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Lot 044

LUI CHENG THAK
b. Negeri Sembilan, 1967

MEMORY OF LIFE II, 1999

Signed, dated and inscribe
'L Cheng Thak 99 JLN Hang Kasturi Kuala Lumpur' (lower left)
Oil on canvas
91cm x 71cm


PROVENANCE
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

EXHIBITED
Myriads of Colours, Metro Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, 2011


ESTIMATE  RM 6,000 - 9,000
PRICE REALISED  RM 13,200

Lui Cheng Thak’s old time-warp Straits Eclectic architecture in the glow of cream-coloured patina is full of nostalgia. The heady mix of old colonial facades with the carved pilasters, balcony balustrades and louvre entrances tell of a bygone era of the Pre-War days. The architecture is typical of the more populated Straits Settlement enclaves in Penang, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in the early eighteenth century with some owned by the nouveau riche sinkehs from China who made their fortune by dint of their sweat, wit and perseverance. They are residences and even the old shophouses, with the ground floor rented out for businesses. The building is filled with memories, of laughter and maybe sorrow, of those who have lived, stayed and worked there. One wonders who the occupants are now. The short balcony is also turned into a display window of bonsai Chinese Flowers, old bird cages, sarong hung out to dry, and with pigeons perched or flying all over. “I used light and shadows to imply the passing of time,” the artist said. Time stands still, yet the present is very real. His painting concept takes a more invasive peep into the tenants or occupants of these old buildings, instead of the old architecture framed as a backdrop in other street-scene paintings.

Lui Cheng Thak became a fulltime artist after graduating from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1989. His forte is with extolling the architectural heritage as liveable abodes in his own inimitable style of lush grandeur and romance. Cheng Thak also paints about the disappearing trades such as the itinerant roti man or pasembur hawker. He held his first solo called As I Was Passing in Kuala Lumpur in 1997 and his most recent exhibition titled Reborn in 2012.