Lee Weng Fatt

 

 W. F Lee was born in 1967. He received his diploma in Art and Design from Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1987. Lee’s primary subjects are old heritage buildings which he had lived or played at.

He has an affinity for old buildings that he has lovingly documented over the last thirty years. For the artist, any old building will do; in fact, the older the better, because it means the building has "lived' and he is able to have a conversation with it. The building has a past, it has a character, and Lee is the building whisperer, teasing out the stories from its inscrutable facade for our pleasure. We take in the facades of shophouses, people milling about a medicine shop, an old vintage car, birds, bird cages and the sunlight filtering through the open space.

 

It is the artist’s untold admiration for these buildings that enables him to capture their souls, imbuing them with a timelessness that goes beyond their actual chronological age. He is interested in capturing the mood of a scene rather than the physical details of subject matter. The artist has transformed his subjects into ethereal “beings” worthy of inspiring awe and reverence. The buildings take on a life of their own. In most of his works, there is the ubiquitous birdcage, a solitary bird or a flock of birds which signifies human habitation.

Lee does not bluster when he talks about the need to conserve our heritage. This sensitive soul does it in his own quiet, inimitable way. It is as if these buildings recognise an old friend and cry out to him to be spared; he, in turn, hears their plaintive plea, and armed with his brush and palette, the weaponry of the artist, he immortalises them for posterity. He exhibits stoic defiance in the face of adversity and limitations, and his artworks are here to stay while the buildings may yet fall victim to progress.

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