Gallery featuring famed Malaysian cartoonist Lat’s childhood to open after seven years

Sylvia Looi
Rumah Lat Dan Galeri at Batu Gajah will open to the public this year-end after its ground breaking ceremony in 2013. — Photo via Facebook/ Rumah Kartun & Komik Malaysia-MCCH

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — After seven years, a gallery to give a glimpse into acclaimed cartoonist Lat’s life is set to be open to the public at the end of the year.

Called Rumah Lat Dan Galeri, the house in Batu Gajah, Perak will offer visitors a glimpse into the life of famed Malaysian cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, better known as Lat.

At the gallery, you can travel back in time, complete with various items from Lat's childhood as well as furniture, mostly from the pre-World War II era, The Star reported.

Among the collection are a dressing table, a set of tables and chairs, a framed mirror, a rack for hanging clothes and a cupboard where Lat used as a storage space for his beloved vinyl records and shirts when he was about 19 years old.

Speaking to the portal, Lat remembered he would lock the cupboard as his housemates would go through his records and wear his shirts when he was not at home.

“These were among my prized possessions at that time. You save up for ages to buy records and my shirts were really very nice because I believed in looking dashing at that age,” he said.

The 69-year-old described the project, which has the support of the Perak state government, as personal.

“I drew the house from memory for The Kampung Boy. When you are nine, you remember every single detail and I have very fond memories from those times. There was no electricity and no water, but to a kid, it was a big treat to grow up in the kampung,” he was quoted as saying.

Lat got the idea to draw The Kampung Boy during his travels to the US when he realised not many people knew about Malaysia.

The book, which was published in 1979, tells stories that are set in a typical Malaysian village which Lat drew his inspiration from his childhood.

Rumah Lat is a replica of that same house.

At the gallery, there will be a selection of Lat's works spanning some four decades, dating back to 1964.

Lat hopes that Rumah Lat will remain for years to come and capture a sense of history and nostalgia for generations to come.

“I am very excited to show all of this to people. It will be a familiar sight to the older ones, but I think it will be something new and interesting to some of the younger generation. As much as I am enjoying putting this project together, at the end of the day it is not for me — it is for the future,” he added.

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