Trying to unmask Khoo Sui Hoe

loading Self Portrait at 35, oil on canvas, 1995, 61cm x 51cm.

In the words of an ardent admirer, the unfathomable Khoo Sui Hoe has been creating “a cosmos populated with myths, tantalising messages, fascinating beasts, people and himself – transfigured in spontaneous imagery and creative morphology.” After a lifetime travelling the world, this highly creative artist has been using Penang as his base since 2004.

KHOO SUI HOE, the person and his art, is often considered enigmatic and inscrutable.

How so, when his subjects, his images and his compositions are all so disarming in their simplicity?

Even the artist himself is constantly calm and seldom ruffled, and speaks candidly and sagely in soft measured tones. What more his being a quiet “doer” – making things happen apart from these painted canvases of his which have intrigued the art world for half a century.

Truth be told, Sui Hoe defies labels, especially pretentious or hyperbolic ones.

His art – and his commitment to it and the passion he has about it – speaks for itself.

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