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Lot 058

b. Kedah, 1950

DOOR 98, 1998

Signed and dated lower left
Watercolour on paper
52cm x72cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 8,000

Lye Yau Fatt, who made a name for his drybrush watercolours of backlanes of old shophouses, revisits the scene of what is regarded as mundane but with renewed vigour and approach. The wooden door here is imposing with a carved panel in the centre and bar-lined tops for ventilation. It is the kind of door popularly re-used and transplanted into refurbished homes or shops after being given the once-over. The green-glazed Chinese ceramic ventilation tile, usually where the latrine (in the olden days, it was the bucket system) is placed, also adds a dash of elegance amidst a ‘canvas wall’ that is weather-beaten with graffiti. Cracks have appeared in the lower parts and around the doorjamb. Further down is an old pan of flowerpot for a whiff of colours and life. The hung altar plate is for prayers to the wandering spirits. This watercolour clearly shows the artist’s uncanny touches and strong composition.

Self-taught Lye Yau Fatt is an incredibly versatile painter and printmaker with a string of awards such as the Malaysian Watercolour Society Award in 1985, the PNB Watercolour Landscape Award, and Second Prize for Sculpture in the Open art competition in 1983. He has not looked back since his first solo at Sum Art Gallery in 1979, which was followed by another in 1980. He studied printmaking informally in New York and was a non-resident artist at Malihom in Penang in 2002. He took part in a three-man show with fellow Kedah artists Eng Tay and Lee Long Looi at On-Tai Gallery in 1988.