Malaysian Indian sculptor specialises in Chinese statues too

November 17th, 2008 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 17 (IANS) Making statues of Ganesha, Buddha or Chinese deity Kwan Tei — all come naturally to Malaysian Indian sculptor V.B. Kumar. His services are much sought after by caretakers of temples of different faiths in Kuantan, capital of Pahang state, or in nearby Kemaman in Terengganu.

Kumar admits he is paid handsomely, although that has not brought him much fame, says The Star newspaper.

After all, who would have known that most of the statues of deities in the famed Lao Zi Temple and Sun San Seen See Temple are works of art by this ethnic Indian.

Among some of the sculptures which he single-handedly completed were the statue of Lao Zi measuring seven metres tall, the brass idol of the Goddess of Mercy, the 18 disciples of Buddha, the prosperity Buddha, Eight Fairies, Lord Ganesan, Sei Min Fatt, Kwan Tai Yeh, a mermaid and images from Journey to the West which includes the Monkey God.

Kumar, 54, is now working on a Chinese deity called “Kwan Tai riding a horse” at the Lao Zi Temple.

He said he started to work as a sculptor when he completed his Form Five education.

“I love art and had a very keen interest in drawing and sculpting figurines, especially Chinese deities.

“The fact that I married a Chinese further improved my knowledge on the culture and religion,” he said in an interview to the paper.

Kumar is married to Leong Yik Fong, 50, and the couple have three children. However, it is only his youngest son B. Kiran Kumar, 18, who is interested in the art and will most likely follow in his footsteps.

Kumar said his profession was a tough and challenging job which required a good amount of imagination, appreciation of art and patience.

“To be honest, I did not attend any professional training overseas or locally.

“There is just no school to teach you sculpting but it was my keen interest that kept me going, and along the way, I learnt and perfected my art,” he said.

He said the time taken to work on a figurine varied. His speciality was in creating figurines made of wood and cement.

The shortest time he had completed a task was one week.

“So far, the Lao Zi statue has taken me the longest - six months,” he said.

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