Ch’ng Kiah Kiean

Visual artist

Ch’ng Kiah Kiean is a prominent Penang-based visual artist. His work explores and experiments with the possibilities of his materials and tools: paper, ink, graphite, watercolour, pencils, twigs and brushes – in order to find new expressive rhythms for his images. Deeply influenced by both Chinese and Western approaches to art, he has created a singular style of work, often grouped in thematic portfolios: landscapes, streetscapes, botanics, found objects. 

Kiah Kiean graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a degree in architecture. After running his own graphic design studio for about ten years, undertaking commissions that included book design, he is now a full-time artist and a pioneer of urban sketching. 

Over the past twenty years Kiah Kiean has exhibited widely in both group and solo shows, including Line-line Journey V (Nan Kai University of Technology, Taiwan, 2015), Portugal Sketches (Taoyuan, Taiwan, 2016), Ink-Between (Penang, Malaysia, 2016), Line-line Journey VI (Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Naples, Italy), Sketching Penang II (Penang, Malaysia, 2017), Palm Tree Series (Penang, Malaysia, 2018), Line-line Journey VII (Penang, Malaysia, 2018) and Close Objects (Oriental Art & Cultural Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2019).

Kiah Kiean’s work is held in private and public collections in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has published four books of his art: Sketches of Pulo Pinang (2009); Line-line Journey (2011); Sketches Diary of Penang (2015); and Sketches of Asia-Pacific (2015). He is working on a major new book with Gareth Richards due in 2020. 

Kiah Kiean joined the global Urban Sketchers movement in 2009 and co-founded Urban Sketchers Penang in 2010. He has been a sought-after instructor with Urban Sketchers in Spain, Thailand, Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore and Britain.

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