Denise Honan

D Honan Is An Australian Visual artist

Denise Honan

Kuala Lumpur Visual Arts Gallery


In the thriving metropolis of Kuala Lumpur the Kuala Lumpur Visual Arts Gallery is Malaysia ‘s most under utilised cultural resource.

Located in a central part of town , opposite a large school , it was totally empty apart from bored looking women ushers . Even the cab driver requested a map from the hotel concierge , and confessed that he had never been there before .

Housed in a large white modern building , the receptionist proudly informed me there were six galleries . Two on each of the three floors . Entry to all exhibits was free.

The ground floor housed the portrait gallery , fairly mundane stuff of colonial rulers and historical figures . Two , impasto , expressionist portraits provided some relief.

Indigenous Malay art was housed on the first floor and was a mix of realistic peasant scenes , batik work , and black and white photography . An avante garde show was on the second floor exhibiting work by a local Malay artist , exploring the effect of Islam on his work . In his writings accompanying the work , he attributes his creativity to his religious beliefs . The work was a series of large canvases painted in oil with graduated cloud like effects , with rows of Sanskrit written across them , in abstract format .

At the pinnacle of the gallery , was the finest work , in my opinion . It was the Malaysian equivalent of our annual VCE top arts exhibition .

Here young artists had occupied the entire top floor gallery space with a large variety of work . It included installations of plastic mesh , sewn pieces and collages , bitumen and earth paintings , led lights , epoxy resin and enamel work , origami , and spray paint on Perspex . Many paintings also adopted the more traditional format of oil , acrylic and water colour mediums on canvas and paper .

What was apparent was the sheer exuberance of these young artists , their ability to work across many mediums , and the trial and experimentation of their work . It provided a cornucopia of ideas , styles and mediums for this budding artist . The



talented bunch will lead Malaysia into a bright future for visual art , with their creative skill and innovative mark making . The gallery deserves greater patronage than it had on the day I attended . I wasn’t able to buy a catalogue of Malaysia arts 14 , as the gallery shop was closed . Like most of KL it seems to be under renovation !