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 !

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Denise Honan

Re Training Visual Artist. Completed Diploma of Visual Art at Victoria University in 2015. Currently studying Bachelor of Fine Art at Monash University, Caulfield.