WCO Art & Culture Gallery promotes local cultures through miniature dioramas

WCO Art & Culture Gallery promotes local cultures through miniature dioramas

The WCO Art & Culture Gallery has received recognition from the Malaysia Book of Records

The dioramas depict Melaka’s position as an important trading port with traders from the region and beyond.

KUALA LUMPUR – A diorama depicting the glory of Melaka in the 15th century is among the highlights of the World Culture Organisation (WCO) Art & Culture Gallery, located in Cheras, Batu 9, Hulu Langat, Selangor.

The 10m x 1.8m diorama, filled with almost 1,000 small figurines measuring 6-cm tall, portrays Melaka’s position as an important trading port with the presence of many foreign traders from China, India, Siam, Java and Europe, as well as the life of the community during the era.

WCO Art & Culture Gallery founder Foo Loke Kee, 48, said the diorama is among thousands of his personal collection, which is now on display in the three-storey gallery, which also exhibits various miniature dioramas featuring the concept of heritage, history and culture of various races.

He said the artwork is entirely handmade from wheat flour and clay by more than seven artists in the gallery, including Helen Chua and Mohd Zain Abd Aziz.

Talking about his journey, Foo said despite being interested in art since childhood, he only became seriously involved in the field after attending an exhibition of miniature sculptures in Yanjiao, China, back in 2010.

“My interest never faded and after that, I was determined to open a factory specialising in producing these art products in Yanjiao, Hebei, in 2011,” he told Bernama.

Elaborating, Foo said he later decided to return home in 2015 and produced miniature models and dioramas with Malaysian characteristics, besides replicas of traditional houses, palaces and various wau kites.

“During my five years abroad, I was often asked about Malaysian culture. They wanted to learn and understand the similarities and uniqueness of our arts and culture,” said the Ipoh native.

Apart from local elements, he said the gallery was also filled with diorama sets depicting the Chinese people’s daily life during the Song Dynasty’s heyday in the 12th century, which were brought from his factory in China.

Various courses are also offered to train local talents to become artists at the gallery, which also produces dioramas and miniatures through the combination of hologram technology in line with digital transformation.

The WCO Art & Culture Gallery has received recognition from several parties, including the Malaysia Good Design Award for the gift sets and cultural souvenirs category in 2018 and the Malaysia Book of Records as the First Cross-Cultural Handmade Diorama Centre through the Malaysian and Chinese Diorama Collection in 2021.

In the meantime, Foo said the photos and information regarding miniature dioramas displayed at the gallery had been published through a book entitled Malaysia: Menelusuri Keindahan Sejarah Negara, launched by Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim recently.

Rais, in his speech, expressed his admiration for Foo, who was willing to sacrifice his own time, energy and money to establish a gallery full of information on the history of various races in Malaya since the pre-Independence era.

“Finding a ‘torch’ in culture is very difficult due to the various obstacles in our lives. Because of this, anything that Foo works on can be used as a new torch and a stepping stone for the distribution of roles to our society,” he said.

source – Bernama


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