KOW LEONG KIANG
b. Selangor, 1970
INNOCENCE 6, 1999
Signed and dated 'KOW LEONG KIANG 1999' upper left
Oil on canvas
23.5cm x 23.5cm
Private collection, Kuala Lumpur;
acquired directly from the artist.
ESTIMATE RM 5,000 - 7,000
PRICE REALISED RM 8,800
In times of failing health around this period when Kow Leong Kiang was too weak to venture outdoors, he took the opportunity to consolidate his skills from the earlier sketches. He had made friends with kampung children in Kelantan and Terengganu and was able to capture them with their naiveté, innocence, cheekiness and guarded nature. Although dubbed ‘practice work,’ there is no loss of quality, with the judicious rendition of flesh tones and the slightly unkempt long hair, and with the subject’s eyes looking straight at the viewer half-perplexed.
Kow won the Grand Prize in the Philip Morris Asean Art Award finals in Vietnam in 1998 for his work titled Mr Foreign Speculator, Stop Damaging Our Country. It established him as a major figurative artist though he was then more known for his portraits of kampung children. Currently he is regarded as a master of portrait painting, the subject matter of which are East Coast Malaysian rural beauties. After graduating from Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1991, he showed early promise with his skills and concepts when he won the Minor Award in the Young Contemporary Artists Competition in 1992 and the National Day Art Competition in Kuala Lumpur. He was awarded the Freeman Foundation Asian Artist fellowship for a two-month art residency at the Vermont Studio Centre in the United States in 2004. He held his solo exhibition To The Sea at Ernst and Young Gallery in Singapore recently in August 2012 under The Asia Outreach Programme.