Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Home Dinner II (Family Series)
Home Dinner II (Family Series)

This painting is one of Yau Bee Ling’s earlier works, made in the same year she graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art at the age of 22. It anticipates some of the central themes of her later career, such as the complexities of family ties and responsibilities from the female experience. In this crowded family dinner scene, everyone has sat down to dinner except for one member. The food on the table remains untouched, as if everyone is waiting for him to take his place before they all begin. Dinner is served in a style typical of Chinese families, with multiple dishes for everyone to share. By distorting the perspective of the painting and the proportions of its figures, the artist evokes the tensions and claustrophobia of large families. Home Dinner II (Family Dinner) captures the struggle of establishing an individual identity within a large family, but also the reassuring comfort of family traditions where nobody gets left behind.

Oil on canvas
87 × 116 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Yau Bee Ling
About Yau Bee Ling

Yau Bee Ling (1972, Selangor) graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art in 1995. Her art is often autobiographical and explores the multiple roles of women in the home and wider society. She was an artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan, Kuang, from 2004–05 and at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan, in 2016. She has exhibited extensively with Wei-Ling Gallery in Kuala Lumpur and also at locations in China, Pakistan, Singapore, Bangladesh, Japan, and Indonesia. In 1999, she was selected by the National Art Gallery to represent Malaysia at the 9th Asian Art Biennial in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her works are in the collections of the National Art Gallery, PETRONAS, Maxis, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. 

Further Readings
Learning Section
  • Imagine you are inside the painting.  What do you see? What can you hear?  What aromas can you smell? What is the atmosphere in the room? How do you feel? Do you feel welcome? What memories does this painting evoke?  

  • Look carefully at the figures in the painting. How do they know each other? What are their relationships? Do they often spend time together? Do they get on? What kind of lives do they live? Are they wealthy? Are they happy? Are they nice people? What clues in the painting help you answer these questions? Why is one figure not seated at the table?