Chong Hon Fatt retired in early 1997 to become a full time artist. Born in Penang, Chong Hon Fatt paints alfresco daily. His early paintings were depictions of street scenes in Penang, documenting the rich contrast between old heritage buildings and modern edifices alike, as well as places of interest such as the historical jetties and bustling marketplaces.
In this exhibition, Chong Hon Fatt continues his tradition of old and new with the emphasis on our capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Chong Hon Fatt paints outdoors and that is why he is a familiar sight in any nook and cranny of both Georgetown and now Kuala Lumpur. A town dweller since birth, his instinct to paint man built environment is natural.
“Chong Hon Fatt’s virtuosity is in oil medium – a medium he uses very effectively and with confidence. Adopting the alla prima technique, Hon Fatt works rapidly to capture the flickering quivering light emphasizing the mood in most of his paintings. He does not build a kaleidoscope of patches of pure hue, layer by layer, or complete his work in successive layers of glazes and scumbles. His application of paint is spontaneous, direct assured and wet-into-wet.” Dr.Chew Teng Beng
As a result, his latest works such as Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bandar 20, Kuala Lumpur, Lebuh Pasar Besar, Kuala Lumpur are all based on his urban experience. These scenes that are all too familiar to the urbanite are often overlooked en passant . Chong Hon Fatt’s urban experience is central to his expression. It is this experience that makes socio-political comments in a strong reaction to the demolition of these heritage buildings.
Chong Hon Fatt’s pursuit to capture the essence of these heritage buildings couples his subjective feelings with objective observation, where he records images of our past before it vanishes. The glory and contrast they exude today are a mosaic of patterns that speaks volumes of our treasured history.