heading article1 foreward message from choong kam kow retrospective

The National Visual Arts Development Board proudly pays tribute to Dr Choong Kam Kow, a well-known name in both local and international art circuits as an artist, sculptor, educator, art administrator and curator of high calibre.

Dr Choong Kam Kow’s dynamic backgrounds and activities have helped brought many changes and development to the mainstream art in the country, and his stature is indeed comparable to that of international artists. In 1964, he received the Fullbright Scholarship that allowed him to continue his studies at the Pratt Institute in New York. There, he also was appointed as Head of the Art Department at the United Nation’s International School. Among the various important posts he has held were President of the Malaysian Institute of Art, Chairman of the Federations of Asian Artists - Malaysian Committee, Dean for Fine Art Studies at the LA SALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, and Senior Lecturer and Head of Fine Art Department at the Faculty of Art and Design, Universiti Teknologi Mara. He has had eighteen solo shows and has participated in more than one hundred exhibitions inside as well as outside Malaysia, including in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Denmark, Cuba, Turkey, China, Japan, Mongolia, and other Asian countries.

Dr Choong Kam Kow has been actively involved in the international art arena, particularly in the Asian International Art Exhibition (AIAE). Until today, he has been contributing immensely to AIAE since its third edition in 1988. He has presented numerous papers in seminars, forums and symposia held in countries like China, Korea and Thailand. He also has delivered art lectures in museums and universities around the world, such as at the Guangdong Museum of Art, China (2004), University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (2000), Kyushu Sangyo University, Fukuoka, Japan (2006), and Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland (2008).

Dr Choong Kam Kow’s works have been acquired for permanent collection by not only our own National Visual Arts Gallery but also overseas art museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Guangdong Museum of Art in China, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, National Taiwan Museum of Art and Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan, Frederikshavn Art Museum in Denmark, and Singapore Art Museum. This clearly indicates that he is well recognised and celebrated internationally.

His long journey and monumental involvement for more than five decades in art and creativity certainly qualifies him to receive the highest national recognition, namely in the form of a retrospective exhibition. Highly distinctive and in its own class, this retrospective is organised for the enjoyment not only of all Malaysians but also foreign tourists. The Retrospective Exhibition of Choong Kam Kow - Cross Culture · Trans Era from the 1950’s reveals his strategy of fusing the Eastern and Western aesthetics in his art, starting from the “Kinta” series right through to the “Kungfu” series. This approach has allowed him to improve and develop further the repertoire of his visual idioms and aesthetic concepts.

The National Visual Arts Development Board believes that the staging of this retrospective is particularly timely and coincides with the arrival of tourists to the country in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014, and then the “Year of Festival” celebration in 2015.

Thank you and congratulations to the artist. It is my sincere hope that this exhibition will eventually help enhance and expand the artistic sensibility and taste of Malaysian people in particular and foreign visitors in general. It will definitely give them a great opportunity to discover and celebrate the richness and beauty of Malaysian visual arts.

Haned Masjak
Director-General National Visual Arts Development Board

(Original printed in "CHOONG KAM KOW RETROSPECTIVE - Cross Culture • Trans Era",
 National Visual Arts Gallery, Malaysia 2014)

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drchoong kam kow
Dr. Choong Kam Kow is a well known
senior contemporary artist,
a leading art & design educationist and
an independent curator in Malaysia