Heritage society to exhibit works of the late Chin Kee

KUCHING: Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS) will be holding an exhibition at the Sarawak Museum on the works of the late Chin Kee — a foremost local artist, a long-serving teacher and a leading light in many of the Societies for Artists in the state.

This is the second art exhibition co-hosted by SHS and Sarawak Museum Department following the success of ‘From Studio to Old Street — Capturing cultural heritage through art’ exhibition held in January 2012.

This exhibition will be opened on Feb 14, Chin Kee’s birthday, and closed on March 11, the date of his passing.

It will showcase paintings drawn from his long career — paintings that exemplify a cultural legacy that blend his Chinese ancestry, training and techniques with his life here in Sarawak.

Born in Hopoh, China, in 1926, Chin Kee studied with Professor Chao Shao-An until 1961.

His art was greatly influenced by this renowned teacher, many of whose students are now prominent contemporary artists around the world.

He was the key figure in the ‘Ling-Nan Art School’, a critical movement in the evolution of Chinese Brush Painting in the late 19th century. The school encouraged a break from the rigid traditions of the art form, and the integration of elements from other art forms and cultures.

Chin Kee himself took the lessons he learned and channelled them into his own work. He was the pioneer who brought the know-how of Professor Chao as well as the ideas of Ling-Nan School to Sarawak. With a focus on images from nature, in common with his mentor, he applied the techniques he had learned to bring his own surroundings — this beautiful state of Sarawak — to life, giving us a unique view of its multi-cultural heritage.

As with his professor before him, Chin Kee too chose to share his knowledge with students and fellow artists.

He was a recipient of a long service award for his 40 years as a teacher in Kuching. He took part in the Kuching Art Club (later renamed Sarawak Fine Arts Society) and its annual shows from 1956. Between 1970 and 1980, his works were displayed in his solo show as well as in group shows.

As an active member of the local art scene, Chin Kee held the position of vice-president for the Sarawak Artists Society in its formative years between 1985 and 1990. He later served as advisor to Sarawak Artists Society as well as the Kuching Chung Hua Arts Association.

Today, his works are included in several collections both locally as well as abroad.

While unique in his approach, one can clearly see the strong foundation that he laid – his mastery of stroke and the use of ink are simply superb. They are always full of life and character, so simple, so spontaneous yet descriptive and expressive of the essence of the subject.

So, the Sarawak Heritage Society is proud to invite members of the public to share in the work of this talented man.

Its continuing goal is to raise awareness of the state’s great heritage and, through this exhibition, aims to bring the works of one of the state’s leading artists to the eyes of a new generation.

For further details, please contact Sarawak Heritage Society at 082-453344 or email sarawakheritagesociety@gmail.com.

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