Born in Tawau, Sabah, young Kuala Lumpur based artist Chok Yue Zan who won the prestigious 2017 UOB Painting of the Year in Malaysia grew up with his grandparents in a forested environment surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking sceneries. It was his sanctuary, a space of unbridled happiness which he considers his lost paradise. Heavily inspired by nostalgia and the singular theme of past, present, and future – Chok believes that one’s memories of the past can have very tangible effect on one’s future.
You were born in Sabah, East Malaysia. How influential has Sabah and its lush forests been in your art?
Sabah, Borneo is a beautiful place surrounded by lush forest and ocean. Unlike other kids, I am very lucky to grow up with my grandparents who were living in a beautiful paradise (forest). There are clean rivers where I can see all the fish dancing in the water, duck, and geese singing for the fish, chicken, and dogs chasing each other, cats sleeping all the time. This is all about my childhood happiness and joyful moments. I think my mum made the right decision for my childhood.
The themes you have chosen over the past years are often related to “Paradise”, or a “Lost Paradise”. Tell us more about this Paradise which is so vividly present in your art?
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