Low Chee Peng welcomes you to the garden of the apocalypse with this fantastic exhibition. Injecting a much needed dark sense of humour into what remains of this awful year, it is a witty and intelligent show. Not everything is obvious straight away so I urge you to discuss and digest and decode the works that you witness, as I guarantee it will be worth your time.
Low Chee Peng is a self taught Penangite sculptor whose work you will have definitely seen if you live in Penang. You may have seen the chubby cherubs in the Hin Bus Depot garden before, or the Coastal Runners on the highway, or even the abstracted metal figures on Jalan Logan.
As a father, Low Chee Peng’s work has been influenced by the innocence of children, and how that beautiful naivety is eroded by society. This exhibition also represents erosion, this time into our community psyche, by the events of 2020, yet he tackles such a topic in a wonderfully humorous way. How could we forget the Malaysian Ministry for Women advising us that women should talk like Doraemon so as to avoid physical abuse from their husbands? Or how could we forget the moment the new government arrived through the “back door”? Or Donald Trump leading America blindly? By using his little fat babies made of stone, and dressing them in various costumes and placing them in various scenery, Low Chee Peng pokes fun at the ridiculousness of this year, not just here but also abroad. This social commentary allows us a safe space to laugh at the catastrophes, which in turn allows us space to breath, grieve and ultimately recover. In every war, in every dark situation, in every plague, there is always humour, because it is a natural part of the grieving process.
Hin Bus Depot is famous for being the art centre of Penang, and even Covid-19 couldn’t stop that. There is a still a bustling market every Sunday, where local crafts people sell their wares (whilst socially distancing of course). There are also a variety of restaurants and cafes (and exceptionally good ice cream) dotted around the vicinity. With the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases you may well want to avoid the Sunday crowds but the space is open 12-8pm every day and 11am-8pm at weekends, so there is plenty of opportunity to silently contemplate this work in complete isolation (evenings being the most quiet). As I said at the start though, bring a friend because these pieces are great conversation starters and great fun to decode.
The exhibition runs from 16-31 August 2020 and is open daily from 12-8pm at Hin Bus Depot, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town.
By Lusy Koror