Legendary Malaysian art house continues on
Updated: 2014-04-01 16:18
Chong Keat Aun engages in performance art. [Photo by David Ngui/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Jalan Petaling, marketed as Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, is a neighborhood crowded with food stalls serving Chinese dishes like Hokkien Mee and beef noodles. It is also notorious for fake Gucci bags and Rolex watches sold in stalls run by foreigners. As a result, local residents are moving out of Jalan Petaling due to its deteriorating environment.
But on the first floor of a two-story shop house at No. 54, Sultan Street, an exhibition room named "Petaling Street Art House" shows a different picture of the old neighborhood. It brings visitors back to a time when Jalan Petaling was a bustling cultural and art center, a memory which curator Chong Keat Aun, the founder of Petaling Street Art House, is trying to preserve.
A narrow wooden staircase gives access to Petaling Street Art House, which shelters old photographs of Cantonese Opera performers at the Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association on the western end of Jalan Petaling and the soundtrack of Yau Kow Pik Ying (All Wishes Granted), the first Chinese movie produced in Malaysia, among others.
During the last century, many Chinese opera performers, art troupes, singers and dancers from Hong Kong and Taiwan also performed in Jalan Petaling, according to Chong. Postcards and posters of these performances are on display at the art house.