The island of Penang and its city, George Town, are home to some 10,000 surviving pre-war buildings, more than any other centre in Malaysia. Mansions, villas and Peranakan town- and shophouses stand cheek by jowl with Hindu and Chinese temples and shrines, Western churches and civic buildings in the grand colonial style.
These reflect not only the varied cultures of Penang’s diverse peoples - Indian, Chinese, Acehnese, southern Thai, Malay and Western - but of their many places of origin. George Town itself remains a vibrant community, with an inner-city life that is fast disappearing in the other big cities and towns of the Peninsula. In this volume, over 100 watercolour paintings and 50 sketches capture Penang's eclectic architectural heritage and its unique cultural diversity.
The award-winning architect Chen Voon Fee, well known for his building designs and his conservation projects, is the author and architectural consultant for the Penang Sketchbook. One of the founding members of Badan Warisan Malaysia (Heritage of Malaysia Trust), he devotes much of his time these days to promoting public awareness of the historical value of Malaysia’s old buildings and their environment in both urban and rural areas. He was thrilled to have the opportunity for a second collaboration with Chin Kon Yit as part of the Sketchbook series.
Chin Kon Yit is one of Malaysia’s most eminent watercolour artists. He is largely a self-taught artist, having been forced to abandon art school after one year’s studies due to lack of funds. However, his natural skills and determination won him a prominent position in a leading advertising agency, and he worked in this field for 15 years. In his spare time, he pursued his own interests in fine art, painting street-life and architectural subjects in particular. In 1991 he became a full-time artist. Chin’s work has been shown in several solo exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur, many joint exhibitions, displayed in several hotels, and published in calendars and on stationery. This is his second book in the series, the first being Kuala Lumpur – A Sketchbook.
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