Exciting new chapter for artist

Ong’s mentor Hon (left) and guests checking out some of the pieces at the exhibition which was held before the pandemic was declared.

HAVING given up corporate life to indulge a creative streak, Sherry Ong was delighted to finally hold her first solo show.

Art lovers who visited the Sherry Artistry Solo Art Exhibition in M Mall @ Penang Times Square were able to admire 30 Chinese-style paintings done within the past year.

“I’m proud of my culture and want to keep its traditions alive.

“While ink paintings are typically muted, I’ve added some pops of colour, ” Ong said during the exhibition held at the mall before the pandemic was declared.

The 48-year-old was raised in a fishing village in Kuala Kurau, Perak, but now lives in Penang.

When not painting, she teaches art.

For her works, Ong draws inspiration from classic Chinese symbolism with birds, flowers and plants among the predominant motifs.

These represent concepts like prosperity, longevity and family which are important to the Chinese.

This approach owes much to her training under Hon Piew, one of the country’s most famous Chinese ink painting artists.

While honing her skills, Ong made hour-long commutes weekly to Hon’s base in Taiping.

“In the beginning, I was absorbing everything like a sponge. But the most important lesson I got from my master is to always paint from the heart, ” she said.

A computer science graduate, Ong first worked as a senior office automation officer at a factory.

She then joined a multinational company to assume the role of purchasing manager-cum-project application and implementation lead.

“I was stressed out from work and decided to have a long break. But once I dabbled with art, I instantly fell in love, ” she said of the turning point roughly five years ago.

Under Hon’s guidance, she gradually developed her techniques and explored her creativity. Over the years, she has joined over two dozen group exhibitions.

These include the annual shows of the Penang Chinese Brush Painting Art Society and The Penang Teachers’ Art Circle. She is a member of both.

Ong saw her solo exhibition as the first step in another chapter of her life.

“When you walk away from something, another path will appear.

“When you have the desire to accomplish something, things will happen and fall into place for you.”

Present to launch the show was Ideal Property Group chief operating officer Datuk Goh Teng Whoo. Also in attendance was Hunza Group founder and executive advisor Datuk Seri Khor Teng Tong.

The show was originally slated to run until April 12 but is now closed due to the movement control order (MCO).

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