IPOH, April 12 — The gallery that will give visitors a glimpse into acclaimed Malaysian cartoonist Lat’s life will finally open its doors to the public after several false starts.
Lat, or his real name Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, said he was informed by the Perak Museum that “Rumah Lat Dan Galeri” will be opened in July.
“The structure has long been completed and now it is just left the arranging of exhibits,” he said, adding that the gallery will be curated by PORT (People Of Remarkable Talents) Ipoh.
Speaking to reporters after recently launching Galeri Cikgu Ramli at Hala Klebang Restu, Lat said the gallery would be operated by the museum.
Lat said the gallery was initially scheduled for opening last year after seven years of construction but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As much as I want it to be opened but we need to take into account the safety of the people,” said the 70-year-old.
At the gallery, you can travel back in time, complete with various items from Lat’s childhood as well as furniture, mostly from the pre-World War II era.
Among the collection are a dressing table, a set of tables and chairs, a framed mirror, a rack for hanging clothes and a cupboard which Lat used as a storage space for his beloved vinyl records and shirts when he was about 19 years old.
Lat was previously quoted by The Star as describing the project as personal.
“I drew the house from memory for The Kampung Boy. When you are nine, you remember every single detail and I have very fond memories from those times. There was no electricity and no water, but to a kid, it was a big treat to grow up in the kampung,” he was quoted as saying.
Lat got the idea to draw The Kampung Boy during his travels to the United States when he realised not many people knew about Malaysia.
The book, which was published in 1979, tells stories that are set in a typical Malaysian village which Lat drew his inspiration from his childhood.
Rumah Lat is a replica of that same house.
At the gallery, there will be a selection of Lat’s works spanning some four decades, dating back to 1964.
Lat hopes that Rumah Lat will remain for years to come and capture a sense of history and nostalgia for generations to come.