S’wakian artiste Lee Hock Kia unveils largest batik painting as big as a sedan car

Lee poses with his largest batik painting entitled "Symphony of Colours" at Hoan Gallery, La Promenade Mall in Kuching on Dec 17, 2022. Photo by: Nur Ashikin Louis

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Dec 17: Sarawakian veteran artiste Lee Hock Kia has unveiled “Symphony of Colours” – the largest batik painting he has ever done, at Hoan Gallery, La Promenade Mall here earlier tonight.

The batik piece is over three meters wide and one meter tall which is equivalent to the size of a sedan car.

It is a depiction of Sarawak’s jungles, longhouses, the indigenous people and their cultures.

Lee Hock Kia

The 85-year-old retired art teacher said ever since he was a school boy, he has always been in love with doing art from using watercolours to oil painting up to the part he discovered batik art.

“I spent about 50 years to study how to make our batik artwork to be one of the typical Malaysian artworks because in other countries, they usually do Batik ‘sarong’; they don’t do this type of artwork. Thus, I turned the batik technique into my own typical Malaysian artwork.

“I wish that the younger generation can develop our Malaysian art to become very particular, especially on batik,” he told reporters after the event.

With a vast experience in doing art for about 60 years, it took him about two months to finish the batik masterpiece.

A lot of artistes, especially the younger generations, may not be interested in and have the patience for batik painting due to the complicated and time-consuming procedure as Lee himself admitted that it took him a long time to discover the idea and batik artwork technique of his own.

“When I first came across batik art, I thought that this is something that should be developed in Malaysia. After so many years of doing batik art, I discovered plenty of my own personal techniques,” he added.

Throughout his journey as an artiste, Lee was commissioned by the Sarawak government to make a batik painting for the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong back in 1968.

On March 2, 1972, a blue-toned batik painting of his won the attention of the then Queen of the United Kingdom, the late Queen Elizabeth II, and subsequently sold to her.

The unveiling ceremony of the “Symphony of Colours” was one of the mall’s Christmas festivities, which also includes Sarawak Artist Society’s (SAS) month-long 37th Annual Exhibit on the ground floor.

Lee doing a live demonstration of Batik art painting at Hoan Gallery, La Promenade Mall in Kuching on Dec 17, 2022. Photo by: Nur Ashikin Louis

At the event, Lee also gave a live demonstration of batik painting. It was attended by many members from the SAS and art students from nearby universities.

Lee is one of several artistes featured at Haon Gallery, where he has sold three other Batik artworks, including “Capturing Old World Charm” (70cm x 61cm) and “Village Relics” (36cm x 42cm).

Another large painting of Lee’s titled “Pepper Garden” (1.83m x 1.22m), an oil painting, hangs in the VIP Room of the high-end restaurant Zoro by Domus.

For more info, visit hoangallery.com or call +6017 854 5651. The gallery is open daily from 9.30am to 6.30pm. Entry is free – DayakDaily