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The Artist Profile Of Lee Weng Fatt

When our January issue was distributed I received the first of many calls and emails about the write-up and painting featured on Lee Weng Fatt in my Artist Retrospection article. I, of course, agree that the painting was stunning and decided to give him the February cover as a platform to reintroduce him to all our new expatsreaders and to refresh memories of older ones when he appeared on a 2006 cover and the corresponding inside two page article.

Weng Fatt started out as a watercolourist and in 1995 decided to try oils and has since mastered the medium and now prefers it. His primary subject which has made him famous and highly sought after are old heritage buildings in various locations around Malaysia, particularly in Melaka, Penang and KL.

Like Helen Peters writes, Weng Fatt has the ability to imbue these historic buildings with a genuine presence and an evocation of their cultural and historical past. In addition by always painting in a small farm animal like a chicken or rooster, he’s able to breathe life into them much to the enjoyment of his viewers.

His new series is called Warisan Nostalgia and is notable for his use of muting colours. In past series he utilized either the black ink sketching technique or vivid primary colours presented in exacting detail. With this series he is more interested in creating a mood than a strict composition.

“I find that I am now more interested in capturing the mood of a scene rather than merely being faithful to the physical details. With oils, there is the possibility of layering, so that the textural quality of the painting shines

“…in all of (his) paintings, we never get the sense that the buildings are old and decrepit, with dust collecting in the corners and windows creaking on its hinges. .rough his keen observations and with his skilful brush strokes, the artist has transformed his subjects into ethereal “beings” worthy of inspiring awe and reverence….” Helen Ann Peters, noted Malaysian Art Critic through and one is able to appreciate the mood of the piece better. I sometimes spend ten days on a work, and every time I return to it, I see a new facet unfolding. It has a hold on me and I am anxious not to spend too much time away from it until I can finally put the finishing touches,” he tells me.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Weng Fatt for several years and often meet him at other artist’s launch nights. He, like most of the artists featured on our covers, is extremely supportive of his artist peers and takes great joy in mentoring younger artists. His wife is the exquisitely talented, Wai Gaik Hoon who was our February 2010 cover artist. His entire life is steeped in the creative atmosphere similar to the old time artesian and from this he draws deep inspiration. He is truly one of Malaysia’s most beloved and important artists today.

Weng Fatt has graciously selected 7 paintings from his new series, Warisan Nostalgia, to showcase for Expat readers here. If you are interested in purchasing one or more, please contact me directly at [email protected] or call the office on 03.2094 9664.

This article was written by Marybeth Ramey ([email protected])
Source: February 2011

This article has been edited for Expatgomalaysia.com
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