Penang Literature Review

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2.0 Literature Review Formerly known as “Ping-lang-seu (14th century), “Prince of Wales Island” ( 1786 ), “Pulo Penang” (1788 ), and “Poolo Pinang” , the current Pulau Pinang or Penang is a state in Malaysia (formerly known as Tanah Melayu: the land that belonged to the people of Malay stock) located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang was originally part of the Malay Sultanate of Kedah before the era of British colonisation. Penang has one of the most strategic location in Tanah Melayu because it is located at the northern entry to the straits of Malacca and it was among the prominent trade route for merchants from different places such as China, India, Arabs and more. For this reason, British…show more content…
According to Chew Ten Beng in his article, “ History of art development of art in Penang”, the year 1976 might be the starting point of art activities in Penang. Early art activities in Penang during the colonial era were motivated by the coloniser’s curiosity of their colonised land. Their curiosity inspired them to record all things that are considered as ‘exotic’ to them such as tropical plants as well as those ‘rare’ tropical animals (BSLN, 1997). In 1986 Lim Chong Keat in his book Penang Views, explained how arts is an important element that provides an avenue for us to explore things related to civilan life such as landscapes and vistas, townscape, and the degree of urbanisation including cosmopolitanism; the ideology that all human beings belong to a single community, based on a shared morality. As a result, the existence of cosmopolitanism community is often linked to the presence of various modernistic arts. As a result of his research on various arts in Penang in the 80-s, he concluded, there is no doubt that cosmopolitan culture in Penang is already evident during the era of British colonisation. He added, there are solid evidences of cosmopolitanism and modernism present among the early community of Penang as recorded in Norman’s…show more content…
This started when Mdm. Lim Cheng Kung, the wife of a wealthy chinese businessman and Mr. Abdullah Ariff were both accepted to be part of the Penang Impressionist. Penang Impressionist was an artist group formed by expatriate European. Although at first this group refused to accept any non-white member, they cannot deny the importance of having both Mdm. Lim as well as Mr. Abdullah Ariff to their group. Mdm.Lim was accepted because of her status meanwhile, Mr. Abdullah Ariff was accepted because of his great talent in art. Other important pioneers of art activities in Penang including, Yong Mun Sen who owned the first local art studio in Penang, while Lee Cheng Yong and Ooi Hwa were perhaps the first Penang artists to go overseas to study art at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Art ( Chew, 1996). Based on these evidences, I do agree with Tan Chee kuan in his writing The Development of Art in Malaysia and Singapore. According to Tan, when discussing about the root of our local arts, one cannot deny the importance of Chinese immigrants to the development of early Malaysian including Penang arts. Consequently, Penang in the early 1920s, is a land where trades are blooming, populated by peoples from diverse backgrounds, and one of the earliest centre of modern arts in Tanah

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