MOUNT Kinabalu is one of the most painted landscapes in Sabah – so it is not surprising to see images of the highest peak in Southeast Asia on canvas in homes, coffeeshops, offices, different establishments and not forgetting, of course, the Sabah Art Gallery.
Benedict Chong, a very talented artist, loves painting Mount Kinabalu. The 62-year-old, born in Menggatal but now resides in Kota Kinabalu, has many a tale to tell about this majestic looking mountain, considered sacred by locals, and he is very articulate about it.
“When I was younger, I worked for Telekom and used to go to the station at the Kinabalu Park almost every month, and at times I stayed there for weeks. In those days, we walked up to the station and on the way, I saw beautiful Nature around me.
“I used to observe the mountain and look at every aspect of it. I learned its contours and the way it seemed to reach up to the sky. It was beautiful, the crevices and little nooks around its surface.
“I think that’s why I paint it so much. I also notice the mountain looks different from different places. If you look at it from Kota Belud, it is different from what you see in Pekan Nabalu or Kundasang. The angles are always interesting to explore — and paint, of course,” he shared.
On how many paintings he had done of the mountain, he pondered, shook his head and said: “Hundreds.”
According to him, some of his Mount Kinabalu paintings could well be adorning living rooms and galleries in China, Japan, Taiwan, Brunei and Australia.
“Sometimes, our VIPs, visiting other countries, ask me to paint for them as they want to present the paintings as sourvenirs to their hosts. Sometimes, I give away some as souvenirs too while managing to sell some.”
Benedict is one of the participants in the Invitational Artist Exhibition, organised by the Sabah Art Gallery recently where he exhibits his Lepa-lepa artwork.
It’s far from being his first though as he has been exhibiting his works since 1970. His first solo exhibition was in Hong Kong. In 1971, he exhibited in Brunei, followed by Seria in 1972 and Kuala Lumpur in 1975.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Penchant for painting Mount Kinabalu.