Bali visit inspires still-life fascination

East Coast Series: Under the Shadow tells the struggles of fishermen as seen through their eyes.

ARTIST Liew Choong Ching has found new inspirations after his recent visits to Bali.  

The Jerantut-born broke away from his standard figurative paintings of orang asli to delve into still life, which he grew to like by the day. 

“After my exhibition at the Hillside Corner Restaurant (in Wangsa Ukay), I visited Bali for the fourth time early this year. I was fascinated by the scenery and culture there.  

“During the trip, I started painting still life and incorporated several things I saw there such as frangipani and Hindu-influenced masks,” he said during a recent interview. 

“Still-life painting has been a major change for me. In the past, I tended to portray kampung lifestyle and activities in padi fields, and usually those carried out by groups of people.  

“But now with still-life painting, I have to use my imagination freely and it is no longer restricted by reasoning,” he said.  

Liew said he could now determine the arrangement and composition of his work to his liking without referring too often to real-life subjects or orientation.  

For example, he has depicted mangosteen, frangipani and hibiscus, all of them in three-dimensional form on a contrasting two-dimensional table. 

Despite his new spectrum of interest, Liew said he is still producing his orang asli and Bali series, which depict the indigenous people in his hometown and those at the exotic island.  

One of the most eye-catching pieces that still captures his spirit and love for figurative painting is the piece entitled Legong Dancer

“Legong dance is a world famous cultural dance which is performed in places like Ubud in Bali. During my visit there, I saw this dancer who was standing alone outside the dance hall.  

“She might look joyful during her performance but she seemed to be lonely and was pondering over something. I wanted to capture that moment,” he said. 

Liew explaining how he moved from figurative to still-life paintings. In the background are some of his still-life works.

He added that he was still painting fishermen from the East Coast but he has given his works a twist. 

“This time, each piece tells a story of the fishermen’s struggles as seen through their eyes under the shadow of their hats. 

“Despite their struggles, they are determined to carry on with life,” he said. 

Badan Warisan Malaysia is at 2 Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur. It is open from 10am to 5.30pm from Monday through Saturday. The exhibition will end on Oct 28.  

For more detail, call 03-2144 9273.  

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