The Arts

Ivan Lam

A prominent artist charting new territory in contemporary art, Ivan Lam is still pushing boundaries after two decades in the industry


Ivan Lam, one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists, is noted for his constant experimentation with new techniques, mediums, concepts and ideas. Over a career spanning 20 years, the innovative artist and risk-taker has consistently pushed the boundaries of his art, trying out new techniques and unconventional mediums from resin, vinyl and honey to soy wax.

Lam’s work has been exhibited widely locally and internationally, including at Kuala Lumpur’s National Art Gallery, and has garnered multiple awards including the 2003 Philip Morris Malaysian Art Award. He has also achieved many firsts; Lam remains the only Malaysian artist to present a one-man project at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013, to have his work commissioned by Louis Vuitton for their art collection, and to create a project for the Karachi Biennale in Pakistan. In 2019, he was one of four Malaysian artists representing Malaysia at its first ever National Pavilion at the 58th La Biennale di Venezia in Italy.

During the pandemic, Lam launched a social experiment, “The Ivan Lam Giveaway”, which offered anyone who has RM100 a chance to win a piece of his artwork valued at RM15,000. The gesture sparked a conversation about the accessibility of art, and the artist channelled the proceeds to Unicef.

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After being averse to it for some time, Lam has finally embraced social media, which he intends to use to explore new ideas.

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