Malaysian Artist Profile: Lee May Ling

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Lee May Ling, or May Ling as she is called, came to my attention through about a dozen of her artist friends, most of whom appeared on our 2012 covers. They told me she is very humble and shy about her work, but that she is one of the best students in the class. Once I saw her work, I heartily agreed.

May Ling attends the Academy Inspire where the owner, who is a famous artist himself, Yeo Eng Pen, is a mentor to dozens of local artists, tells me May Ling took part in a group exhibition a few years ago and was singled out for her vivid portrayals of naive art.

The 41-year-old mother was inspired to take up art by her son, Brendan, who was attending art classes at the academy about four years ago.

“There was an exhibition at that time, and I discovered there were adult students, too. Their works were beautiful, and I started painting with watercolour after that,” she said.

From there, Lee found her forte in what is referred to as naïve art. It belongs to a classification of art that is often characterised by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique. Such simplicity and freshness are found in Lee’s works that use line and wash technique.

“When I was doing this sort of work, I was told by my instructor that it’s not uncommon, and from there I realised there is a demand for it.

“I am still new at it, but it’s been a wonderful journey and people like my works,” she said, adding that she hoped to have a solo exhibition one day.


I spoke with May Ling about the unusual diversity of medias and colours she employs. She tells me that she believes being a genuine artist means to continually expand her ideas and compel her creative brain to explore as much as possible.

She is especially interested in the nuances of nature and animals. These nuances are best explored, she says, through a judicious use of an array of vibrant colours.

On the cover is one of her favourites, “Absolute Happiness.” Aptly named, one can sense the deep contentment in this artist. The colours she has chosen are deliberate in their intent to signify emotion and good feelings. It is their juxtaposition with no discernible patterns that is one of her unique signatures. I know, that this is a painting I would hang in my own living room because it radiates joy to me.

May Ling also loves animals. She tells me she has always felt all living creatures on earth are inexorably intertwined with humans and that there is little difference overall. Therefore she pays just as keen attention to their facial features as she does for human beings, which result in them jumping off the canvas to more or less greet the viewer.

May Ling is a lady with great talent. She is also prolific in her output as her ideas are constantly tumbling around just waiting to come out and be painted. Laughing, May Ling wants readers to also feel the joy she hopes she has encapsulated.


If you are interested in purchasing any of these paintings, please contact Marybeth at [email protected].


Source: The Expat May 2013
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