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Wednesday Art Group, the voice before the National Art Gallery

Quite recently, a group of people had a dialogue session organized by the Universiti Malaya Art Gallery. This was held at the new building in the campus in conjunction with the Sivam Selvaratnam’s Rapt in Maya solo exhibition. Sivam is a member of the WAG (Wednesday Art Group) and the dialogue session included some of the original members of WAG like Ho Kai Peng, Ismail Mustam, Renee Kraal, Mohd Said Abu and Datuk Mustapha Mahmud.

The group was formed more than 50 years ago and the group reunited to speak about what has transpired since then. Peter Harris is the man responsible as the founder of the WAG and while this movement did create a strong presence in the Malaysian art world, Harris would become the first superintendent of art of the country. The WAG would hold informal evening sessions where art lovers from students to teachers and just about anyone would gather to share their experiences and such.

Sivam said that during the late 40s and 50s, there was not really a serious art scene in Kuala Lumpur and before long, WAG became quite an important movement. Renowned artists like Jolly Koh and the late Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal joined some of the sessions and all this was before the National Art Gallery was established.

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