• The Arts Society Penang
  • The Arts Society Penang

A Youthful World - Malaysian Fine Art in Half a Century

Ahmad Zakii Anwar - Seated Figure

Malaysia has a rich and vibrant artistic heritage, yet the country’s first art school was founded only fifty years ago. The first organised system of training before the 1960s came from the Chinese art societies that were founded in colonial Malaysia, inspired by the pre-war model of the Penang Impressionists.

Malaysia is now seeking to make its mark on the international art world with a developing infrastructure and sense of artistic identity. This lecture traces the history of Malaysian fine art practice to include styles such as post-Impressionism and the celebrated expressionism of masters like Latiff Mohidin and Syed Ahmad Jamal, unique forms of expression such as batik painting, the New Scene movement of the 1970s to the Malay-Islamic formulation that dominated the 1980s, and ending with the pluralism of the last 20 years.


VIV LAWES is a lecturer, curator, author and journalist, with over twenty years’ experience in the art market. She works at several prestigious Higher Education institutions in London, leading the Modern and Contemporary unit of the Asian Art & Its Markets semester course at Sotheby’s Institute and the History of Decorative Style (c.1400-1970) course at the City & Guilds of London Art School. She also lectures for the University of the Arts and IESA (Institut d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts), London.  As Senior UK Consultant to Singapore gallery One East Asia since 2011, she has co-curated many exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore. Her current project is a book is on themes in equine sculpture, commissioned by the Sladmore Gallery, London.

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