The Penang State Museum and Art Gallery recently published the catalogue for “Tay Mo Leong Retrospective”, an exhibition that featured the lifetime watercolour and batik masterpieces of locally renowned artist, Tay Mo Leong. The exhibition was organized and curated by the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery together with guest curator, Dr. Tan Chong Guan. The exhibition was the 3rd Retrospective exhibition held by the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery and was also Tay’s 9th solo exhibition.
The exhibition was officially launched by the guest of honour, Penang State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee Chairman, YB Tuan Wong Hon Wai who also quoted that the exhibition was a great tribute to one of Penang’s most outstanding artists.
The exhibition was held at The Penang State Art Gallery from Nov 2nd to Nov 30th 2009 and featured over 50 watercolour and batik paintings that backdated to the 1950’s and included Tay’s latest masterpiece, Old Postcard from China. The exhibition also featured his self-invented batik tools. Some of the highlights for the month-long exhibition were talks on watercolour and batik paintings by Tay and a specially designed children booklet as part of Project Bintang Kecil to expose children to the art of Tay Mo Leong. The project according to Dato’ Tang Hon Yin, the Chairman of The Penang State Art Gallery, was hatched to sow seeds of art appreciation in children. It is also Tay’s philosophy to spread the interest towards art and his knowledge as an artist to the public especially the children. He believes this is the only way to cultivate a better future generation of artists.
Tay also donated three of his masterpieces to The Penang State Museum and Art Gallery as part of a permanent collection.
The 70 year old Tay Mo Leong started his 45 years career as a watercolour artist and gradually evolved into a batik artist in the early 1960s. His maturity in style and skill in his watercolour paintings was well known in the art scene but his passion towards batik painting had superseded him and made him a batik artist. One of his early batik masterpieces was Rubber Trees (1961) which used crackling effects to beautifully create the branches of rubber trees. Later on, an Europe tour had Tay blending tapestry into his batik paintings while his Bali trip in the early 1970s was turned into a series of batik paintings which featured Bali’s beautiful and mystical Legong dancers.
In conjunction with the exhibition, The Penang State Museum and Art Gallery also published a 300-page hardcover book entitled “Tay Mo Leong Retrospective”. In the book, the Editor cum Guest Curator, Dr. Tan Chong Guan had quoted him as one of the recognizable figures in Malaysian art today. Through the book, artists and art lovers will learn about Tay’s life and his accomplishments. The book also features 65 watercolour paintings and 65 batik paintings which are well arranged to walk us through Tay’s career as an artist. Apart from that, the book also features a brief history of Batik around the world; revealing Batik trade secrets and formula.
For more details on the book, contact The Penang State Art Gallery at 04-2613144.