Yong Mun Sen
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Born in Kuching, Sarawak where his father ran a coconut estate, in 1901 Sen went to Dabu County in Meizhou City, Kwangtung (now Guangdong) Province in China for schooling in brush use and calligraphy and returned to Kuching in 1910. Sen always spoke of how seeing a Japanese artist painting with watercolors had made an indelible impression on him.
He is widely known as the Father of Malaysian Painting.[who?] Although trained in formal Chinese brush painting and calligraphy in China, as an artist he was drawn to watercolours and later oils.
Sen returned to China in 1914. His paintings during this visit were marked by a grandiose theme. He painted lions and tigers, images that were hugely popular with the warlords of the time. He married Lam Sek Foong in 1916, and returned to Sarawak in 1917.
He settled in Penang in 1922, where he had his own art studios on Penang Road and later Northam Road.
Mun Sen is noted for his watercolour landscape paintings, which incorporate influences from Chinese art resulting in more airy and generalised compositions rather than in more detailed or factual depictions. Since his death in 1962, his works have retained an important and honoured place in Malaysian art.
Two of his offspring follow in his footsteps, ChengWah and KhengWah. Both are well-established artists in their own media.
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