Artistic protective gear


The selection of custom-made washable fabric masks produced by the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery with designs based on paintings and artefacts in its collection. — Photos: JEREMY TAN/The Star

WITH face masks now a daily necessity during the Covid-19 pandemic, creative parties are seizing the opportunity to make them trendy.

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery has come up with a limited edition range of washable fabric face masks featuring paintings and artefacts in their collection.

Among the 15 different designs is one based on Datuk Chuah Thean Teng’s batik work ‘Lullaby’ and another of Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal’s acrylic abstract ‘Hujan Rahmat’.

Both works were painted in 1995.

Also featured is an early 19th century landscape painting of Penang island by Captain Robert Smith, the 1969 oil on canvas piece titled ‘Two With A Little Bird’ by Khoo Sui Hoe, and the 1983 oil ‘Terpendam 1’ by Syed Salleh Syed Mustafa.

A Penang State Art Gallery staff member holding up one of the masks based on Chuah’s 1995 batik painting titled ‘Lullaby’ while another (below) shows off one of the face mask designs inspired by the late Syed Ahmad’s 1995 acrylic work ‘Hujan Rahmat’.A Penang State Art Gallery staff member holding up one of the masks based on Chuah’s 1995 batik painting titled ‘Lullaby’ while another (below) shows off one of the face mask designs inspired by the late Syed Ahmad’s 1995 acrylic work ‘Hujan Rahmat’.

The other notable designs include one depicting the 1983 acrylic work ‘Folds’ by

Khoo Lok Sain, and an undated oil piece called ‘Cemar’ by Mohd Arshad.

Artefacts from the museum add to the variety.

A goldfish kuih bahulu mould, a kopitiam coffee cup and flowery vintage tiffin carrier motifs are bound to appeal to many.

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery director Haryany Mohamad said the idea stemmed from a desire to keep their exhibits visible to the public in times like this when public spaces are less accessible.

Besides being trendier compared to regular surgical face masks, the washable pieces also help reduce the waste created by the disposable variety.

“The designs inspired by our permanent collection of paintings and artefacts will also create a sense of awareness and belonging to our national heritage in these challenging times.

“It reminds us of who we truly are and where we come from, ” Haryany shared.

Each fabric mask is priced at RM20 (excluding postage). Interested parties can place orders through WhatsApp at 017-760 1349 or by messaging the ‘Penang State Museum & Art Gallery’ Facebook page.

However, the masks can only be shipped after the conditional MCO period ends in Penang. One can also purchase them directly from the gallery at Dewan Sri Pinang after the conditional MCO.

As the gallery is currently closed, the exhibition featuring 330 works donated by Datuk Dr Tan Chee Khuan originally scheduled to end on Nov 30 has now been extended to Dec 31.

Those interested to purchase the show’s 210-page monograph can do so by contacting 04-261 6466 during office hours, with collection after the conditional MCO.

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