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  • Writer's pictureBilden Creative Learning

Study of Art, Part II - Study Visit to the National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur (August 2023)

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Creativity is not limited to any form. From the initial browsing of the works and information of each artist in the gallery to the selection of paintings for research, factors such as the type, content, creative inspiration, and style of the work must be considered. In appreciating paintings, we need to constantly understand, observe, comprehend, and absorb them as nourishment for learning. This project is like a seed. We need to nurture and care for it. It will grow slowly and we cannot rush it. By accepting nourishment and transforming it into a part of yourself, you can appreciate and learn the creative content and inspiration in the paintings, and inspire your creative inspiration. Observing different types of works is to receive additional fertilizers to continuously nourish your inspiration and enrich your knowledge. After the tempering of time (sunshine), each has its own style of results (growing into a big tree).

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country where different races live together. This is one of our inspirations for Malaysians. We can inspired by life, environment, and time, then create and present to the public in any form. Although we seldom go to galleries or deliberately understand a certain art field, and can't fully understand the artist's ideas, we're willing to take the first step to contact it. Whether it is visual or tactile contact, it is the beginning of appreciating creation. We can spread this action to more people without deliberate execution. A gallery tour can be very rewarding and share it with others. The power of this art can gradually attract everyone.



By Shun Xin


Getting ready to go...

We started bright and early, with a briefing for the team leaders and all the attendees. We paired up our older students with younger ones to make sure everyone has a buddy to look out for one another


Guided tour - students and mentors sharing thoughts on each artwork

Stop #1 - Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom by Gan Chin Lee

Our first stop is at a painting depicting a quintessential Malaysia Kopitiam, with people of all races sharing a meal.

Students shared that this painting closely reminded them of their daily lives. The old people in the painting reminded some of their grandparents, with how casual they dressed!

Stop #2 - Fall Back in Love by Chang Yoong Chia

This artwork was made with thousands of postage stamps, painstakingly cut and pasted to make many interesting elements.

Students admired how much planning went into this artwork. From drafting the design, to taking time to collect that many stamps!

Stop #3 - Nyonya Cakes by Sylvia Lee Goh

Next came kuih, impressionist-style! Students learned about different types of kuih, a bit of nyonya history, and what makes a painting impressionist.

Some students also asked - why are all the tables, chairs, and plates in the same colour? Maybe the artist wanted to emphasise the kuih? Or maybe back then the green colour was just very popular?

Stop #4 - Antara Dua Hidangan by Din Omar

This next piece is made of many different materials - newspapers, magazines, paint etc, with a mix of 2D and 3D elements.

Students pointed out the many different interweaving elements, which plays on the theme of the "two meals" (one traditional malay, the other western) combining and mixing together.

Stop #5 - Seroja by Syed Thajudeen

A more abstract piece - this painting has stunning use of colour, centred around a set of lotus flowers. Our students shared their views on-

  • What does the lotus signify? Smaller flowers show the teamwork. The blooming flower represents the result of that work. Finally, the bud shows a new beginning.

  • What you feel about the painting? Calm, peaceful, sleepy, harmonious, beautiful, quiet.


Lunch Break!

Quick break for lunch... Plus appreciation and gift giving for our mentor and strong supporter Ying Xin who joined us all the way from Singapore!


Sketching Activity

After lunch, each team had to pick 1 of the art pieces, to sketch an element that attracts them, and as in the project before, combine it with another piece of art in the gallery. There was not much time, so students had to work fast. They had to extract the key elements they admire, then analyse, imagine and compose it - all in under 30 minutes!

This is an amazing skill to nurture, and these students are wonderful to have these ideas materialise in such a short time!

Can you tell which artwork each of them based their sketch on?


Title of my artwork is Happy Chinese New Year Katun

Was inspired with a touch of humour from the “Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom” and a “Lion Dance” paintings.

By Sophia, 10


This drawing is about a special table. This special table is in the middle. The rest are chairs in Kuih design.

The special table had flowers and Kuih-Kuih of different kinds.

This special table and chairs are just like you because everyone is different

By Miyuki, 9


Title of my drawing is “Where East meets West. The concept:

  • Eastern Kuih put on a fancy plate and lace tablecloth

  • I put Eastern things lifestyle with Western objects

  • I think it is interesting because I rarely see Eastern items combined with Western elements

By Annabelle, 11


This sketch may look scribbling, however if you look into his intention of idea, it is interesting. From other artists work in the gallery like 3D structure and decorative paintings he turned the Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom into a more ungraded café.

