Chew FangChin's paintings are synonymous with the colorful lifestyle of the Sarawak indigenous people of the island of Borneo. He has great love for their distinctive cultural heritage, and his specialty is to lively depict their customs, traditions and unique lifestyles through his creative brush using a mixture of watercolour and Chinese ink.
To get a deeper insight into the daily activities of the indigenous Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus tribes, FangChin, a law graduate, has ventured into their longhouse settlements deep in Borneo island’s interiors, lived with these friendly natives and learned about their ways of life through personal touch.
Such frequent trips have taken him to the hinterland of the Kelabits and Muruts in Bario Highlands in northern Sarawak, the Penan settlements up-river of Belaga in central Sarawak, the Kayan and Kenyah longhouses up Baram River and the Melanau heartland of the Rejang Basin, interior of Sarawak Malaysia.
FangChin’s untiring efforts to portray, promote and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups has won public recognition when the Sarawak-Malaysia Tourism Ministry selected his “Ethnic Impression” Series for its 1993 and 1994 tourism calendars.
As Sarawak’s “cultural ambassador”, FangChin has represented Sarawak-Malaysia in cultural exchange programmes in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Poland, Singapore and China in a series of official sponsored trips. He has also participated in an artist camp sponsored by the Museums and Art Galleries of (Northern Territory) Australia.
Chew FangChin did Malaysia proud as the country’s first artist to be invited to exhibit his masterpieces in China in Qingdao Museum and Jinan Hall Museum. He is also the first Malaysian artist to exhibit his artwork in the Academia SINICA Taiwan, R.O.C, South Korea, Japan, Poland, and Australia. Malaysia National Art Gallery have also recognized FangChin’s passionate endeavor with invitation to “Alami Puncak” Science of Art exhibitions in 2002 and 2005.
In FangChin’s 40 years of professional artist career, racing against mass deforestation and urban migrations, it is his life-long mission to preserve and promote the indigenous cultures of the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus tribes before extinction by sharing them with the world through his arts.
FangChin’s work represent a sensitive and highly perceptive impression of the indigenous people - a characteristic and hallmark of most of his works. His paintings illustrate an excellence understanding of his human subjects and their culture; thereby contributing to the artistic authenticity of his works.
FangChin’s paintings are well sought after by private collectors, and have added to the collections of art galleries and museums around the world in over 20 countries.