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Cheng Haw Chien becomes first Malaysia to show lingnan-style works at China’s birthplace

Cheng Haw Chien, one of the few Malaysian painters known for the lingnan-style artworks will be holding an exhibition at Dongguan City in southern Guangdong, China. What makes this exhibition so remarkable is that the city is where the style originated from. Cheng, a Penangite who has been known for his works in the lingnan style will be featuring 55 pieces of his works at the show.

The style is often associated with the use of enhanced ink colours and excessive water on Chinese rice paper in the painting of the subject matters. The exhibition will also be portraying some Malaysian elements like its tropical fruits while Cheng will also be depicting sceneries of China and Africa as well as the Himalayas in the show entitled ‘The Art of Cheng Haw Chien’.
The 64 year old artist will also be the first Malaysian artist to hold an exhibition at the Dongguan Lingnan Art Museum which, as its name implies is a space dedicated to this specific art form. According to Cheng, Dongguan was the place where the lingnan style originated from around the early 1900s during the Chinese Revolution and that was when masters like Gao Jianfu came from and spent most of his life spreading the style to his students.

He said that having arrived at Dongguan gave him the feeling that he had ‘returned’ to where all his inspiration came from. He had learnt the style in secondary school when the style was introduced to him by a Malaysian Buddhist monk and he would then pursue it seriously from Zhao Shaoang.