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Not just look at things but open your eyes, says artist
Published on: Saturday, November 15, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: Wong Yee Ting's mistake of dipping her brush into her cup of Tenom coffee, led her to use it on her art work, not that it's new among artists, but certainly something she wasn't accustomed to at that time.Working in the art-related field for 24 years, residing in both Malaysia and Denmark, Wong who is in the State for her first solo exhibition said the most important thing when it comes to art is not just to look at things.

"See things, open your eyes and actually see your surroundings.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes."

You cannot be doing something correct right from the beginning. When you come to an art class, it's about freedom of expression. This is especially important to inculcate among children, added Yee.

"Striking a balance between expressing our original selves, true art, and also being accepted in society is part of the struggle of artists in Sabah.

"When I see graffiti in London and Copenhagen, I know why Europeans are doing it. But when our artists are involved with graffiti art here, I feel that they are still trying to find themselves. A lot of questions come to mind."

Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun praised Wong for promoting Sabah through her artwork which she sells and displays to the international market.

"I'm proud of her," said Masidi, who recalled their days as schoolmates at Sabah College.

Her artworks involve utilising coffee, ink, colours while her subject of attention are mostly based on surroundings and nature.

Huminodun and Birds of Borneo, two of her artworks reflect the Sabahan identity, which are also part of her 80 masterpieces now on display at the Sabah Art Gallery.

She has also displayed them at a British fair recently.

When asked about her thoughts on the local art industry, she said artists here are getting a lot of support.

"But, there's certainly still room for improvement. I think there's restriction in terms of religion. There are things that artists would love to do here, but dare not. For example, the human body is taboo.

We are not showing enough of skin in our paintings, in our works. We tend to do things that are more agreeable."

Stating the obvious, she said one's interest to learn about the human anatomy, the figure, a nude would not be possible here. "But, to be an artist equals to being bold."

Her solo exhibition will be on at the Sabah Art Gallery from Nov 11 to Dec 10.



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