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Reflections for Penang Visual Art Immersion Trip 2017

The students in the Secondary 3 Art Elective Programme went for a Visual Art Immersion Trip to Penang from 4th to 7th June. This trip was an extension of the art curriculum where students had to persevere and practice to improve sketching, make connections between historical, cultural and social influences of art and experience art in a new environment. They experienced the culture and street art of Penang in George Town, learnt about the historical uses of South East Asian plants in the Tropical Spice Garden and enjoyed the sights at Penang Hill. They also had a chance to hone their urban sketching skills with artist Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, try out traditional batik painting as well as deepen their appreciation for art through conversations with the late Chuah Thean Teng’s two sons. 

Penang Visual Art Immersion Trip Collage.jpg

Here are some reflections from the students: 


“Urban sketching in Penang was new, exciting and nerve-wracking as we had to learn how to use twigs and ink to paint. It was very daunting initially. However, it turned out to be very fun as it was challenging and the places we went to, like the Penang Hill and the Tropical Spice Garden, provided very good opportunities for us to learn.” 

Loh Yuan Xin, 3E2


“The use of the stick and interesting lines was the main focus of urban sketching. It’s really about trying to capture the impression of the object, rather than drawing the actual object. The interesting atmosphere of the streets in Penang also allowed me to experience something new. It also reminded me of Philippines which also has a widespread graffiti culture along the roads.”

Gonzales Josiah Carlos Garcia, 3E1


“Urban sketching in the Tropical Spice Garden and at Penang Hill was different from what we experienced back in school. In school, we sketch in the comfort of an air-conditioned room and clean surroundings. However, during urban sketching, we were constantly bothered by the heat, insects and other tourists. Through this experience, I have learnt that we should channel our attention to our works to prevent external distractions when we are carrying out urban sketching.


During the Penang Visual Art Immersion Trip, we also attended a workshop by Mr Ch’ng. During the workshop, I learnt a new drawing technique of using sticks and Chinese ink. This new technique was fascinating as it made Mr Ch’ng’s work very unique and outstanding. Visiting his studio was very memorable for me, as I got to observe how an artist worked in his own environment.”

Ng Zi Hao, 3E2


“Urban sketching was relaxing as it was a time when we can have our ‘alone time’ to draw, enjoy nature and the beauty of the environment. With more practice, the drawing process became easier. To challenge ourselves, we used twigs and inks during urban sketching. This made regular sketching easier when we returned to using the usual pencil and pen medium to sketch. My observation techniques were also sharpened after this experience.”

Lin Zhengjue Elisa, 3E2