Players: Celebration, 2010 by Choy Chun Wei

Choy Chun Wei graduated with a BA (Hons) from Central Saint Martins London in 1998, before going on to gain his Masters in Fine Art from University Malaya in 2016. An extremely intellectual artist Chun Wei has received several accolades including the Juror’s Choice Award at Bakat Muda Sezaman (2004) and Honourable Mention at Philip Morris Malaysia/ASEAN Art Awards (2003) as well as full scholarships from The London Institute (University of Arts London) and Higher National Diploma (HND) Teo Soo Ching. Chun Wei was invited to be artist in residence at Vermont Studio Centre Asian Artist Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, United States and at Rimbun Dahan in Malaysia. His artworks can be found in the collections of National Visual Arts Gallery Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia, Hijas Kasturi Association, The AFK Collection, Architron Design Consultants, Veritas Design Group, Zain & Co Advocates and Solicitors, Edward Soo & Co Advocates and Solicitors, Seksan Design and CWL Design Malaysia.

‘Players: Celebration’ is a rare piece for Chun Wei in that it is a standalone work rather than being part of a series. It was produced at a point in time when there was an incredibly strong bond between artist, Chun Wei, and collector, Farouk Khan. The pair would regularly meet either in Farouk’s home, Chun Wei’s studio or on outings to see art at museums and exhibitions. During this time they engaged in discussion on Chun Wei’s art practice, which is very much centred on Constructive Abstraction, and what else could his works incorporate? The AFK Collection has always been known for housing seminal artworks which led Farouk and Chun Wei to discuss the concept of ‘being iconic’- whether as an object, event or person.

Chun Wei began to explore this theme through the lens of legendary football players, and viewers will notice photos of famous football stars incorporated into the mix of media across the artwork’s surface. This inclusion of figurative image is highly unusual for Chun Wei, marking this as a distinct moment in his career until present time. It is crucial to note ‘Players: Celebration’ was not a commission but rather Chun Wei’s response to an intellectual discussion he was engaged in. Perhaps the title can further refer to a celebration of the artist and patron relationship, and the way in which intellectual discourse has always driven Malaysian contemporary art forward.