Chng's Determination
Prof. Dato’ Radin Umar, Chng, Henry-Claude Cousseau, Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin, Dato’ S. Thanarajasingam, Datuk Dr. Zulkefli Bin A. Hassan (from left to right)

The Malaysian government recently presented Chng Huck Theng’s painting - ‘Determination’ to Europe’s oldest and most prestigious art school, the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) in Paris. The hand over was officiated by the Malaysian Ambassador to France, Dato S.Thanarajasingam and witnessed by the Higher Education Minister Dato’ Seri Khaled Nordin. Accepting the artwork was the head of Le Beaux-Arts, Henry-Claude Cousseau.

This event made Chng the only Malaysian artist to be collected by this world-renown art institution that has a history dating back to 1648. Beaux-Arts has produced masters including Claude Monet, Gustave Moreau, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Augusta Renoir and Xu Beihong.


Henry-Claude Cousseau was delighted with Chng’s artwork and commented that the artist’s work was unique and had a strong character. Dato’ Seri Khaled Nordin was confident that this exchange would further strengthen the relationship between the two countries especially in art and culture. Ambassador Thanarajasingam said that one of his aims was to connect Malaysian art institutions with ENSBA and hoped that this would further enhance the appreciation of Malaysian art in Europe. He also mentioned that one of Chng’s paintings was displayed in the Malaysian Embassy in France.

Chng’s paintings have also been collected by various prominent art institutions around the world, including, the National Art Gallery Malaysia, Singapore Art Museum, University Museum and Art Hong Kong, etc. Chng is also the youngest Malaysian to serve on the Board of Trustees National Art Gallery Malaysia and is the youngest President of the oldest art society in Malaysia - the Penang Art Society. He is also the only Malaysian resident artist of the well known Linda Gallery that has galleries and art museums in Indonesia, Singapore and China.


‘Determination’ This painting was inspired by the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008 that left almost 20,000 people dead. This devastating tragedy left hundreds of thousands homeless and destroyed thousands of buildings. During this sad episode, there was a little girl that wanted to learn ballet so much that she had begged her parents to enroll her in ballet classes. She was so happy when her parents finally agreed to let her pursue her dream but unfortunately the earthquake struck before she even got the chance to take her first lesson. She was one of the victims of the disaster and was fortunate to be rescued from the rubble. However, one of her legs was crushed and had to be amputated. Her dream of becoming a ballerina was shattered.

The painting ‘Determination’ was painted with a black background with a shadow of the girl looking out the window. Obviously her world then was black with no hope of ever dancing, the golden stroke represents the Chinese government’s determination to rebuild the lives and homes of the victims and hopefully with time this little girl will find the courage and determination to live her life to the fullest.


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