CHUAH THEAN TENG, DATO’
B. China, 1914 – 2008
Girl With a lantern, 1970s
Signed “Teng” on lower right
58 x 43 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Singapore
RM 12,000 – RM 18,000
Every space is filled and the surface is layered with registers or lines upon which the images are standing, sitting or carefully arranged with symbols.
This piece is uniquely stylized and symbolic, somehow reminiscent of ancient Egyptian art. There is amalgamation of various symbols and colours in this piece, such as the lady’s earring that eventually grows into a birdcage and what would signify space is filled in with a cat.
This piece is as interesting as it is superb, because as the viewer dissects every single element in it, they discover more and more symbols and pictures. In its entirety, this piece takes you on a journey, not only of the eyes and the mind but also a journey of appreciation. There are thin, faint crackling lines adorning this piece, the only indication that this is a batik piece, making this one a truly beautiful masterpiece.
Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng was born in China in 1914. He studied at the Amoy Art School, and adapted the age-old craft of batik as a medium of fine arts. For this, he was known as the Father of Batik Painting in Malaysia. His paintings Two of a Kind and Tell You a Secret were selected by UNICEF for their greeting cards.