Kuala Lumpur, part Chinatown and part Bollywood, is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions in Malaysia and a popular hub for culture and art. When you visit this federal capital, you will want to have a little background in Malaysian art to see why Kuala Lumpur could be a great choice for your next trip (go to site).
What You Can Expect From Art in Kuala Lumpur
The culture in Kuala Lumpur is changing rapidly, and contemporary art is a focus. Malaysians have an ongoing quest for shared identity, which impacts their art. Though Malaysia’s historical past is rich in art, dance, theatre and music, art is no longer restive and stuck in the old ways, and socio-political issues are often reflected in contemporary artwork. The following museums and galleries are good places to find and enjoy Malaysian art.
Galleries, Museums and Other Places to Visit
- National Art Gallery. Located in the neighbourhood of Lake Titiwangsa near the National Theatre and the National Library, the gallery hosts a variety of exhibits and educational programs. It has a permanent collection of more than 2,500 pieces of artwork, and the very unusual modern structure built with a combination of glass, metal and slate.
- PETRONAS Art Gallery. This is probably Kuala Lumpur’s most sophisticated art gallery. It showcases and promotes Malaysian art as well as foreign artists.
- PETRONAS Philharmonic Hall. This is Malaysia’s premier performing arts centre and devoted specifically to classical music.
- Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. In Sentul West, the KLPAC is one of the most established centres in the country for traditional and contemporary performing arts; particularly theatre, music and film.
- Central Market. Visit here to watch local artists at work. The Central Market is located close to Chinatown within the Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur.
- Islamic Arts Museum. Showcases more than 7,000 Islamic artefacts, including a library of Islamic art books concentrating on work from the Middle East and Asia.
- Wei-Ling Gallery. Here you’ll find contemporary and pop pieces by both up-and-coming and established artists. Entry is free.
- Artseni Gallery. This small gallery has a vision to promote art among the masses and to bring Malaysian art to an international audience. They sell artwork and establish relationships among artists, art lovers and the general public.
- Annexe Gallery. This not-for-profit centre promotes contemporary arts, with a variety of events, such as exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, talks and more.
- Valentine Willie Fine Art. Within the Bangsar neighbourhood, this gallery houses a permanent collection of art of a distinctive contemporary nature. The paintings originate within Malaysia and southeastern Asia.
- MAP. This arts district has a public piazza surrounded by several immense exhibition venues, rows of artsy shops and MAP, an arts organization that has a gallery and an auditorium.
A Few Artists to Know in Kuala Lumpur
- Ivan Lam. This printmaker’s earlier work was pop-art influenced, and his recent silk-screen paintings have brought him much success.
- Ahmad Zakii Anwar. His works are some of the most sought after and admired among collectors and art enthusiasts. His art is engaging and realistic.
- Jalaini Abu Hassan. This artist, known as Jai, is one of the most traditional contemporary artists. His work depicts the typical Malaysian life.
- Anurendra Jegadeva. His work usually depicts themes of religion and society. His signature style is never conventional.
- Yee I-Lann. Her work incorporates digital art and film to explore themes of history, landscape and cultural identity.
- Snozze and Escape. If you’re into street art, these are two of the more famous street artists in the city.
Of course, now that you know about all this great art, you’ll want to visit Kuala Lumpur, right? Make sure you plan properly and get ready to enjoy some great culture.
About the Author: Ahayla Janjua is an art and travel blogger. She recommends you view the website she uses when making your travel plans.