Lot 136

b. Kedah, 1939


Signed and dated 'SUIHOE66' (lower left)
Oil on masonite board
80cm x 80cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE RM 22,500 - 38,000
A major 1960s Khoo Sui-hoe with the pedigree of Children of the Sun (1965), Praise of the Day is also one of the last works in the period done on masonite board. A typical scene with evocative figures including a custodian spirit (Earth goddess) with strange postures in a surreal landscapes but with Sky, Land (Mountain) and Water pagan ritual. Here, the sole female apparition looms like a protector spirit in white, with hands upraised as if evoking some supernatural powers. The cachet of parallel lines is also another trademark of the period, of which Children of the Sun stands arguably as Khoo Sui-hoe’s greatest in an unerring artist’s career spanning five decades. The stirring exhortations of T.S. Eliot’s poem spring to me: “Come in under the shadow of this red rock, And I will show you fear in a grain of dust.” Painted in Sungai Petani where the Kedah-born Khoo was then based in Bujang, it heralded Khoo’s painting ritual of placing the figure in a natural landscape of rocks, plants and water. No wonder the great art-ivist Frank Sullivan dubbed Khoo a “poet in paint.” Khoo, who was honoured with a Retrospective, The Painted World of Khoo Sui-hoe, by the Penang State Art Gallery in 2007, will be having another Retrospective, at Wisma Soka-Gakkai, Kuala Lumpur, this August. The Penang Museum Board had in 1978 already given Khoo a solo, of his works from 1963-1973. The Art Gallery Penang then mounted a mini Retrospective of his works from 1967-2013 in 2013. In 2015, Khoo held a two-part An Overview exhibition, the second at the Private Museum, Singapore, based on works still with him and those in the collection of Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat. Chong Keat was at one time, the largest single collector of Khoo’s art since he bought two of his works in Khoo’s first solo at British Council in 1965. “The artist (Sui-hoe) often expresses a subtle humour within the plastic game of merging forms, and more obviously with postures and situations.” – Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat.

Khoo graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore in 1961. In 1974, he received the John D Rockefeller III Fund award to study at the Pratt Graphic Centre in New York. He won Honourable Mention in the prestigious Salon Malaysia in 1969 and also 1st Prize (Oil) in the Malaysian Art&Craft competition in 1965. Khoo is also the spiritual leader of the Utara Group, formed in 1977. He was in charge of the Alpha Gallery Singapore in 1972, which was revived in Penang in 2004 as the Alpha Utara Gallery.

The Painting World of Khoo Sui-Hoe: A Retrospective, Penang State Art Gallery (2007)