Artist Khoo Cheang Jin is the President of the Penang Water Colour Society and the co-founder of Penang Urban Sketchers, with whom he can often be seen on Sundays, busy sketching on the streets within the George Town heritage zone. This is his tenth solo exhibition, and he has also participated in many group shows. At this one, at The Art Gallery in Pulau Tikus, Cheang Jin is exhibiting 25 of his Kopitiam series of paintings.
The word kopi is a Malay/Hokkien term for coffee and tiam is the Hokkien/Hakka term for shop. Traditional kopitiams are family-owned businesses that serve the classic menu of kopi-o, kopi-o-peng, teh-peng, milo peng and “roti bakar” – with butter and/or kaya, complete with half-boiled eggs and packets of nasi lemak. Kopi-o-peng is Cheang Jin’s favourite kopitiam beverage, hence the title of this exhibition.
Kopitiams in Penang often occupy the corner shop house, and are picturesque to look at. Cheang Jin’s paintings emphasise their ambience and mood of nostalgia. Drinking from old-fashioned ceramic coffee cups on a saucer, people are catching up on the gossip, discussing politics or reading the newspaper, unaware of the architectural details that Cheang Jin so expertly encaptures.
The Art Gallery is on the 4th Floor of Belissa Row, on Burma Road in Pulau Tikus. The exhibition is on until April 15th. The hours are Friday to Sunday from 2pm until 5pm, or otherwise by appointment with owner Ee Lene at email@example.com.