The Art Gallery is delighted to present to you a Charity Art Exhibition by Dato’ Dr. Tan Chee Khuan and launch of his autobiography “My Life as a Psychiatrist and Gallerist”. This solo features 35 paintings from 2007 till 2016, which includes series such as Art with Social Context/Commentary, Heritage Buildings, Human Figures, Lightning and Volcanic Eruptions, Marine Life, Nature and Neurons (Nerve Cells). 100% of proceeds from the sales of his paintings and autobiography during the exhibition period will be donated to Penang Home for the Aged and Infirmed.
He is a self-taught artist. Since young, he was often criticised for painting human beings who appeared to be green as Martians. He was puzzled, as to him, the colour was correct. He found out the reason finally when he was certified as being red-green colour-deficient in Form 6 after being tested. He had difficulty in Chemistry classes when he needed help to titrate chemicals to the end point, which is when the colour changed. It was only in 2006 that he decided to overcome his fear of painting in colour. He was able to cope with his colour blindness with the help of his daughter. He painted Wine, Woman and Song, using his son’s leftover oil paints. He used that painting as a greeting card, and it received favourable comments from some artists. So, the next year, he requested his good friend, artist and gallery owner, Mr Koay Soo Kau to provide him with five canvases. Within a month, he filled the canvases with paint and showed them to Mr Koay. He was suitably impressed and agreed to give Dato Dr Tan Chee Khuan a solo exhibition in July 2009 at his gallery, Galeri Seni Mutiara at Armenian Street, Penang and so his profession as an “artist” started.
The Penang State Art Gallery on the recommendation of the chairman, Dato’ Tang Hon Yin, also acquired one of my paintings, Long Drive Home Blues. In 2009 National Art Gallery purchased Sunrise at Mount Kinabalu and Juvenile Orang Utan for their permanent collection. He was ecstatic. In early 2013, he was invited to consign paintings to Masterpiece auction house (based in Jakarta and Singapore). At the inaugural Masterpiece KL auction on 9 June 2013, his Lotus in the Rain was accepted. Although the estimate was RM 3 to 5,000, it was sold for RM 6,050 (including 10% premium). The idea of writing his own autobiography came about when he was supposed to be resting and recuperating from his first surgery after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Instead, being one who could not sit still, he went on to begin his journey of his autobiography and completed it within a year.
His autobiography consists of two main sections, his professional life and his travels. He has travelled to all six continents which include exotic places like Alaska, Maldives and Galapagos Island. In 2020, he spends one month travelling to Hawaii, Ecuador, Los Angeles, Miami, Caribbean Cruise and finally Washington D.C. He was lucky as two weeks later Malaysia was under lockdown for Covid pandemic. The cover of his autobiography was taken in a studio which showed him in a mock-up of the Oval Office in the White House.
Do visit the exhibition preview of the Charity Art Show by Dato Dr Tan Chee Khuan to view his paintings.
05 till 19 March 2023
Friday to Sunday: 2.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. *Other times, by appointment only.
Official Launching: 05 March 2023, 12.00 noon by Dato Dr Yip Kok Thye, Medical Superintendent, Hospital Lam Wah Ee.