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Lot 12


b. Terengganu, 1959

TOK WAN, 1995

Signed '明 F.M.CHANG' lower right
Watercolour on paper
17cm x 12.5cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

Portraits of Terengganu, Galeri Citra, Kuala Lumpur, 1997, illustrated on page 21.

ESTIMATE  RM 4,000 - 5,000
The subject matter portrayed is a villager whom Chang Fee Ming saw during a top-spinning competition in Terengganu. There is something captivating about his features that inspired Fee Ming to transform his persona completely into a bomoh (village shaman). The Malay bomoh is ordinarily dressed just like any other villager, unlike the witch-doctors of the Caribbean or the caped Western sorcerers. Wearing the traditional kopiah or kufi on his head, his Malay ‘dress code’ is broken by a loose jacket as he drapes a sarung over his shoulder like a scarf. There is nothing to suggest his dalliance with the occult though the backdrop is shrouded in a hazy kemenyan (incense) pall. He is holding a gnarled piece of branch and if it is signs of something ominous that you are looking for, it might come in the red ring on his left hand.
Ranked among the finest of watercolour artists in Asia, Fee Ming has gone from strength to strength since his early successes, winning the Asean Gold Prize in the Sime Darby Art Asia Competition in 1985, the PNB Malaysian Art Competition the same year, and the Malaysian Watercolour Society (MWS) Award in 1984 and 1985. He also won the Minor Awards in the Young Contemporary Artists Competition in 1986 and 1987. In 1997, he won two awards of Distinction in the Rockport Publishers USA and in 1999, the Dom Perignon Portrait of A Perfectionist Award, Malaysia. He was a co-winner of the Winsor & Newton World Millennium Painting Competition in 1999 and was selected for the Singapore Tyler Print Institute project in 2009, which resulted in his solo exhibition Imprinted Thoughts. Exhibited and collected widely around the world, Fee Ming is based in Kuala Terengganu and Bali.


The World of Chang Fee Ming,
essay by Ooi Kok Chuen, edited by Garrett Kam, 1995.
The Visible Trail of Chang Fee Ming, Christine Rohani Longuet, 2000.