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Lot 22


b. Kedah, 1939


Signed 'Sui Hoe' lower left
Oil on canvas
69cm x 99.3cm

Private Collection, Penang

ESTIMATE  RM 15,000 - 25,000
Khoo Sui Hoe, if it escapes anyone’s notice, is the Keeper of Dreams. His figures, melancholic and meditative, are often couched in a dreamy setting, as if of Utopia, or at least, tranquil bliss far, far away from the madding crowd, from human hypocrisy and politics. The nude couple lying half-submerged in the shallow water, shows the contentment of one oblivious to the world, soaking in refreshing clear waters like a purifying ritual. There can be nothing more liberating than to be in a sleeping posture in the great outdoors of Nature, to feel in unison with the natural elements. This recurrent theme has its predecessor in Sui Hoe’s Nude In The Red River in 1965 (illustrated on page 57, The Painted World of Khoo Sui Hoe, Penang State Art Gallery, 2007), which was shown in the Indian Triennial in New Delhi. Again, the theme surfaced in another work titled Red River, which was shown in his solo at Pipal Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur in 2012.
Sui Hoe, who divides his time between the United States and Malaysia, is a cult hero in Malaysian art folklore for being one of the earliest who dared to become a fulltime artist at a time of economic want and early nationhood. He has also helped promote art and other artists through his setting up of the Alpha Singapore Gallery in 1972 and the Alpha Utara Gallery in Penang in 2004 and through his founding of the Utara Group of artists in 1977. After graduating from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 1961, he pursued further studies at the Pratt Institute in New York in 1977. He won First Prize (oil category) in the 1965 Malaysian Art Competition and a Honourable Mention in Salon Malaysia 1969. His other awards include twice winning the Asian Arts Now Awards given by the Las Vegas Museum in the United States in 2002 and 2004. In 1974, he was awarded the prestigious John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund Grant.

The Painted World of Khoo Sui Hoe, Khoo Sui Hoe Retrospective, Penang State Art Gallery, 2007