Exhibiting 4 decades of genius work, The Art Gallery Penang offers a consistent and excellent display of Lee Long Looi masterpieces. In conjunction with Penang’s George Town Festival 2018, The Art Gallery presents masterworks spanning more than 40 years by the artist for the sixth time. Mr. Lee is an internationally successful artist. Despite his remarkable international accomplishments however, his modesty and gentleness make him one of the most humble artists out there. The ones that are perhaps quite hard to find these days. Humbleness is not the only quality that separates Mr. Lee from other artists. His inspiration, his unique methods of presentation, and his talent for singing are indeed distinctive.

The artist does not refer to the paintings as his creations. He rather describes them as a response to the environment. Mr. Lee has always been inspired by nature. The artist explains how nature communicates with him and that is why he prefers painting in solitude. To the artist, inspiration strikes without warning. He may be in a restaurant having a meal, and all of a sudden, an idea comes which he then transforms into a masterwork. The artist is a firm believer in painting with spirituality. He believes that artists should paint with spirituality of any kind that they believe in. Painting with spirituality brings life to work of the artist. As a viewer, you feel the soul in each and every piece on the wall. Each piece has a story to tell, a story so beautifully told.


The exhibition covers 4 decades of Mr. Lee’s work ranging from 1975 to 2018. The works shown include different techniques and various forms such as acrylic on canvas, batik on cloth, batik on rice paper and mixed media. In “Singing with Birds” the artist uses batik on rice paper mounted on canvas. This masterpiece done in 1975 amazes viewers. “What’s in the Basket” 1980 uses the same method but has a different story to tell. A story you do not want to miss. In “Pink” 1983, acrylic on canvas is used to brilliantly portray a woman. “Rose is Rose” 2008 is another amazing work done in acrylic on canvas. Although the exhibition follows one general and organised theme, each painting speaks individually for itself. The titles of the paintings are put next to them to bring you closer to the artist’s inspirations.


Among the VIP guests at the exhibition opening on August 12th was YB. Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang State EXCO for Tourism Develoment, Heritage, Culture and Arts. YB. Yeoh Soon Hin Officially opened the exhibition by first giving an inspirational speech on the amazing works done by the artists and The Art Gallery. He also congratulated Mr. Lee on the paintings that are highly in demand throughout the world and encouraged the artist to continue to produce wonderful artworks for many years to come. After the official opening of the exhibition, music was played and the artist started painting on people’s bodies and clothes as they were dancing. You may go back and read that sentence again to make sure you read it right! And you did. This is how unique this exhibition is. Even the opening is different than any other. People sang, danced, and the artist painted on their bodies and clothess beautifully. Later that same day, the artist created another beautiful work for the lucky audience to watch him and his truly unique talent.

4 Decades is hosted by the Art Gallery until 31st August. The Art Gallery, Penang is located in 368-4-8 Burmah Road, Level 4, Unit 8, Bellisa Row, Pulau Tikus, 10350 Penang, Malaysia. Opening hours are Thursdays to Sundays from 2pm until 5pm. 4 DECADES is an exhibition you do NOT want to miss. If you are lucky enough to be in Penang before 31st of August, make sure to pay The Art Gallery Penang a visit. This is more than just an exhibition. You will enjoy the beauty of each piece, you will surrender to the power of the artist’s inspiration, and you will learn to get back in touch with nature.

By Mojdeh Zarbakhsh