Tan Wei Kheng

Miri, Malaysia
“I travel into the dense interior and spend time time with the people of the interior known as the Orang Ulu.
I study and photograph them and paint people from theKayan, Kenyah, Penan, Kelabit und Iban communities.” (Tan Wei Kheng, Sarawak Kaleidoscope, 2002)

The artist Tan Wei Kheng is specialized in portraits from the indigenous communities living in the interior of Sarawak. Sarawak is situated along the northeast coast of the island Borneo and is beside Sabah, the second state which belongs to Malaysia. The large expanse of rainforest in Sarawak’s interior is crisscrossed by many winding rivers, which are often the only way to the places where the natural tribes are living.

Tan Wei Kheng had his first contact with the natural tribes from the interior in his early childhood when he lived in Marudi, which was visited by them from time to time. He developed his fascination for these people, because they were so completely different in the way they looked. Some of them were tattooed on arms, hands and feet or had elongated ear lobes sometimes stretched down to the shoulders or had completely shaved eye-browns. He started very early to make his first drawings and drafts of them. Since that time, he has traveled into the deep of the dense interior to photograph the people in their natural
surrounding and to make portraits of them.

It is Tan Wei Kheng’s destiny to draw attention to the beauty and specialty of the people of his country. For him there exists only one medium to do it: the portrait. As self taught artist without any formal training- Tan Wei Kheng studied art only by reading art books- he achieved a level of artistry, comparable with the technique of the old masters that filled people with awe.

place & year of birth
1970 in Marudi, Sarawak, Malaysia

featured galleries

solo exhibitions
Nostalgia of Tribal Borneo, Gallery Avanthay Contemporary, Zurich

Panaga Club, Brunei

Art House Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Hornbill House, Miri,Sarawak

group exhibitions
Titian Seni Sabah Sarawak Exhibition, Sabah
4th Exhibition of New Expression of Asian Art, China
Folk Art Forum, Kuching

The Sarawakiana Series – Sarawak Artist
Program X-trasi & Mural 50 Tahun Merdeka-National Art Gallery, Melaka
Panaga Art and Craft Fair- Brunei
MESSAGES IN ART – Pustaka Miri
Art fest 2007- Galleria, Kuching

National Art Gallery,Exhibition of Sarawak Artists, Kuala Lumpur
Miri Boat Club Living Legends of Sungai Asap

Galeri Petronas,Petronas Art Collection: series 3,Kuala Lumpur

Pustaka Miri
Dewan Suara, Miri. Gawai Dayak Miri Artist Exhibition

The Sarawakiana Series – Sarawak Artist
TAN WEI KHENG – Discover Sarawak (E-Book published by Pustaka Negeri Sarawak)

Iban Man with Fighting Cock

zoom & details

all works from
this region
Kenyah Woman from Long Tugan

zoom & details

all works from
this region