Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Balai Seni Lukis Negara (National Art Gallery)

Over the weekend, I saw an interview on television. It was about some art exhibition currently held in Balai Seni Lukis Negara till 31st of July. The central theme is Hutan Belum (Belum Forest Reserve).

Yesterday, I decided to check the exhibition out. But first I need to find this Balai Seni Lukis Negara. The first building I went to was the old building located opposite Mahkamah Syariah (Malaysian Islamic Court). The old building no longer housed Balai Seni and was left in ruined. It sadden me that such historical building was left to rot and be 'eaten' by weeds.

Then I drove around to find tourist police. I saw the sign board to the booth and eventually found the booth. Unfortunately, no tourist police could be seen. A very misleading signboard and booth. After a long round-around, imagine me relief when I saw another booth. But this time it was the police (the normal police booth).

I stopped my car and got out to ask for direction. My relief was short lived when the polite man in blue uniform gave me this blank look. He has no idea where the building is. From the look in his face, I think he has never even heard of Balai Seni Lukis Negara.

Later that day, on my way back from my office, lo and behold, there's the new building. I had passed is almost everyday. It is located right next to Istana Budaya by the busy Jalan Tun Razak.

This morning, I stopped by the Balai Seni Lukis Negara. I tought it was easy to find. So near yet so far. The enterance was not the same as the enterance to Istana Budaya. While there were adequate direction signs to Istana Buday, signs to Balai Seni Lukis was almost none. In fact, other that the one at the building itself, I couldn't see any other signboards. Instinctively, I turned into a small road (Jalan Temerloh) right after the spanking new building. True enough, there was the empty parking lot on my left.

The art collection was great. Unfortunately the arrangement was not really good. I have not been to many art gallery, but somehow the one in KLCC looks better. Maybe because the one in KLCC is small and the exhibition goes in somewhat a 'flow' from entrance to exit. The National Art Gallery on the other hand have multiple exhibition hall at each level. Other than that, I had expected more artworks to be displayed considering that it is a National Art Gallery.

I'm not sure if National Art Gallery is included in your typical travel brochures. But do check it out if you are an art lover. You could take a taxi from KLCC. If you are feeling adventurous, take LRT and stop at Titiwangsa. From there you can take a bus (if I'm not mistaken number 103). Be ready to spot Istana Budaya and press the bell to stop the bus near the National Art Gallery. Chances are, the bus drivers wouldn't know where it is.

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