Every month, we feature artwork from Penang State Art Gallery’s permanent collection.
By Rebecca Yeoh
Kedah-born artist Heng Eow Lin made Lovers Embrace as he was exploring the theme of love – all its different forms and its ability to weather all conditions. Believing that ‘some things are easier to express with sculptures and others through painting’, Heng produced Lovers using fibreglass. The sculpture is imitative of human bodies in an embrace; two figures delicately holding each other in a rhythmic lover’s dance.
The female figure in the artwork stands in front of the male. Her body leans backwards, falling into the arms of her lover. The viewer cannot see her arms, as though she has let herself become almost powerless by choosing to put her faith in her lover. Her head is tilted towards the face of the male while his lips are pursed into a kiss on her right cheek. One of his arms goes around her waist as if to balance her weight while she bends backwards in a dance routine. As we take in each detail, we get more involved, sensing emotions that were unnoticed upon first glance.
The sculpture’s rough edges and intentional flaws contribute to the spontaneity of the piece and represent an everlasting love that survives different seasons. As a sculptor, Heng is able to convey the complete trust and surrender of the lovers through their physicality. A sense of movement and intimacy pulses through Heng’s sculpture, loudly displaying the lovers’ passion through its silent medium.
Rebecca Yeoh is a curator and writer. She graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia and King’s College London. With a Certificate in Curatorial Practices, Rebecca has curated in Penang and Venice.