Kuala Lumpur's 8 Best Contemporary Art Galleries

Spiral staircase of Museum Bank Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Spiral staircase of Museum Bank Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | © De Man / Shutterstock
Karuna Ang

Explore Kuala Lumpur’s contemporary art scene that can be found hidden in modern buildings, back alleys, and unassuming shop fronts. Whether it’s contemporary Malaysian paintings and sculptures or photography, you’re sure to find them at these galleries in the capital city.

1. Sasana Kijang

Art Gallery

Spiral Staircase of Museum Bank Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
© De Man / Shutterstock

Hidden behind a steel structure and glass walls, Sasana Kijang houses several galleries and serves as an informal venue for the public to learn about economics and finance, as well as appreciating Malaysian and southeast Asian art. Make your way up the spiral staircase to the third floor and you will find the Art Gallery. This gallery showcases a rotation of the Central Bank of Malaysia’s art collection which features Malaysian and southeast Asian artists. You will find works by early masters such as Hossein Enas and Yong Mun Sen plus works from present day artists.

2. Vallette Gallery

Art Gallery

Set foot in Vallette Gallery and you’ll find a place showcasing contemporary art with works by emerging young Malaysian and international artists. The gallery promotes Malaysian artists but also makes a point in showcasing European talents, creating a space for art lovers, artists and friends. Set on creating a momentum within the local art scene, Vallette Gallery is housed in a beautiful mansion in Bangsar with a friendly team that will help guide you through the pieces of work here.

3. Shalini Ganendra Fine Art Advisory

Art Gallery

© Karuna Ang

One of Kuala Lumpur’s most interesting gallery, Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SFGA), is located in a homey bungalow in Petaling Jaya. It showcases a diverse range of works from established artists from, and with, connections to Asia. Other than an art gallery, SFGA has also established itself as an advisory organisation with services ranging from collection management and negotiating terms and developing cultural projects.

4. Ruang Pemula

Art Gallery

Ruang Pemula is where power lawyer couple Pakhruddin and Fatimah Sulaiman store their private art collection which they began collecting in the early 90s. You will find works of plenty now-distinguished contemporary Malaysian artists on display, whose work includes a mix of paintings, sculptures and photography. Ruang Pemula, meaning beginner’s space, is aptly named as the works were acquired when most of the artists were just starting out. Visits to the gallery are by appointment only.

5. Minut Init Art Social

Art Gallery

Having started out as an underground art gallery in 2010, Minut Init has since evolved into an art social space. Minut Init sees art as a platform for experimentation and discussion with the society to develop an alternative perspective on modern issues. With a lounge area, a bar with food and drinks available and a mini library, it is no surprise this place is loved by many. Minut Init goes beyond the traditional art forms and also works with individuals from fashion, design, performance and music backgrounds. Call ahead for appointments to visit.

6. The Edge Galerie

Art Gallery

With a boost in the local community for a greater appreciation of fine arts, The Edge, the weekly financial paper, made a move into the arts and culture space in 2013. The Edge Galerie, located in the upscale neighbourhood of Mont Kiara, is a fully-fledged art gallery with a dedicated website that informs the public. The Edge Galerie is also known for its annual auction which offers southeast Asian art for serious collectors and those who are starting to invest in art.

7. A+ Works of Art

Art Gallery

A+ Works Of Art
© Karuna Ang

Having been an avid art lover and supporter for the past decade, founder Joshua Lim started A+ WORKS of ART as a space to showcase new media art, especially photography, video, installations and performance art. A+ is one of those galleries that is more than just a gallery. It plays the part of a platform that welcomes global conversations on social issues, alternative perspectives and experimentations.

8. Aku Cafe & Gallery

Art Gallery

Aku Gallery and Cafe
© Karuna Ang

Part cafe, part gallery, Aku is the perfect spot in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown to unwind over a cup of coffee and enjoy works of art by artists from all over. With inspiration close by, it has become a space for creators like writers, artists, collectors, and filmmakers to gather. Its convenient location also serves as a place for travellers and locals to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Events ranging from music, film, food and art are held here from time to time as well.

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