Galeri Rumah Lat: A Showcase of Dato’ Lat’s Art, a Treasured Collection of Malaysia’s Royal Artist

By: Rosli Mansor

The inauguration of Galeri Rumah Lat by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, is a great tribute to Malaysia’s renowned cartoonist, Dato’ Mohd Nor Khalid, better known as Lat.

This monument showcases elements of Malay architecture and the socio-cultural ambience of the village that has influenced the artistic journey of this ‘Royal Artist’.

Apart from showcasing the history and life experiences of a cartoonist, the gallery also documents various achievements and recognitions, starting from being a ‘kampung boy’ who migrated to the city and eventually gained international fame.

The overall area of Galeri Rumah Lat, located on Jalan Bemban, Batu Gajah, is approximately 4493 square meters.

The construction of both buildings incorporates several elements, including historical significance, Lat’s uniqueness and brilliance as a national cartoonist, as well as contemporary interior design.

Galeri Lat: Galeri Lat is a single-story concrete building that houses exhibition spaces displaying Lat’s artworks.

The entrance area showcases a collection of his selected caricature paintings from 1962, including his biography.

Additionally, the gallery is divided into several exhibition spaces, audio-visual areas, a cafĂ©, Lat’s art garden, and an office space.

The souvenir shop attracts visitors with items such as T-shirts, caps, mugs, and more.

Rumah Lat: Rumah Lat, on the other hand, is a traditional Malay house with a five-tiered roof, known as Rumah Limas, reflecting Perak’s traditional architectural style.

The construction highlights the local socio-cultural aspects by using indigenous materials such as wood.

The house is furnished, starting from the entrance area, through the middle section, and into the kitchen.

Lat’s artworks, showcased here, not only promote awareness among visitors but also encourage critical thinking and foster a sense of national pride among Malaysians.

Born in Kota Bharu, Perak, Lat has been involved in the world of cartoons since the age of eight.

His first comic, titled “Tiga Sekawan Menangkap Penchuri” (Three Friends Catch a Thief), was published in 1964 when he was just 13 years old, marking the beginning of his career as a cartoonist.

His works, such as ‘Kampung Boy’, reflect the delicate Malay village culture, affection, and family values, while also portraying the multicultural Malaysian society and the distinct characteristics of families in both rural and urban settings.

According to Lat, the brand ‘Kampung Boy’ indirectly promotes the culture of Malaysian society as a whole and specifically showcases the life of the Malay community in Perak.

“The Kampung Boy House itself refers to a traditional house. Behind it lies many implied meanings, including educating the younger generation, and introducing the customs and culture of the multicultural society that coexists peacefully despite differences in ethnicity and beliefs.

“Now, the international community has become familiar with our customs, culture, and way of life through the stories depicted in the comic ‘The Kampung Boy’,” he said.

Galeri Rumah Lat will be open to visitors starting from July 9, 2023, every day except Mondays, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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