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Exploring Southeast Asia with Chuah Thean Teng: Father of Batik Painting

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Written by Eva Wong Nava and Jeffrey Say  |  Illustrated by Quek Hong Shin

Exploring Southeast Asia with… is a series of narrative non-fiction picture books for young readers. Each book will focus on one national artist, taking readers through the country’s history, the artist’ place within its history, and how art is a reflection of our times. Each book contains critical thinking questions comprising visual thinking strategies (VTS), an enquiry-based method to encourage children to think about the content and formal structure of the artworks.

The main character in this story is CHUA THEAN TENG, a Malaysian batik painter. This story takes the reader through the artist’s colourful life from Fujian, China, where his mother made shoes for women with bound feet, to Penang, Malaysia, where Chua opened a batik factory following WWII. His artworks were featured in UNESCO’s greeting cards in 1989. Chuah is widely regarded as the father of batik painting. Through Chuah’s paintings, readers will learn about the the importance of batik in the Malay world as well as the techniques of batik and batik painting. Readers will also get a glimpse of a Malaysian kampung and a Malaysian way of life.