(B. China, 1932)
Two Figures, 1959
Signed and dated “Laitong 59” on upper left
Oil on canvas
41 x 28.5 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
RM 15,000 – RM 22,000
Cheong Lai Tong was the artist responsible for the masterpiece that is the mural outside the National Museum of Kuala Lumpur, another at the Sultan of Selangor’s Palace and another at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Kuala Lumpur. “The murals at the National Museum were designed in the post-Merdeka years and they take on a deeper significance as we celebrate 50 years of independence.”
He is considered a living national treasure, with his artistic contributions to the country spanning for over six decades. His career as an artist began during Malaysia’s independence and his works are an undeniable asset to the country indeed.
Cheong Lai Tong once said that the paintings will tell an artist what colour to put, and as you keep painting, it will lead you. Most abstract artist would agree with him, that the paintings will direct an artist. If it doesn’t, it merely means one is not mature enough as an artist.
Cheong Lai Tong was born in Guangzhou and moved to Malaya when he was a child. He is known for his use of colours to portray a certain setting or to depict nature (hills, mountains, valleys and rivers), all of which are landscapes inspired by his travels. He was a former Rothmans International Regional Creative Direction, and became part of the Malaysian Art History in 1962 when he won the commission for the 115-foot mural of the Malaysian culture and life (presently at the National Museum Kuala Lumpur).