素描老檳城序 Introduction, Sketches of Pulo Pinang

我於2005在檳城亞化畫廊為嘉強的畫展策劃時認識他。在短短幾年裡,我們因同時在檳州州立畫廊委員會裡服務而培養了深切的友誼。雖然初識至今才五年,卻仿佛已認識他一生了。

嘉強自小就對素描有濃厚的興趣。我看過他五歲畫的素描,還有小中大學時代直到現今的作品,知道他對繪畫有過人的天份。天份加上後天的勤奮,嘉強已是現今檳州畫壇後起之秀。

我第一次看到嘉強的素描就被它們緊湊優美的線條深深地吸引住了。嘉強的本領在於能夠有效的捕捉他素描題材的精髓,再以他獨特的筆法呈現於紙上。雜亂的街景在他的眼光和筆法下一一變成了藝術精品。嘉強堅持不利用照片輔助他作畫,這本書裡的作品都是他在現場完成的。他已有自己強烈的風格,一眼就知道他不完全寫實的畫法是不能抄襲照片的。雖然如此,他有用相機記錄他素描題材的習慣,所以書裡的作品都有實地照片為證。嘉強這習慣非常有遠見。書裡的許多建築物已被拆毀(第18、19、24、25、28、29、88、105、127、133、144、145、156、157、158、159及161頁),這些作品與照片也就成了珍貴的歷史見證。

嘉強的繪畫導師陳來和及三位知交陳耀威、邱昌仁與AMBIGA DEVY為這本書寫了感言,非常感謝他們。耀威是知名的建築修復家,曾修復榮獲聯合國教科文組織文化遺產獎的韓江家廟。身為檳城水彩畫會主席的昌仁是位建築師,也是位擅長畫街景的知名畫家。AMBIGA DEVY是位熱誠藝術工作者。他們為這本書寫感言自然很貼切。在此也感謝陳耀宗協助翻譯和校對。

能為這本書編輯是我的榮幸,也是份優差。嘉強的作品並不需要多加修飾,原汁原味已十分精彩。這本書讓熱愛檳城的人們又多了一份珍藏品。

李凱 • 檳城

I had the privilege of getting to know Kiah Kiean when I curated his art exhibition at Alpha Utara Gallery in 2005. Since then, we developed a friendship which has been greatly augmented by our service as members of the Penang State Art Gallery and our participation in publishing four art books, him as the designer and I as part of the editorial team.

Though I know him only for five short years, I felt as if I have known him all my life, or rather, all his life, since I am the older one. Kiah Kiean had started drawing early in his life. I have seen his drawings from age five, through his primary, secondary and tertiary schooling years, to the present. His drawings show that he possesses a God gifted talent and I am impressed with how he made use of that talent, with hard work and persistence, maturing into the artist he is today.

I admired Kiah Kiean’s works since I first laid eyes on them. Kiah Kiean has a keen eye for the essential details and essence of things, fortified by his architectural training at the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang and his flair in graphic design. He is able to distill a chaotic street scene and reduce it to his now distinctive streetscape. Though his subject matter may be rustic buildings, his drawings exude an obvious elegance and stylishness which are most pleasant to the eyes. All his sketches in this book were done plein-air i.e. on the spot, in the open air. None of them is drawn from photographic images. Artistically, Kiah Kiean has developed a visual language of his own, elegantly distorting his subject matter, ruling out the use of a ruler, and demonstrating clearly that he is not reproducing photographic images. However, Kiah Kiean has the habit of taking photographic record of his subject matter. On hindsight, this habit has become an invaluable historic record as a number of the buildings and places found in this book are no more to be found (as at November 2009, the buildings at pages 18, 19, 24, 25, 28, 29, 88, 105, 127, 133, 144, 145, 156, 157, 158, 159, 161 have since been demolished).

I am glad Tan Lye Hoe, Kiah Kiean’s art tutor and three of Kiah Kiean’s comrade in arms lent their support to this book by writing an article each. Tan Yeow Wooi is an acclaimed restorer of historic buildings, whose projects include the UNESCO award winning Han Chiang Temple. Khoo Cheang Jin, the president of the Penang Water Colour Society, is a practicing architect and artist who, like Kiah Kiean, has combined his passion in both disciplines to produce well sought after Penang streetscapes. Ambiga Devy is a fellow State Art Gallery Committee Member and a fervent activist for the arts. I also thank Tan Yau Chong for his editorial contribution.

It has been a great pleasure editing this book. This collection of Kiah Kiean’s sketches lent to itself without much effort on my part. It depicts the Penang we seem so familiar with yet in a very fresh manner. It showcases the Penang we love and preserves the face of Penang which is fast disappearing. This is a book for every Penang lover.

Lee Khai • Penang

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