No.4 Phuah Hin Leong Road in George Town.
The exhibition continues until March 15 and is open from 10am to 5pm daily.
Admission is free. For inquiries, call 016-4376687 or email: email@example.com.