KUO JU PING
b. China, 1908 - d. Penang, 1966
PITT STREET, PENANG, c. 1950s
Signed in Chinese (lower right)
Oil on canvas
55cm x 67cm
Private Collection, Penang.
ESTIMATE RM 20,000 - 35,000
PRICE REALISED RM 30,800
|A lone tree stood off-centre along the unpaved road with a shallow drain in a busy area dominated by the minaret of the landmark Masjid Kapitan Keling. Known as Pitt Street before the name was changed to Jalan Masjid Kapital Keling, the area bounded by buildings was a haphazard jumble of two food-stalls with makeshift canopies. Access was via a small path along the right side where a drain cutting in diagonally in a slant towards the right guides the eye to the ‘activity’ in an otherwise less developed part where even reared chickens roamed freely. The mosque with the yellow Mughal-styled domes and turrets had undergone several renovations over the years. It was formerly the Chulier Mosque, then made only of attap with an adjacent burial ground – built by the South Indian Havildars, Jemadars and Sepoys who were part of the East India Company troops then stationed in Penang. It was part of the outer ring of commercial buildings, warehouses and godowns, with the grid development on what was formerly swampland with development emanating from the Weld Quah waterfront. Since July 2008, the larger precincts have been declared the Unesco Heritage site.
Kuo Ju Ping was from the pioneering batch of students at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore under the founder Lim Hak Tai in early 1941. Especially skilled at sketching, he is an observer of nature and people and this is expressed in his artworks. He founded the Thursday Art Group in 1957 and the Penang Chinese Art Club in 1936. He was accorded a Memorial Exhibition by the Penang State Art Gallery in 1997.
Kuo Ju Ping Memorial Exhibition, Dr. Tan Chee Khuan, 1997.