Hoan Gallery is taking a historical and well-researched approached to its first show.
Hoan, who is a painter of repute himself having been invited to paint portraits of the Agong, has created an “art history wall” detailing the Kuching Art Club.
The Kuching Art Club was founded in 1949 by Lucy Morison, the then Governor’s secretary. The club’s activities are the best record of Western style art development in Sarawak.
“Although earliest records have been lost in a fire but we know many of the club’s activities through newspaper reports. Morison left Kuching in 1962, leaving behind a fine art scene,” Hoan said.
The Kuching Art Club’s goal was to organise the burgeoning art scene. It operated alongside other groups — like the Music Societies and Floricultural Improvement Society (both formed in 1947) — in the optimistic air that was post World War Two.
Newspapers from the mid 1940s report of twice-a-year art exhibitions, weekly classes and even reviews of solo shows.
“I’ve always feel incredibly moved whenever I research the art club. The club did so much to spur and record the development of art in Sarawak almost a century ago. Today, we wish to pay tribute to these artists, look back at Sarawak art, and to find ways forward,” Hoan said.
Hoan likes referring to a 1949 The Sarawak Tribune news clipping, in which a critic wrote:
“Just as poets put their feelings into words and musicians express there’s through music, so an artist illustrates his or her feelings in pictures. Every picture tells a story, and an adept artist is able to put into effect a story in more vivid details than it could ever be written in words.
“Time may pass away but pictures will still retain their stories fresh and beautiful just as they were first painted.”
Hoan Gallery, +60 17 854 5651, is open daily at the mall. Visit hoangallery.com or search @hoanartgallery on social media.