Of Women Artists and Their Art

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Yap YuDan, who is also known for 4x4 expeditions to Africa and South America, is adept at both Chinese brush paintings and Western paintings.

Male dominance permeates all aspects of society. This is more obvious in some areas than others. In the world of art, this dominance seems to have been weaker than in most other fields of human activity... at least if we judge by how many of Malaysia’s prominent artists are women.

In this era of the Super Woman, the purportedly weaker sex has to juggle her duties as wife, mother, daughter-in-law, daughter, sister, career woman or home/ family business-person.

Except for certain cloistered societies or backward tribal cultures, women have mostly broken through into almost all male domains.

In Malaysia’s art world, any perceived setback of women has been more a question of opportunities/priorities rather than any real gender discrimination. To be sure, there was more discrimnation in the early flush of nation building.

Pioneer artist Georgette Chen Li-Ying, with her Shanghai-Paris chic and sophistication, had a seminal influence on both sexes in the Nanyang (“Southern Seas”) littorals when teaching in Penang (1951-1953) before her 27- year teaching stint at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore.


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