“It is only through having cultures that mankind on this earth has an ordered and meaningful life.” – Tunku Abdul Rahman
Wei-Ling Gallery presents ‘Rasa Sayang’, marking the fifth solo exhibition by seasoned Malaysian contemporary artist, Wong Chee Meng. This innovative body of work explores the experiences of living in a multicultural environment and aims to restore love and positivity towards forging a “new” Malaysia, while showcasing Wong Chee Meng’s unique exploration of cultural perception and artistic expression.
With ‘Rasa Sayang’, Wong Chee Meng unravels the core essence of Malaysia’s identity by drawing inspiration from the amalgamation of diverse cultures that have shaped the nation. Across his works, Chee Meng displays a myriad of richly coloured hues, which are an essence of the nation itself, through concepts and compositions, all while orienting towards acculturation. The artist deftly peels back the layers of influence that have shaped our perception and connection to Malaysian heritage.
The title of the exhibition, ‘Rasa Sayang’, takes its inspiration from a Malay folk song. This well-known melody, deeply ingrained in Malaysian culture, represents unity and love. Wong Chee Meng references the song to honour its influence in fostering a shared common ground and appreciation for cultural diversity.
“Finding common ground is perceived as an effort to converge the mental representation of shared knowledge, it enables us to create shared memories, allow us to activate, seek, and rapport building, as well as knowledge building that could be built in the communicative process,” says Wong Chee Meng.
The artworks on exhibit here not only transcend traditional boundaries but also flawlessly incorporate augmented reality (AR) components, featuring animations that come to life when scanned from a mobile app. The artist hopes that spectators of all backgrounds will recognise familiar components from their daily lives and gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Malaysian culture. This integration of art and technology not only propels modern art forward but also develops a reinvigorated sense of national identity amid the changing terrain of the “new” Malaysia.
To put it succinctly, ‘Rasa Sayang’ acts as a visually multifaceted anchor for the collective memories, experiences, and emotions that constitute Malaysian culture, highlighting the beauty of traditions as well as the importance of cultural preservation and adaptation.
‘Rasa Sayang’ is featured at Wei-Ling Gallery from 20 July – 19 August 2023.
Wei-Ling Gallery is located at No 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm.
Exhibition is open by appointment only. For appointments and further assistance, please contact +60322601106 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Wong Chee Meng’s view on the world is skewed by the blurring of lines and double images – the result of an accident that left him with permanent damage to his vision. Playing on the way he sees things, in multiple layers, sometimes crossing over and overlapping, his works are complex and multi-faceted. By meticulously painting layer upon layer of images, he camouflages many stories and hidden vistas, creating harmonious compositions that reveal deeper references, as we focus and look beyond the surface.
Active as an artist since 1996, Wong Chee Meng has been represented on numerous local and international art platforms. His work can be labelled as Contemporary Pop with a focus on Social Realism. He was selected as the artist in residence at the Mali Hom Residency in Penang in 2007 and represented Malaysia at an exposition of Malaysian art in Havana Cuba in 2006. His works have been widely collected by both private and public institutions and can be seen in the collections of Axiata, Rimbun Dahan, ABN Amro Bank, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Visual Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.