Our island art scene was elevated a few notches with the opening of Langkawi's National Art Gallery branch a few weeks ago, in conjunction with the National Art Gallery’s 60th anniversary.
“Art and Culture is the ultimate marker of a civilised nation.”Tun Mahathir Mohamad 2018
Well, Langkawians, we can consider ourselves civilised!
National Art Gallery Langkawi is located in Kuah, housed in three modern brand new shop lots at the Dayang Walk Commercial Square. Tucked away from the main Kuah roads, you’ll find it in the new area behind Langkawi Parade – Grand Continental Hotel – Nagoya district. It is easy to find, has ample parking spaces and a great reveal of a different part of Kuah.
We visited the gallery a few days after its official opening that was held at the tail end of LIMA’19. It has lots of natural light and free form spaces upstairs thanks to the design of Kedah-based architecture firm Arkitek Rusman with. Fun fact: National Art Gallery Langkawi reportedly took 2 years and an estimated RM2.4million to build.
Two Concurrent Art Exhibitions
Two exhibitions are running right now till the 31st of May as an opening special. Katasila, Sanskrit for “please speak” comprises artworks that have been digitalised and presented in a projection format akin to viewing a GIF. The fusion of technology and art cleverly adds a heightened appreciation of the artworks.
Lakaran Langkawi (Langkawi Sketches) is on the second floor and features more than 70 sketches of various locations in Langkawi. More than 15 artists are featured in the exhibition; they had earlier took part in the Langkawi Sketches project held with the Knowledge Garden Programme at the Book Village, the Lakar Lukis Langkawi programme by Persatuan Angkutan Pelukis SeMalaysia (APS), and a plain air art activity organised by Kedah artists.
One thing that could add to this exhibition though is a map of the locations the sketches were based on. This would have greatly enhanced the art tourism visitor experience.
Art Book Lovers’ Haven
Do not miss the Art Reference Centre on the top-most floor – walk up via industrial style stairs to a contemporary attic – an absolute haven for art book lovers and quiet contemplation. Exhibition catalogues and National Art Gallery merchandise are also available.
Since the Ibrahim Hussein Museum closed in 2015, Langkawi has not seen a professional gallery offering so Kudos National Art Gallery for this initiative! We look forward to a more vibrant island arts scene so please support this amazing effort. Make a visit to National Art Gallery Langkawi as both the exhibitions running now will appeal to both locals and visitors, young and old.
How to get there:
Balai Seni Lukis Negara Langkawi / National Art Gallery
46 – 48, Jalan Pelangi 2, Dayang Walk Commercial Square, Kuah, 07000 Langkawi
National Art Gallery Langkawi is opened daily from 10am to 6pm including public holidays. We were informed that Fridays might be early closing for now. Entrance is free.
Text by Liz Taj