On our recent getaway, we dashed across to Kuala Lumpur, a burst of new culture and big city injection. Right before we walked out the door I tied rainbow ribbons to our bags so we could easily recognise them, little did I know that it was framing the path for our trip, this would become our rainbow brick road.
Travel to change perspective
Travel takes us to new locations physically, mentally and emotionally. You get to be whoever you want to be, you get to try a new you on for size. Eating different food, buying clothes you’ll probably never wear again (it was in the moment!) and having conversations you never had before.
“You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong.” Susan Fitzmaurice
Funnily enough, I’ve never really been a big traveller. I love my home, my routine and my animals. I've never enjoyed being away from them too long but this year as my time became free I suddenly had the desire to flee. But the reality of blended families and school snapped me back into reality!
So, hello 5 day adventures ❤️ It turns out it’s right within my zone of comfort and is opening my world to new opportunities.
We landed in Kuala Lumpur (KL), straight into the sweaty heat, I love it. I’ve been to KL a few times now and there is something about the gentle culture in a big city that pulls me in. We never plan our trips in advance, Jeff and I both like to be able to go with what we feel like on the day. If main attractions are booked out, it’s not meant to be. It doesn't matter, if we love a place we'll be back and there is always something else waiting for us to do.
On day 1 we wandered across the road to the W hotel on the hunt for coffee.
- Side note, if you take cows milk this is non-existent in KL or Singapore!! My closest match was a half-full tall flat white from Starbucks with an extra shot. A poor substitute, but I still crave my coffee, work in progress 😝
The second we walked in the door at W Hotel, rainbows splashed our path. With sculptures in the foyer, a depiction of the KLCC Twin towers and a large W. What is this creation? Straight away snapping pics to send to my bestie and Cake-Artist Casey (iheartcakes), these art pieces looked almost edible they were so delicious.
We went upstairs to reception and followed a line of intensely colourful and provocative art pieces. Malaysia is predominantly an islam culture and this artwork was edgy and challenging. I started to get completely drawn into every piece. From the materials used to the symbology and messages, the collection was even called Crazy Asians, bravo to W Hotel for embracing the world of art and colour.
I looked at Jeff “We have to go, I have to go.”
We had a driver for the day and we had travelled out to the local hot springs and waterfall. The gallery was back in the opposite direction but I was happy to give the additional Temples a miss and Jeff was happy to avoid a tantrum in the car 😝
None of us knew where we were going and the address online took us to a private residential compound, we had our passports scanned and passed through the gates. Was this the right place? We rang the bell and knocked on the gate but there was no response.
Our Driver, Hanif said, 'Keep knocking, we made it this far!’
A petite French woman popped her head out the window ‘Ello, can I help you?’
‘Bonjour!’ I chirped back, ‘we are here to see the Gallery, do we have the right address?’
It turns out the gallery was by appointment only, I managed to miss that detail at every turn! Edith could see we had a driver and opened up the doors, welcoming us into the gallery of colour and pop-art culture.
Meet Edith Ho
What is it about French women that makes them so incredibly chic? The accent, the mannerisms, the beautiful confidence. Edith opened the doors, welcoming us into her home, the Gallery des Artistes, with each wall and hallway adorned with stunning artwork.
Before we knew it, Edith was taking us on a private tour of her gallery telling us about the background and story of each piece and the artist. The first section showcased a French Contemporary Artist, Stern and the most beautiful delicate bronze sculptures by Spanish Artist, Artigas.
Nothing makes art come alive like having a personal introduction by a passionate Art Collector.
Each piece we went past she went into detail about the artwork, the artist and how she became connected with both. Her passion for art had us all diving in deep, even my beautiful Dad who is usually happy to do the spin tour in 5 minutes! We couldn’t wait to see what was next as we imagined which piece we would be taking home.
The hall off Edith’s open space lounge was dedicated to Gung Ho, the artist I wanted to know more about, the artist from W Hotel.
It turned out the artist was in fact a collaboration of 3; Malaysian born artist HONG, internationally renowned British Pop artist Jonny Zerox and Creative Director Edith Ho.
Literally translated, Gung Ho means 'an enthusiastic collaboration' the trio define themselves as 'three members of a perfect pair'.
During COVID Malaysia was locked down for close to two years, everything was restricted, hard. No school, no going against the rules and close to zero government assistance. The corrupt government became exposed and the law of the land was moving. There was so much to say through the world of art and it was at this time that Edith created Gung Ho.
It’s funny how, when things seem the darkest, moments of beauty present themselves in the most unexpected places ~ Karen Marie Moning
Edith and her husband, Edwin, had been private art collectors for years. Edith is an interior designer for super yachts and her passion within the art world had always been a path not yet travelled. She wanted to finally turn her ideas into art pieces.
Can you become an artist if you don’t have the art specific skills?
Turns out yes, yes you can ❤️
If you can believe it, you can achieve anything.
The Story behind the work
Edith has lived in Asia for more than 10 years, mixed up between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, seeing the culture and ruling evolve over the years as a resident but also a foreigner.
The collection that drew me in the most turned out to be Pop Orient, featuring images of Chairman Mao on sunglasses and the rebel uniforms threaded throughout. What was the meaning behind them? Amazing art tells a story, has a message, has an opinion.
- Look no touch - Wanting to stay fixed in a culture from the past
- Future so Bright - Peeking out to the possibility of a new future
- Rebel, Rebel - It’s a completely new future, we create it
The intensity of the oil paintings, the use of framing, creating a delicious contemporary story. It led me into a history I knew nothing about but couldn’t take my eyes off.
Art is an experience
For the first time in a really long time, I was reminded of the experience that is art.
It made me wonder, why have so many artists stopped telling the story of their work? Why won’t they let us in? It’s in that honest storytelling that connection is made.
Are we too busy to listen?
Where to from here?
Meeting Edith, experiencing what she had created, it reminded me;
You are the Creative Director of your life. You design it, you decide.
My identity has been so tied to my business as Creative Director, 12 years of creative and beautiful obsession. I forgot that it’s not part of a business, it’s part of me, it’s part of all of us. The whole time that I was away, I kept getting drawn back into writing, dreaming about a future that doesn’t yet exist. A future that I get to create.
For me, this gallery and artist visit allowed me to immerse myself into someone else’s creative lens.
It opened my eyes to a whole new scope of imagining.
Connecting with the Gallery & Gung Ho
The Gallery is definitely available to view, by appointment!! Located in Tropicana Golf Course and Resort, Villa Shalimar in PJ, Kuala Lumpur.
The artwork is all available to purchase, beautifully priced (from $1000 - $15,000) and can be shipped for an additional price. The furniture that can also be custom made incorporating the artwork is STUNNING.
You can also connect with Edith on Instagram.
Please make sure you tag me in your pics when you visit, or when you take a piece home, I can’t wait to see what your favourite pieces are!
I’m still visualising Look no touch, Future so bright and Rebel, Rebel on my walls to remind me of what is possible.
This blog is all about giving you an injection of inspiration and opening your mind to what is possible. Please feel free to share this with someone who you know that also needs a burst of inspiration ❤️
Forever learning, forever evolving,
Creative Director & Founder, Leina Broughton.