Lim Siang Jin, 70, is a self-taught artist who has been painting since the mid-1970s. Until recently, all his works were shown only to family and a few close friends. In 2018, he began to distribute them to a wider audience — via four limited-circulation PDFs that included writings on matters close to his heart. In tandem with this, he began to post his pieces on social media. From 2018-2020, he continued to put together his older works, resulting in four more sets of PDFs.
Siang Jin has had three excursions into art -- years at university in Britain as a student and The Malay Mail as a sub-editor (1973-1982); time he spent at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia as Head of Publications (1985-1991); and during the recent Covid lockdown and a bit after (2020-2022). There was a gap of 30 years (1989-2020) when he hardly produced anything new.
During much of the three decades, he was deeply involved in work, mainly in publishing, communications and, branding and marketing. He was, for example, a founder director of The Edge. He went on to head the media business of Nexnews Bhd that owned the business weekly and theSun.
In all these endeavours, he continued to take an active interest in the “backroom”, in the production and creative processes of the business. Like his art, his work, from publishing to management, is girded by the ideas of Quality, Timing and Aufhebung (the idea that every new development is an inextricable combination of the old and new).
Siang Jin held his first solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in October 2022 where he exhibited some 70 pieces; all these were created during the Covid years (2020-2022). While his favourite artists, and therefore his main influences, are mainly Western-modern (notably Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Matisse, Miro, Klee and Kandinsky), he continues to innovate. This is especially apparent in the digital-analog creative space where he combines his experience in painting, photography and media production.
Restart 2020: Continuation & Change at A Place Where by APW, 29 Jalan Riong, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Oct 21-30, 2022. Read about the nine parts (1) Restart 2020: Continuation & Change. Read here. (2) Exaggerated Stills. Read here. (3) Excerpts from a Doodle. Read here. (4) Schticks. Read here. (5) Adventures with Acrylics. Read here. (6) Fear & Hope in Covid Times. Read here. (7) Unconnected. Read here. (8) Colours Again in the Digital-Analog Realm. Read here and (9) Evocative Durian, Mystifying Durian. Read here.
Our Legacy: Landmark Memories of Penang Free School at The Old Frees’ Association, 41 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 George Town, Penang, Sept 28-Oct 3, 2023. The exhibition consists of 31 black-and-white prints, each with a write-up by Lim. Read here, here, here (Malay Mail Online) and here (The Star)
The Emperor’s New Clothes at Numaish Gah, 31F Main Market, Gulberg 2, Lahore, Pakistan. May 21-28, 2023. Read here
The Naked Face, online exhibition via Art Voice Gallery, 28 Jalan Kovil Hilir, Sentul, 51100, Kuala Lumpur, May 12-25, 2023. Read here and here.
Tjetak, Art Voice Gallery, 28 Jalan Kovil Hilir, Sentul, 51100, Kuala Lumpur, June 1-21, 2023. Read here
The Truth Untold, Art Voice Gallery, 28 Jalan Kovil Hilir, Sentul, 51100, Kuala Lumpur, November 11-30, 2023. Read here
Updated: November 2023