Lot 038

b. Negeri Sembilan, 1967 


Signed and dated 'Lui Cheng Thak '05' (lower right)
Oil on canvas
61cm x 122cm; diptych, 61cm x 61cm each

Private collection, Penang; acquired directly from the artist

ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 8,000

Renowned for capturing pre-war colonial buildings of Malaysia, Lui Cheng Thak revives the glorious architecture of presently dilapidated heritage shop houses through his paintings. Aimed to conserve beauty in age, Demolition or Preservation? depicts a pair of windows on each panel, one in a dire state in need of restoration with timber scaffolding adorning its exterior and the other in pristine, habitable condition displaying the artist’s trademark bird cage and sarong hanging above the window sill. The artist illustrates a close-up of the window façade of an upper floor of a colonial building displaying early transitional or straits eclectic style which features louvered Venetian windows infused with Malay-style wooden panels adorned with plaster arches and central keystones above the glass pane. A testimony of time and what time can do to historical structures, this piece conveys the journey of the past, the present and the uncertainty of the future.

Lui Cheng Thak graduated from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1989. Known as one of Malaysia’s foremost painters of heritage buildings, his greatest muse is old buildings and street scenes in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang and is renowned for his iconic paintings of windows and birdcages that pay homage to Malaysia’s heritage, history and culture. It is through exquisite technique and continual development that this artist manages to keep the art of painting alive and relevant in modern times. To date, Cheng Thak has participated in numerous exhibitions and has found much recognition for his creative expressions. Among his solo exhibitions are As I Was Passing held in Kuala Lumpur (1997), Reborn (2012) and most recently Circles: Cheng Thak, Lui Nostalgia and Collective Memory (2014). His paintings can be found in several prestigious collections public and private including the National Visual Arts Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.