Sunday, July 08, 2007

Everlyne Tai

While I was walking around in Malacca while shooting last week, I just happened to walk into a shop selling a variety of things as I was going to the Puri Hotel to shoot... When I saw these paintings that just made me stop and stare...

As I just stood there staring at all these beautiful paintings, a sweet girl comes up to me and asks, "Hi Miss, can I help you, are you looking for something?"

"Yes, I'm interested to find out more about the artist who did these paintings. Is he/ she local? Where can I find this person?"

"Actually, I'm the artist...." she replied...

"Wow! I REALLY love your paintings! There are so beautiful and detailed!"

"Oh thank you..... there are more.....want to have a look?"

"Of course!!!"

So I looked around the shop at her paintings... and spent some time talking to her asking about her inspirations and the content of her work...

This painting has many layers of meaning... the woman is holding a flower of paradise which relates to the background of the painting. In search of a new paradise, Chinese merchants (among others Indian, Arab, Portugese and Dutch) came to Malacca in the 15th century in search of trade. They came by the sea and traded by barter system on their boats in the river. Some of the Chinese merchants ended up staying in Malacca and marrying locals, hence creating the Peranakan culture. The background represents the ideal life these merchants came in search of and found in Malacca. Of course it's every womans dream to find stability complete with a safe home...see how the clouds cover her head a bit and the water effect to the left of the buildings? this is what it all means.... also, the flower of paradise only grows in tropical climates, referring to the climate in Malacca..

not just a pretty painting... it all has a symbolic meaning to the artist...

This one, though not very big, has beautiful fine detail...She told me it took a long time to do the details of this painting. I believe her. Just look at the panel that the woman is leaning intricate... it reminds me of the work I saw in the Baba Nyonya Heritage Musuem.

I began to ask Everlyne, why does she like kebayas so much until it plays such a pivotal motif in her paintings?

When she was young, her baby sitter, mother and grandmother always wore beautiful kebayas with matching sarong batik. She always loved looking at the clothes they wore and admired them... such admiration has been carried through into adult life and influenced her artistic expression.

I adore the jewellery detail on these abstract portraits of nyonyas....Everlyne told me that she actually researched details, patterns, designs and motifs of antique and vintage peranakan jewellery in books to inspire the jewellery these ladies are wearing... these portraits have such strong character to me.

As Everlyn put it best "Why wouldn't anyone be inspired by the beauty of the kebaya and jewellery?!"

I totally agree!

The way the faces have been abstracted has been inspired by the make up worn by Chinese opera performers and Classical Indian dancers.

Everlyne once had an Indian teacher who taught her how to put on eyeliner the way the classical Indian dancers. Obviously, it's a lesson that has stuck with her...

To see Everlyn's enchanting paintings, you can go to

Earth Collections

64 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok

75200 Melaka

Phone Number - 06 286 1210

Prices range from RM 800 - RM 2500

It's always a joy to see beautiful art........

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