If you want to check out a bit of arts, just head to National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur, where you can view works of art by locals, as well as international artists. The National Visual Art Gallery or Balai Seni Visual Negara is located within the premises of the former Majestic Hotel, along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin overlooking the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
The National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur is flanked by the National Theatre and the National Library. It is housed in a 1932 building which is conserved under the National Heritage Trust. The building’s unique structure, combining a blend of slate, tinted glass and a striking metallic roof, houses five galleries including a creative gallery and workshop, a resource centre, an auditorium and the gallery’s administrative centre.
From its humble beginnings of just four donated works of art, the National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur has come a long way since its establishment in 1958. In today’s modern building, the National Art Gallery boasts a collection of more than 2,500 works of art.
The artistic collections include varied compilation of ceramics from as early as the 1900s era, a breathtaking Chinese ink painting from 1964, drawings and watercolor arts dating from the 50s to 80s, and installations dating from 1983 that roughly resemble antique wall fixtures.
You can also find colored paintings created using oil paints, pastels and acrylic art — dating all the way back from the 1900s, as well as many other interesting innovations such as the photography, prints, sculptures and textiles.
The new National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur building is not merely a house for exhibiting works belonging to local and international artists, it is also a place that hopes to instil a love for and awareness of art amongst the public. Built with aesthetics and functionality in mind, the art gallery creates a space for the preservation, development, exploration and experimentation of the various facts of art in Malaysia.
The gallery holds a variety of exhibitions and educational programs. There are always art competitions, seminars and workshops held here. The building also used to be a popular hotel during the colonial days.
National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur – History
The decision to establish the National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur was of utmost significance, giving due recognition to art as expression of the society. Works by Malaysian artists would be collected as part of the national cultural heritage and displayed for the enjoyment and study by society and visitors to the country.
The idea was nurtured by the Federation Arts Council in 1954. The genesis of the establishment of the National Art Gallery began in March 1956, during the opening of the Third Annual Open Exhibition of Malayan Artists, where Yang Teramat Mulia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj expressed that Malaya should have its own National Art Gallery. He announced that the Federal Government would allocate a section of the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman building for ‘temporary use’ as the National Art Gallery. The Cabinet, on 22 April 1958, approved a paper on proposals for a National Art Gallery.
The National Visual Art Gallery has proven to be a popular spot with visitors, especially given its central location in the city. You can visit the National Visual Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur from 10am to 6pm daily (closed on Friday from 12:45-2.45 pm) and the admission is free. So, feel free to come and feast your eyes on the exquisite masterpieces. Please note that you’re not allowed to take snapshots of the beautiful arts. They are just for your viewing pleasure!
When you come to this art gallery, you will have the pleasure of visiting the creative center, walk through the sculpture garden, as well as admire various pieces of photography.
Rules to Note:
- Children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all time.
- The use of all photographic equipment, recording appliances, cellular phones and beepers along with food and drink are strictly prohibited within the galleries.