Sentimental strokes: culinary spectacles on canvas

Cheng Thak, Lui’s ‘Colour of Taste’ paints the different scenes behind quintessential Malaysian meals in a virtual exhibition

KUALA LUMPUR : Negri Sembilan-born artist, who goes by Cheng Thak, Lui (or Lui Cheng Thak), illustrates typical local food stall/kitchen action as a way of celebrate his love for iconic multicultural cuisines we love in a virtual exhibition, curated by WinSon Loh and hosted by Pinkguy Gallery.

From Claypot Chicken Rice to Hainanese Chicken Rice, Char Kuey Teow, and Nasi Lemak, many popular dishes that make up Malaysia’s melting pot of food fares were featured.

(L) Cheng Tak, Lui. The 54-year-old artist is known for detailing historical buildings, culture and heritage on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com
(L) Cheng Tak, Lui. The 54-year-old artist is known for detailing historical buildings, culture and heritage on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

In the artist remarks section of the exhibition, Chen Thak noted: “When I walk around the streets and lanes of a city, there is ‘taste’ that is unchanged among things that are overlooked by most of us.”

“By using colours to record the cuisines, by using feelings to describe time, by using lines to evoke appetite. These are used to describe the memory of ‘taste’,” added the 54-year-old.

YELLOW OCHRE (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com
YELLOW OCHRE (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

Known for his works detailing historical buildings, culture and heritage through paintings, all of his masterpieces are painted on small-sized canvas, roughly the size of A3 for the present series.

Sentimental strokes: culinary spectacles on canvas
YELLOW GREEN (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. The ‘Colour of Taste’ showcase is the artist’s 11th solo exhibition running virtually until September 29 via http://www.pinkguygallery.com. – Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

Flavours and flair

Cheng Thak is said to have used a total of 12 different colours and techniques to meticulously paint the different layers and lighting effects. 

YELLOW (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com
YELLOW (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

This is what makes Cheng Thak’s work special as his paintings offer different visual effects when they are admired under different lighting conditions. It gives birth to the different feelings and sensations his paintings are able to resonate across.

One could almost hear vividly the sounds and scents, a comforting nostalgia, that each painting is trying to depict.

TURQUOISE (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com
TURQUOISE (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

No doubt, the profound fascination that we have (growing up in this country) hopping from stall to stall, appeasing our Malaysian cravings of both sweet and savoury is what makes the nation greatly treasured.

The fact that it is now being immortalised through brush strokes thanks to artists such as Cheng Thak is an ode to how Malaysia’s amalgamation of culture and tradition has withstood the test of time and remained firm favourites among both the young and old.

PINK (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com
PINK (2021), 16” x 22” Oil on canvas. — Pic courtesy of pinkguygallery.com

If anyone is set to make themselves feel homesick, then the artworks under the ‘Colour of Taste’ series will certainly do the job well.

Have a look yourself and share with us your take!

By : Amalina Kamal – THE VIBES

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