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This is Lee Man Fong

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By Gwylym Owen

Lee Man Fong (Chinese: 李曼峯; pinyin: Lǐmǐnfēng; Jyutping: lei5 man5 fung1; born November 14, 1913 – April 3, 1988) was a painter born in Guangzhou, China. His father, a merchant next ten children, brought him to Singapore. When his father died in 1930, Man Fong had to work hard to earn a successful for his mommy and siblings using his knack in painting ads and artwork. However, that was not ample for him. In 1932, he moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. The stir between nationalist groups such as Persagi (Persatuan Ahli-ahli Gambar Indonesia, or Association of Indonesian Draughtsmans) and Indische-Holland kunstkring community stimulated him. In 1942, Man Fong was jailed because of his enemy to Japanese colonialism in Indonesia. After six months in jail, Takahashi Masao helped him gain freedom. This Japanese official was curious in his artistic potential.

In 1946, President Sukarno heard about him taking into consideration he had his solo exhibition in Jakarta. Sukarno next knew that Man Fong was unqualified a Malino scholarship from Van Mook, the Netherlands lieutenant-governor general. In Europe, many of his exhibitions were successful. He briefly returned to Indonesia, and went incite to hold exhibitions from The Hague to Paris. In 1952 he returned to Jakarta. The visit from Sukarno and Basuki Abdullah, the approved palace painter at that time, encouraged him to insist Yin Hua in 1955. Yin Hua was an doling out of Chinese painters that had its office upon Lokasari Street, Jakarta. Many art exhibitions were organised by Yin Hua. In 1956, Yin Hua was invited to sustain exhibitions in China.

The association between Sukarno and Man Fong improved. His beautiful and absolute works matched once Sukarno’s taste. For him, Man Fong’s art was an run off from chaotic spirit. Sukarno didn’t have any particular theme preference in art. Only ten percent of everything his collections had a nationalist theme. “A situation of beauty is a joy forever,” was his remark not quite his taste upon art. Therefore, when Basuki Abdullah suggested to him to appoint Man Fong as the next-door presidential painter, Sukarno totally to it without hesitance.

Source: Kompas, June 1, 2001, an article by Agus Dermawan T.

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