Datuk Gary Ganesan, Tew Nai Tong and Datuk Mohd Ysuof Ahmad
'A GOLDEN ERA' BY LEADING MALAYSIAN ARTIST TEW NAI TONG IS SHOWING NOW AT KL LIFESTYLE ART SPACE AT 150 JALAN MAAROF.
THIS SOLO EXHIBITION BY TEW NAI TONG WAS LAUNCHED ON 15 JANUARY 2012 BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL ART GALLERY OF MALAYSIA ON 15 JANUARY 2012.
THIS EXCITING EXHIBITION WILL END ON 29 FEBRUARY, AN AUSPICIOUS DATE AS IT IS A LEAP YEAR THAT OCCURS ONLY ONCE EVERY 4 YEARS AS NORMALLY THERE ARE 28 DAYS IN FEBRUARY.
I ALSO LIKE THE ARTIST'S SURNAME 'TEW' WHICH MEANS 'FUCK' IN CANTONESE SO HE IS OBVIOUSLY NOT CANTONESE! I WOULD BUY HIS PAINTINGS JUST FOR HIS NAME JUST AS PEOPLE READ ANY STORY WITH MY NAME 'KEE HUA CHEE' PLASTERED AT THE TOP!
TEW IS A GOOD ARTIST AND VERY COLLECTIBLE SO IF YOU ARE INTO MALAYSIAN ART, HIS WORKS IN 'A GOLDEN ERA' IS A VERITABLE FEAST. THERE ARE ENOUGH STYLES TO PANDER TO EVERY TASTE AS SOME WORKS ARE TRADITIONALLY, SEMI-REALISTIC, OTHERS ARE MODERNIST AND SOME VERY CUTTING EDGE. PERFECT FOR A COLONIAL BUNGALOW OR SKYHIGH PENTHOUSE!
KL Lifestyle Art Space is hitting a purple patch at the moment. A succession of master painters has been gracing the walls of KL Lifestyle Art Space’s galleries in Tropicana City Mall and Jalan Maarof, Bangsar with their masterpieces in recent months. Off the back of exhibiting some of the works of a group of amazing and talented artists with their “Mosaic ‘11” showcase, KL Lifestyle Art Space was given the honor of holding “A Golden Era”, a solo exhibition by Tew Nai Tong, one of Malaysia’s most revered and respected artists ever, within the walls of their gallery in Jalan Maarof, Bangsar.
Tew Nai Tong was born in 1936 in Klang. Ever since he was eighteen years old, he wanted to become an artist. He moved to Singapore to study at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and upon graduation, he made Paris his next destination as he studied oil and figurative painting at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts de Paris. These two periods in his life proved to be life-changing as his style evolved and matured, becoming the style that is uniquely Tew Nai Tong.
The launch of “A Golden Era” was held on the 18th of January 2012 and it was greeted with much fanfare and critical acclaim. Many esteemed guests had made their way to KL Lifestyle Art Space’s gallery to witness the opening of what could be one of the best solo art exhibition by an artist for the year 2012. The likes of master painters Syed Thajudeen and Lim Ka Seng were in attendance to give support to one of their own, while other prominent figures within the art scene were present and accounted for, including art collectors and art gallery founders. The guest of honor for the launch was Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad, the Director-General of the National Art Gallery Malaysia, or also known as the Balai Seni Visual Negara. This was not the first time that Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad, an art lover and enthusiast by trade and by nature, was involved in an opening for KL Lifestyle Art Space as he himself helped in opening KL Lifestyle Art Space’s gallery as well as opening for an exhibition at the gallery in Tropicana City Mall.
After an introduction by Chief Executive Officer of KL Lifestyle Art Space Datuk Gary Thanasan, he invited Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad to say a few words to the audience while Tew Nai Tong. Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad was then given a memento by Datuk Gary Thanasan and Tew Nai Tong, a beautiful painting of an orchid which was painted in 1988. And with that, the “A Golden Era” exhibition had officially begun. Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad was then brought on a tour of the exhibition by Datuk Gary Thanasan and Tew Nai Tong, as they went and had a look at each and every one of the masterpieces that were showcased while the master painter himself gave brief descriptions of his works to both Datuk Mohd. Yusof Ahmad and Datuk Gary Thanasan. It is safe to say that those who had made their way to the exhibition were left enchanted by the artworks of Tew Nai Tong.
As one of the most highly regarded artists in the region, Malaysia should be so proud to count Tew Nai Tong as one of their own. A professional painter, a lecturer and the founder and president of the Watercolour Society of Malaysia, Tew Nai Tong’s journey from the moment he decided to become an artist at the young age of eighteen until this very moment has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Born in 1936 in his hometown in Klang, Tew Nai Tong attended Peng Hwa Chinese School at the age of seven. By the time he turned eighteen, he decided that he wanted to pursue his dreams of being an artist, a proper artist. With his mind set on painting his way through life, he upped sticks and moved to Singapore, enrolling at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and studied there for two very fruitful years. Focusing on sketching, watercolors and landscape painting during his early years at NAFA, he, along with his contemporaries, became part of the watercolors movement in Malaysia, promoting the art style to the people in Malaysia.
For alumnus of NAFA, it was customary and essential for them to further their studies in Paris. Thus, for another two years, Paris became his home away from home as he studied oil and figurative painting at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts de Paris. From 1967 to 1968, Tew Nai Tong immersed himself in the kaleidoscope of arts and culture in France and across Europe, visiting museums and art galleries in search of inspiration, for new ideas. His time in Paris instilled in him a newfound creative energy, which he used to great effect as he went through an experimental phase on forms, compositions and colors, which shaped his unique art style: an interesting and beautiful combination of Oriental charm and Parisian elegance injected into dreamy watercolor on canvas, playful collages within oil paintings to geometrical abstracts depicting rural living, local culture and landscapes.
This combination stems from his time in Singapore and Paris, with his art being described as representing the tail-end of the old Nanyang (the Southern Seas of China) style as well as embodying the spirit of the new Nanyang style, a combination of stylised Balinese-Sarawakian figure types, the School of Paris chic and Chinese painting traditions. The amount of research that he always puts in for his art is exemplary. He visited Bali from 1996 to 2006, while also making a return to Paris from 1999 to 2002 in order to conduct research for his artworks as well as to look for inspiration, visits that have also played a part in moulding his unique style.
His reputation as one of the most important artists that have come out of the South East Asia region was confirmed when he was awarded the grand prize of the prestigious Asia Art Award 2009 to recognize over 50 years of tremendous contribution to the local and international art scene at the Asia Invitation Art Exhibition in Seoul, Korea. Many from his almost 2000 pieces now adorn many private and institutional collections all over the world. For everything that he has done in the name of art, Tew Nai Tong is an inspiration to look up to for all of us.
For further information, please call 019-333 7668 or visit 150, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur.
Fishing Village 1981, oil on canvas. RM 36,ooo
Landscape 1982, oil on canvas RM 45,000
Temple Kuala Lumpur 1999, oil on canvas. RM 36,000. 80cm by 70cm
Ubud's Fruit Corner, oil on canvas. RM 43,000. 90cm by 90cm
Golden Time 9, oil on canvas RM 138,000. 136cm by 228cm
Reflection 1977 oil on canvas