On a several-acre plot of land in Batu Gajah, world-renowned cartoonist, Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid was honoured with a ground-breaking ceremony. Known commonly as Lat, the artist shared his vision with everyone who attended the event on Thursday, August 22.
Growing up in nearby Kampung Kota Bahru and illustrating throughout his life, Lat is now bringing home his cartoons to a lakeside gallery on the outskirts of Ipoh.
Calling upon his childhood in rural Perak amongst his friends, Lat’s cartoons reach the heart of what it means to be Malaysian. He understands the culture and bestows his characters with much frankness and levity to lighten the mood.
The penghulu of Lat’s kampung, Mohammad Kasim Abdul Razak, is happy to see his success and supports this endeavour to create a place for everyone to experience Malaysian culture through cartoons.
Lat is well-recognised across Malaysia for his involvement in a campaign to help children learn the value of saving, even at a young age.
Though Kampung Boy is perhaps Lat’s most well-known work, he is an international artist. He has been invited to many countries to illustrate their cultures, including the United States. His works have been translated into languages spoken around the world including Indonesian, Japanese and French.
The event for Rumah Lat had the feel of a homecoming for the cartoonist and his work. The land is ready for development and Lat is seeking funds to build the gallery and exhibits. There had been much talk in recent years of getting some exhibition of Lat’s cartoons in the Ipoh area.
Executive Councillor for Tourism, Nolee Ashilin Radzi, reflected this eager attitude of local Perakeans when she commented, “This is something that we should have had years ago.” Today all the rhetoric is embodied for the first time in this ground-breaking event.
In the coming years, Lat’s cartoons will fund this unique place for local and foreign visitors alike. One can only imagine how he is going to style the property. Could a future trip to Perak include a visit to the setting that inspired Kampung Boy?