It took two years and an estimated cost of RM2.4mil to realise the National Art Gallery Langkawi project, which finally opened its doors recently at Kuah’s Dayang Walk Commercial Square.

National Art Gallery Langkawi, built by Kedah-based architecture firm Arkitek Rusman, is touted to be a collaborative artistic hub in the northern region.

“This gallery was established with the aim of enhancing collaboration between the community and industry,” says Datuk Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa, National Art Gallery (NAG) director general.

“Among the main aspects about this gallery is the dynamic art reference centre and workshop area for curators and artists to ‘upskill’ and ‘reskill’ through workshops, open art talks, exhibitions and collaborative art projects,” he adds.

National Art Gallery Langkawi houses two art galleries, an art reference centre and workshop areas in the spacious and glass-panelled building.

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“This gallery (in Langkawi) aims to stimulate a broader appreciation for art,” says Datuk Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa, National Art Gallery (NAG) director general.

Launched in conjunction with NAG’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the National Art Gallery Langkawi is currently hosting two concurrent exhibitions till May 31, namely Langkawi Sketches and Katasila.

Langkawi Sketches features artists such as Adzran Omar, Ismail Alias, Salleh Dawam and Suriah Suim. With nearly 70 artworks, this exhibition, as the title suggests, showcases the natural beauty of the island by the participating landscape artists.

The artworks for this exhibition are a result from a series of programmes, planned since 2017, such as Langkawi Sketches, Program Knowledge Garden and Lakar Lukis Langkawi.

A handout photograph of one of the exhibition spaces in National Art Gallery Langkawi.

As for Katasila, which means “please speak” in Sanskrit, the featured artworks – seven in total – are from NAG’s and WCO Holdings’ (a KL-based cultural centre focusing on Chinese artefacts) collections.

However, instead of exhibiting the original artworks, Katasila is presented in GIF animation form and a video-loop projection on the gallery wall.

“The Katasila exhibition is more about looking back at how the practice of speech in the old days was packed with rich meaning, poetically nuanced and very courteous,” adds Najib.

National Art Gallery Langkawi is set to be another important destination to attract tourists.

According to data provided by the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) and Langkawi Tourism, 3.6 million domestic and international tourists visited the island last year.


Langkawi Sketches and Katasila are on at National Art Gallery Langkawi, Dayang Walk Commercial Square, Kuah, Langkawi in Kedah till May 31. Opening hours: Monday-Sunday (10am-6pm). Free admission. More details: www.artgallery.gov.my