CHUAH THEAN TENG, DATO’
B. China, 1914 – 2008
By the River
Signed “Teng” on lower left
58 x 43 cm
Provenance Private Collection, America
RM 12,000 – RM 24,000
“Art is the vision of the artist, his creation, imagination and expression reflecting the artist’s many degrees of feeling. It is an interplay of both emotional and visual expression where the illusions created convey the statements across. And through the different modes of expressions, we are compelled to seek some standard of value to enable us distinguish between them. This distinction is called the transformation of things.” – Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng
Teng, as he is popularly known, was born in China in 1914, where he studied at the Amoy Art School. Although batik painting has been around for hundreds of years, it is remarkable that no one before Teng had ever thought of adapting this age-old craft as a medium of fine art. Teng first started in this medium in 1953 and therefore he can be considered the father of Batik Painting in Malaysia.
According to Frank Sullivan, “His productivity in batik painting is enormous…never satisfied, he is always experimenting, seeking to give new depth and range to his batik art.” Teng received international fame in 1968 when his painting entitled ‘Two of a kind’ was selected by UNICEF for its greeting cards selections. Twenty years later, his painting ‘Tell you a secret’ was again selected by UNICEF. In 1977, he was the only Malaysian invited to the Commonwealth Artists of Fame Exhibition in England. Since his first at the Arts Council, Penang, Malaysia in 1955, he has exhibited extensively all over the world, including Saigon, London, U.S.A, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Taiwan.
He received a Diploma of Merit at the First International Art Exhibition in Saigon, Vietam in 1962. He was honoured with a Retrospective
Exhibition by the National Art Gallery in 1965. For his contributions to art, he was awarded the A.M.N. medal by the Malaysian Government. His works have been reported extensively in numerous local and international newspapers articles and magazines. He was featured in the Readers Digest in October 1988 (British Edition) and October 1987 (Asian Edition). He is also mentioned in numerous books -Chinese Arts in the Twentieth Century (by Michael Sullivan), Modern Artists of Malaysia (by T.K Sabapathy and R. Piyadasa), and Teng-Batik (by Yahong Art Gallery) etc. He is listedin “International Who’sWho of Intellectuals”, “Who’s Who In The
World” (1980-1981) and “Men of Achievement”.