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Does Malaysia actually has its own signature and trademark of art or are our artists just following the ways of other culture and riding on their way of selling and marketing of art? One thing for sure, Malaysia has its own set of culture and values which means that if these values are extended into the artistic medium, then Malaysia surely has its own artistic personality. In most cases, art is appreciated through the various known channels like the canvas or whatever surface they come in.
A painting or a piece of art work would tell a story and it depends on how the artist wants to tell it. It is said that at the moment, art appreciation in Malaysia is still not as mature as the western countries where Malaysians are still looking at art as an investment or for decorative purposes. Malaysians are known to collect art instead of buying art for appreciation.
This is mainly attributed to the fact that art in Malaysia is still very much influenced by the western movements where many Malaysian artists who have studied overseas or have had shows in other countries are known to be ‘better’ artists than those who have not.
One significant change in the Malaysian art scene today is that many have successfully marketed their art overseas instead of coming in from the outside. That means that Malaysian artists’ works are beginning to gain recognition in other countries instead of Malaysians looking for artists who have had their works shown overseas. The likes of Datuk Ibrahim Hussain and Khalil Ibrahim have had successes in other countries and one can be sure that many other Malaysian artists would go on to market their artwork in other countries.
Malaysian artists must now push the bar further out where they should be showing more Malaysian elements in their works instead of using western techniques using Malaysian subject matter.