The National Art Gallery of Malaysia was formed in 1957. In a period of 50 years, it has collected an estimated 3,700 pieces of artworks. The treasures of national importance in its collection are artworks by some of Malaysia’s most distinguished and renowned painters who pioneered and laid the foundation of what is known as modern art in the country. The works chosen here are based on themes that represent the figurative and landscape which is presented here in the styles of realism, expressionism and cubism.
Some of the most important works by local and foreign artists produced since the early 19th century until now are to be found in its.
Dato’ Syed Ahmad Jamal received his early education in Johor and continued his tertiary education overseas. Many of his works addresses global issues as well as national ones related to the arts of the nation. The works here uses the legendary Mount Ledang as a point of reference to the glorious history of the empire of Malacca, the role of its king, the legendary Hang Tuah, the Princess of Mount Ledang and Tun Mamat.It also symbolised the rising spirit of the young generation as the new leaders of the country.
Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng was the artist who in 1950’s elevated batik from textile to modern art by introducing figures and scenes of everyday life as its subject matter. His favorite subject matter is the everyday scenes of ordinary Malaysians going about their daily lives, especially in the rural areas.
The fruit season is a situation that is synonymous with our country that is rich with local fruits. Another favourite subject of the artist is women and children or more specifically mother and child themes like the one depicted here, where the bond between parent and child grows stronger by sharing fruits together. It is a message that drives home the need to not just develop the spirit of love and compassion between people buyt also extends to our natural environment.
A graduate from West Berlin, he presents a style that is known as German Expressionism but with ideas and forms inspired by arts of Oceanic tribes from the Pacific states found at the Berlin Museum of Anthropology and Oceanic Arts. Hiss effort to shape a unique artistic identity are clearly presented in this work, a biomorphic tropical landscape composed and stylised with floral forms that touch on cultural iconographies of the region.