Charming Street Scenes of Penang by Alex Leong Yim Kuan

Established in 1989, The Art Gallery Penang is the brain child of philanthropist and avid art collector Dato’ Dr Tan Chee Khuan and his late wife, Siau Bian. The gallery quickly made a name for itself in Malaysia’s art scene as a prominent art gallery holding exhibitions of the masterpieces by well-known local artists. Among its repertoire of pioneer artists are artworks by Yong Mun Sen, Kuo Ju Ping, Khaw Sia, Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng and Dato’ Mohd Hoessein Enas. The gallery has also ventured into publishing and has produced more than forty art books on Malaysian art and artists.

Their most recent up-and-coming exhibition, “Charming Street Scenes of Penang”, celebrates one of Penang’s most endearing watercolour artists, Alex Leong Yim Kuan. Born and bred in George Town, Alex has a treasure trove of memories remembering the city as it used to be, an identity and culture that is fast disappearing with each step towards progress. As a child he used to play with his friends on George Town’s city streets, games and adventures free from traffic in a less motorised era.

Alex has been an artist all his life. Beginning his career as a young talent in the early 1990s, Alex has held numerous exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and China. He is also part of numerous art societies such as the Malaysian Watercolour Society, the Penang Watercolour Society, the Penang Art Society and the North Kedah Art Society. In addition, Alex’s works have also been included in two of Malaysia’s most prestigious art auctions in recent years: the Henry Butcher auction in 2014, and The Edge Auction in 2015 and 2016.

Using his depth of experience of George Town’s historic streets, Alex brings them back to life in vibrant watercolours and impressionist scenes. A key component in most of his compositions is movement, typically reflected in people – either walking, cycling, eating or even children playing – and white birds fluttering over George Town’s iconoclastic gables or over the heads of his subjects. Together with often slightly exaggerated perspective, Alex’s watercolour pieces are energetic, full-of-life creations with an underlying childhood innocence that never cease to bring a loving parental smile to ones face. Altogether more impressive is that his scenes are painted either in situ and/or from vivid memory, giving the impression that the real-life occurrence is never far away – sitting just underneath the paint on canvas.

The exhibition opens with a tea reception on Sunday 17th September 2017 from 12 noon until 5pm, and will continue until October 10th on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm until 5pm, and at other times by appointment only. The Art Gallery is on Level 4 of Belissa Row in Pulau Tikus. Contact Tan Ee Lene on 012 604 1434 or for more details or an appointment to view.