The artists that have contributed to the Landfillart Collection come from every one of the 50 states in the US and 52 countries. For this article we selected two artists from Malaysia, and give a little information on the environmental challenges in that beautiful country.
Malaysia ranks as the 21st most bio-diverse country in the world, with 2,199 endemic species. 18% of these species are listed as ‘threatened’, and because they are endemic, if Malaysia fails to conserve them, extinction will result.
Green, by Ching Teoh
“I painted the hubcap green with a flowery pattern to signify rebirth… today it celebrates its new life as a decoration piece on the wall!”
Ching, born in Penang in 1971, is a self-taught painter with a master’s degree in applied science. Painting with vibrant colors has always been her hobby, inspired by growing up in a multi-cultural environment where traditional art and customs have been embraced. By the year 2000, Ching and her husband, Khoo started ArtBug, an interior decorative art company. She is currently a full time painter, accepting commissions.
Deforestation is Major Environmental Concern in Malaysia
One of Malaysia’s main environmental challenges is deforestation. Much of the country’s economic growth can be attributed to its forest industry, but this has created the problems of deforestation. Between 1990 and 2010 Malaysia lost 8.6% of its forest cover, or around 1,920,000 hectares. There is still a relatively high forest coverage with estimates of 59.9% of the total area covered by forests — a sizeable portion of this is untouched virgin forests which date back to around 130 million years.
But a major problem created by the deforestation has been the elimination of habitat of many of the endemic species. At east a fifth of Malaysia’s mammal species, including the Sumatran serow, Sumatran rhino, dugong and the Malayan tiger, face extinction, with many numbering only in the hundreds.
Data from the World Bank showed that 70 of Malaysia’s 336 mammal species were threatened as of 2014, the seventh highest in the world in this category. Birds, fish and plants are also at risk. Malaysia’s population of Sumatran rhino, for example, has been almost completely wiped out mainly because of the monetary value of its horn.
Another problem created by deforestation has been that the traditional ways of life of the indigenous peoples in Malaysia are being destroyed because they depend on the rainforest for medicine, shelter, food, and other necessities. As the forest disappears, so does their culture.
The Malaysian Nature Society is active in advocating protection of forest and The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia has also been actively conducting research on the biodiversity of Malaysia’s forests as well as in conservation.
by Chew Fang Chin
“This is a challenge for me as an artist to transform a rusted metal into an art creation. This is also my support to this meaningful and creative recycle project from Kuching in Malaysia.” Chew Fang Chin
Chew Fang Chin is a professional artist who has had more than 28 solo Art Exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Australia, Taiwan, US and other countries. His website is at: www.fangchin.com
In his art, by combining a mixture of watercolor and Chinese ink, he is able to give a deeper insight into the Sarawak indigenous people.
Sarawak is Malaysia’s largest state. Its natural beauty is rich in flora and fauna — many threatened as noted above — and many designs in the arts and crafts are based on age-old legends. Located in the northwestern part of Borneo – known as the land of the Hornbills – it is a place of natural splendor, history, and mystery and is home to numerous indigenous cultures. Sarawak is well known for it’s ethnic diversity and the cultured lifestyle of its people – Sarawak has 27 ethnic groups, 45 languages and dialects who live together in peace and harmony.
The Sarawak Tourism Ministry selected Chin’s “Ethnic Impression” Series for its 1993 and 1994 tourism calendars.
The Ibans – Sarawak’s largest ethnic group – live in longhouses. Known for its warriors, they were one feared headhunters of Borneo. The women are among the finest weavers of Borneo and the “Pau Kumbu” is their masterpiece. The Malays are another major ethnic group and are known for their beautifully crafted wooden houses, and the “kain songkat” and “selayah keringkam” (textiles worked with gold and silver thread). The Bidayuh also live in longhouses, and are known for the “kesah” mats – stoutly woven from rattan and beaten tree bark to produce a hardy floor covering.
The Orang Ulu are the most artistically oriented of Borneo’s ethic people. Their massive longhouses are decorated with murals, their utensils are embellished with intricate beadwork, and the women cover their hands, arms, legs and feet with finely detailed tattoos.
Chew’s paintings are in collections of art galleries and museums around the world in Malaysia, Australia, China, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as private collections in the United States, Europe and Asia.