Gallerist, artist cum collector Datuk Dr Tan Chee Khuan, deputy chairman of the Penang State Art Gallery, recently donated 330 artworks to the PSAG’s permanent collection. They comprise paintings by pioneers of Malaysian art – among them Abdullah Ariff, Chuah Thean Teng, Khaw Sia, Kuo Ju Ping, Lee Cheng Yong, Hoessein Enas, Tay Hooi Keat and Yong Mun Sen — as well as those by local and foreign artists.
Tan has previously given 102 similar works to the PSAG. His total contribution of 432 paintings is valued at an estimated RM1.7 million.
An exhibition, Penang State Art Gallery Permanent Collection 2012-2020, featuring selected pieces given by Tan to the gallery between 2012 and this year was officiated by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on Nov 8. Chow also launched a 210-page monograph documenting the current tranche of 330 paintings, among which are a few that belonged to Tan’s children, Chien Li and Ee-Lene.
At the launch, Chow announced that work on the nine-acre Penang Art District sited at Macallum Street Ghaut will begin next year. The project is part of the state’s plan to develop its arts scene and address space constraints in Dewan Sri Pinang, home of PSAG.
Two watercolours by Abdullah Ariff (1904-1960) — Limestone Hills and Tanjung Bungah Village (above) — were among those on show at the exhibition, which was scheduled to be held from Nov 2 to 30. However, the event had to be closed from Nov 9 because of the Conditional Movement Control Order.
On Dec 7, the gallery reopened and the exhibition is now extended until the end of 2020.
'Penang State Art Gallery Permanent Collection 2012-2020' will run at Penang State Art Gallery, Dewan Sri Pinang, Georgetown ,Penang until Dec 31. Sat-Tues, 9am-5pm. Call 04 226 1439 for more info.
This article first appeared on Nov 16, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.