NURTURING and investing in creativity are vital in preserving cultural expression and identity, according to Penang Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin.
As such, the state government will continue its efforts to support and encourage the younger generation in their creative pursuits.
“It is important to ensure continuity of the arts due to its aesthetic and historical significance. We strongly encourage platforms that magnify the voices of young artists.
“They are the ones who speak for the next generation,” he stressed at the launch of a solo exhibition featuring the works of young artist Yap Ley Min, at the Hin Bus Depot in George Town, Penang.
The show, titled “The Human Form”, is Yap’s reward for winning the grand prize in the Spotlight 2018 Art Competition organised by Penang Art District last September, which attracted more than 50 submissions.
Yeoh said this proved that there is demand for platforms that would help young Malaysians to express and develop their creativity.
“When given the opportunity to learn and grow, they can achieve wonders. The Spotlight competition is part of the Penang Art District’s role in building a supportive environment and ecosystem that allow artists to come together to explore, experiment and evolve,” he added in his speech.
Yeoh then joined Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Penang State Art Gallery chairman Lee Khai and other guests in viewing the 15 featured works.
One was a wax sculpture, with the remaining 14 being paintings done in acrylic, oil, pastel and mixed media. They are Yap’s visual expressions of natural morphology and human emotions.
Yap, a 21-year-old Butterworth native and Equator College alumni, was on hand to share with guests the inspiration behind each piece.
Among those displayed was “Burning District” which won her the Spotlight competition. It captured the frenzied scenes she witnessed during a fire two years ago.
“I enjoy observing the interactions between humans when they are in their most natural and habitual conditions, scrutinising their emotions and physical movements.
“It grants me the opportunity to see the beauty and imperfections of their world. My eyes record my impressions of the scene, and I bring them back into play in my artworks by memory,” Yap noted.
She described the exhibition as a “dream come true”, and ultimately aspires to become a full-time artist.
Following the launch, Yap held a sharing session together with Universiti Sains Malaysia Fine Art Department chairman Dr Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi, who also mentored her under the Spotlight programme.
Also present were Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran, Equator College founder and principal Datuk Chuah Kooi Yong and Hin Bus Depot founder Tan Shih Thoe.
Yap’s exhibition runs until March 3, and is open for viewing from noon to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 11am to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.