A nice abstract painting on the wall and a 3D sculpture decorative table lamp as well as a boy sitting on the chair, turning the café into another ambience.

By Lucas, 8


She was inspired by a collection of paintings on the old buildings. She combined some objects from “Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom” into the building. Those 4 circles with patterns were extracted from another painting which was based on traditional Chinese pattern of clouds. She treated them as a décor on the wall.

By Sin Lyn, 8


The piece I drew is a combination of “Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom” with “Penjan; Tanya Tak Habis” and “Penjan; Seru Tak Habis”.

The “Penjan” series uses multiple pieces of wood, of the same sizes to form the question mark and exclamation mark. By using this concept, I took elements from “Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom” and placed them together to form the marks mentioned.

By Hermann, 17



By Teng Yi, 16


从Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom这幅画及观赏了其他的画,而引发了他的灵感,画出了这个草稿画,叫做“画中有画”。

By Jin Li, 14


Student Reflections

Through this whole project, I’ve come to realize that there are no limits or requirements for something to be considered art. Despite the various styles of art, there is also an infinite variety of subjects or topics to choose from. From the simplest sketches of our daily lives to intricate pieces filled with hidden meanings, they are all considered art.

While walking through the exhibit, I noticed that each art piece had their own unique focal point. These points included paintings with 3D layers, art sculptures of organic shapes, photographs, 3D models of people, you name it. There was even an artwork that had its own dark room since it used glow-in-the-dark paint!

I think that artistic creativity knows no bounds and can manifest in endless forms, captivating our senses and sparking boundless imaginations in both the creators and admirers alike. An artist wields a paintbrush, a singer creates art with their voice, a writer forms art with a pen, and musicians weaves art through instruments. Each piece, regardless of its medium or style, shows the power of human expression and the different ways we perceive and interpret the world around us. This project proved that art can be a bridge that connects different perspectives, cultures, and emotions.

By Hermann, 17

Inspiration can be captured anywhere as long as the artist has his or her own interest of the environment where they live in. The concept of the paintings don’t rely on the given assignment or criteria as like what we have in school.

The artists are able to draw and record from their observation of their daily life experiences. They add in certain meaning or values into their creation.

By Derek, 17

From my observation today on a few paintings, I realise the hidden voices of the artists. They represent the beauty of unity in our multiracial culture in Malaysia. “Kopitiam” is a good example to show the peace and harmony among the multiraces living together.

If we didn’t live in unity back then, we won’t have any today.

By Ayden, 16

Through the printed-out copy of the paintings, I was not impressed. Today I have changed my mind once I had the chance to look at the real paintings. Take “Seroja” as an example. I was inspired by its colour scheme with certain techniques like “dripping down” effect. The painting projects a good sense of peace and tranquillity.

As a leader today, I don’t think I have performed well because my energy wasn’t at the optimum level to cope with the 2 younger peers. Simultaneously, I have to do my own. This is the area that I need to learn how to multitask.

By Xin Qian, 17

Among all the paintings studied today, I admire “Kedai Kopi Sungai Jarom” the most because the artist was able to express the harmony and peaceful relationships among the multiracial ambiance from the daily life of people in the Kopitiam. Every simple human figure was so meticulously expressed as if we see them in our daily life. I feel so close and connected to this painting.

By Teng Yi, 16

Learning from various paintings today, I realised that the artists have shared the common concept behind their paintings, i.e., the 3 main races in Malaysia are very united as we are in general very open minded to accept each other.

Besides the kopitiam, Nyonya Kueh by Sylvia Goh has shown how colourful the life is in

Peranakan as the culture between Chinese and Malay are well integrated.

Another good example is the Malay Artist, Din Omar’s painting “Antara Dua Hidangan”. He is able to create an interesting weaving between Malay traditional culture with western influences.

Indeed, I find it is truly not easy to handle a hyperactive youngster who is not ready to follow the social order. Luckily, he is still willing to listen and do his work most of the times. In fact, self-discipline is very important!

By Hui Xuan, 17

I like all the paintings which are very creative and interesting. I feel very happy when I look at them. I like Seroja the best. It is very peaceful and relaxed. Another one is Landscape Series. It is about the forest which is full of imaginative and colourful animals.

By Parissa, 11

To study 5 paintings today is not enough. I wish to come again, and I will also ask my mum to appreciate the Beauty of each painting! All the artists are very creative and unique in its own way! I find them very amazing.

By Sophia, 10


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