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Lot 055

b. Penang, 1938


Signed ‘Tay Mo Leong’ lower left
90cm x 65cm

Private collection, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 15,000 - 20,000

Dato’ Tay Mo Leong created this mesmerising imagery by allowing space, form and colour to entwine. He uses the ‘crackling lines’ technique to construct the silhouette of the rubber trees. Purists consider the crackling lines that appear in the background as an inferior quality but he has proven otherwise with this groundbreaking technique. The backdrop is kept white to personify the stark quality of the blue outline in a joyous yet sparing spray of coloured dots. Two figures are shown with their back to the viewer, with one bent over tapping rubber. Another piece of the same subject matter created using the same motif is the iconic Rubber Tapper (1964) which is currently held in the permanent collection of Petronas Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.

Dato’ Tay Mo Leong learnt about batik art when he was in Taiwan, where he graduated from the Taipei Normal College in 1960. On his return from Taiwan, he mastered the medium itself through visits to Kelantan and experimentations. In 1965, he was confident enough to stage his first batik-art exhibition at the British Council in Kuala Lumpur featuring 64 works. In 1970, he studied at the Art Centre in Florida, USA. He was given the Foreign Minister’s Award and exhibited at the Nippon Modern Art Association, Osaka, Japan in 1997, and the Osaka Government Award in Japan in 2003. He travelled all over to study the batik techniques and materials there and he has invented a new technique which he termed ‘double-resist.’ He was conferred Datoship, by Penang State Government in 2009 – the year the Penang State Museum Art Gallery honoured him with a Retrospective.

Tay Mo Leong Retrospective, Penang State Museum Art Gallery, 2009.