Sarawak artist to donate 70 pct of proceeds from charitable art exhibition opening May 13 at Hoan Gallery

Bong poses with one of his paintings at the ‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ art exhibition today (May 10, 2023).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 10: The purpose of art transcends simply creating something beautiful because what is created must come from the artist’s heart and have some sort of deeper meaning, according to Sarawak oil painter Bong Choo Chiew.

Bong’s solo art exhibition titled ‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ will be opening this Saturday (May 13) at Hoan Gallery, La Promenade Mall in Kota Samarahan. The exhibition will showcase over 50 oil paintings.

In a generous gesture, Bong is donating 70 per cent of the proceeds from the exhibition to charity, with the 70-year-old choosing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Lundu, where he spent much of his childhood, Sri Aman, Samarahan, and a counselling centre in Kuching.

Lundu Buddhist Society, Triple Wisdom Arannya, Lundu, Kelab Tarian Naga dan Singa Fo Lo Shan Lundu Bazaar, Hung Fu Jing Ser, Samarahan, Ci Zhao Buddhist Association, Sri Aman Buddhist Association, and Kuching Bodhi Counselling Centre are among the NGOs.

“I am not a commercial artist. I told Hoan Gallery that I will donate 70 per cent of the proceeds to charity.

“I create oil paintings both for my own personal satisfaction and for the benefit of the community.

“I hope that my artwork will be appreciated by the local community of art enthusiasts, and that it will ultimately serve to benefit society,” Bong told reporters today who were attending an exclusive preview of the art exhibition at Hoan Gallery.

‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ is Bong’s first major solo exhibition. This exhibition of oil paintings features works from the 1990s depicting nostalgic scenes of markets, merchants, and shoppers, intricate paintings of fish, and his most recent abstracts, painted as recently as this year.

According to a press handout, Bong’s artworks are priced from RM3,000 to RM30,000.

Additionally, Bong’s long-time friend Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Deputy Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting will grace the opening ceremony on Saturday at 12.30pm.

Meanwhile, as per the press release, Hoan Gallery director Hoan Kee Huang said ‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ can be divided into eight series.

“Bong has categorised his paintings of single fishes as ‘Loneliness’, a school of fishes as ‘Harmony’, contemplative waterfalls as ‘Zen’, crystal clear waters as ‘Rivers’, and more.

“It’s a very emotional show. It’s very calming and beautiful. Bong is showing us the natural beauty of the world. There is a real deep sense of love for our Earth that comes across.

“At the same time, his earlier works of street-scapes and kampungs are very nostalgic. Many of the places he painted like markets in town are no longer there,” Hoan said.

Bong graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore in 1975. As one of Sarawak Artists Society’s (SAS) founding members, he organised the body’s first art show at the Sarawak Museum in 1985.

‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ is Hoan Gallery’s second solo show this year. The gallery just completed a seven-week long run of Alena Murang’s ‘Colours Of The Highlands’.

The opening ceremony of ‘Dialogue With Our Nature’ will include drinks and food, including a vegetarian selection.

For more info, visit, or search for @HoanArtGallery and @LaPromenadeMall on Facebook and Instagram. — DayakDaily

Bong explains that this intricate work of art costs RM30,000.