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Arts Art Focus: Celebrated watercolourist Chin Kon Yit launches ‘Landmarks of Malaysia’ book

Art Focus: Celebrated watercolourist Chin Kon Yit launches ‘Landmarks of Malaysia’ book

Landmarks of Malaysia 360 Paintings by Chin Kon yit
By Dian Pasquinal Kaur
May 28, 2015

Acclaimed Malaysian artist Chin Kon Yit gathers 360 watercolour paintings of landmarks around Malaysia in his latest book.

His works are known far and wide, his strokes evokes a thousand memories. Eminent watercolourist Chin Kon Yit sure has a way of shining the spotlight on landmarks, everyday street scenes and traditional trades around Malaysia.

His sixth book after Kuala Lumpur: A Sketchbook, Penang Sketchbook, Malacca Sketchbook, Landmarks of Selangor and Landmarks of Perak; the Landmarks of Malaysia: 360 paintings by Chin Kon Yit is a sumptuous illustration of iconic buldings around the country; both old and new or now gone (like the Bok House in Jalan Ampang).

The now-demolished Bok House, Jalan Ampang.

It took the respected Malaysian artist five years to complete the book. “I had to visit several states and paint more than 200 new paintings. The rest of the paintings are reproduced from my earlier books, particularly the Malacca Sketchbook,” he says.

He visited most of the sites around Malaysia to complete simple sketches and take numerous photographs from as many angles. “Having so many references helped me choose the best composition so I can take my time to complete the paintings at home as each one is very detailed and takes a long time to produce.”

Sabah Museum.

Kon Yit has formed an indestructible bond with watercolour for over 40 years now and he cleverly works his magic by capturing all the architectural details of the landmarks with great precision. Accompanying each painting in the book are descriptions that give insights to the buildings featured.

Sultan Petra Jubilee Mosque in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan.

His favourite painting in this book? The Sultan Abdul Samad building, which graces the cover of the book, of course. “I have strong feelings for Dataran Merdeka and the buildings around it. My father took me there on August 31, 1957 when I was a boy. Another favourite is the row of shophouses in Little India, Klang. I used to live on the first floor of the landmark shown in one of the pages of this book.”

Terengganu State Museum in Kuala Terengganu.

He also likes the painting of Goldsmith Street (Jalan Tukang) in Malacca, with the Indian temple, mosque and Chinese temple all located on one street. “This is harmony at its best,” he concludes.


(Photos: Editions Didier Millet)

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