One can only describe Laitong as a living national treasure and with six decades of artistic contribution to the country, Laitong recently returned with Part II exhibition of the highly successful Expression of 60 Years held last year which showcased a selection of Laitong’s 45 works between 1960 and 2013.
The Part II exhibition took place from 6 to 10 March at Whitebox Publika showcased newly selected collection of works rarely have been seen by the public. Guests were lucky to delve into the world of one of the most important and integral artist in Malaysia’s art history who has found his passion reignited in the twilight of his life for his art and a renewed vigour to continue sharing his life's work.
Centre Piece 1969
Laitong’s early days all began with an editing job with Filem Negara upon returning from the prestigious Skowhegan School of Art in 1960. Pursuing his passion for the arts, he then spent more than three decades in advertising as the Creative Head of Rothmans International. His advertising works are portrayed successfully across the region reaching to more than 20 countries.
Laitong’s work is impressive!
National Museum Mural Wall by Cheong Laitong
"When I was young, it was different. Needing to paint and to share my work with the world was a fire within me. The means by which I could change the world, my world. The exhibitions I had were out of discipline to my own art foundations and responsibility to those in the art world who expected it of me", said Laitong.
Curated by Syed Nabil of NN Gallery, the Part II exhibition will continue a series of upcoming planned showcase for the next 24 months. Laitong will feature his latest works and inviting the art connoisseurs to look and critique if need be but most of all to revel in the whole creative process which changes and grows Laitong’s passion for the art.
"I had never stopped painting but I believe that for a good part of my later life it had become more of a means of escapism for me, to leave the stress and worries of the world and dive into that pure state of mind when all I could focus on were the feelings."
"Now in the twilight of my life, my children have all been provided for and grown up. My financial independence is my proof to myself that I was capable of doing well in the modern corporate world. I have no more stress and worries and in that quiet contentment, the fire started burning again within me."
With this vigorous return to the art scene and his passion reignited, Laitong is expected to continue to have a role in defining Malaysia's artistic essence going forward. Malaysia has much to look forward to as this most exciting of our old masters returns as confident and focused on making a difference to the art scene as when he first did 60 years ago.