‘Drawing the Blue Mansion’ is a project inspired by the iconic Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion aka The Blue Mansion. Sited in the World Heritage Site of George Town, this multiple award winning edifice is testimony to the stunning brilliance of eclectic architecture in the Straits Settlements and has been a source of unending creativeness. This project explores the fine line between architecture, orthographic drawings and the sequential art of graphic novels, sometimes known as ‘comics’. The plot is based on the romanticized daily life of Cheong Fatt Tze himself and his favoured 7th wife, Tan Tay Po.
Visitors to the mansion will be able to experience the drawings within the immediate context of the wondrous architecture and magical spaces of the Mansion itself. This artistic drawing project is a collaboration between architect/artist Eu Jin, Lim with Laurence Loh and Lin Lee Loh-Lim of Arkitek LLA (conservation architect of the Blue Mansion). Eu Jin has produced the current series of drawings after the success of ‘Drawing Soane’ which was based in Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. He has subsequently gained valuable architectural and graphic experiences both locally and abroad.’
Interpretation of a heritage site’s history and architecture transmits its spirit of place. This novel representation of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in the form of a comic book is a highly individualistic response to her eternal beauty and vibrancy. Eu Jin has recast the story of the Man and his Mansion in a manner that is thoughtful and intuitive, depicting elements in line drawings that distil and capture the cultural essence of the place, where each page of the book is a standalone masterpiece. These exquisite sketches invite you to peer through ancient doorways and windows to relive moments of Mandarin splendour, to take a step back into a time when the Chinese diaspora was reshaping Asia and the Penang Straits Eclectic aesthetic was being elevated to new heights through craft and industrial innovation. You are in a special place when you turn the pages of this book. Laurence Loh, 3 November 2015.
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