Wawasan 2020: Townhall

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Wawasan 2020: Townhall Opening as we bring the year 2020 to a close, Wawasan 2020: Townhall is an exhibition by A+ Works of Art that reckons with the fault lines, reverberations and inheritance of Wawasan 2020. Wawasan 2020, also known as Vision 2020, was announced in 1991 by then Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to launch Malaysia into the status of a developed nation with a single Bangsa Malaysia. To tell a story of Wawasan 2020 is to engage in disjuncture, anachronism and lateness. This exhibition, which opens at the close of the year 2020, brings together artists, writers and performers in the format of a townhall, a democratic space of discordance, disagreement and difference. It holds ground upon which a diverse set of viewpoints may be articulated, without presuming easy resolution. This townhall, like Wawasan 2020, exists as an ideal, but with far humbler ambitions. The end of the year 2020 does not spell the death of Wawasan 2020. We instead present a collective rereckoning.




The Art of Visioning Lim Sheau Yun

Wawasan 2020 was announced to great fanfare in 1991. Then Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had been presiding for 10 years over an economically robust nation in its youthful prime, touted as a model for developing countries. Yet to ascend to the ranks of other developed nations, Mahathir deemed that acceleration was necessary. Growth wasn’t moving fast enough; the process needed to be sped up. Wawasan 2020, at the moment it announced itself to the world, marked two distinct points in time as history: the point of its inception, like the firing of a gun at the beginning of a race, and a mad, uncoordinated rush to the deadline. The Vision, as it came to be known, set out nine “central strategic challenges” to make Malaysia a developed nation. Its postures read like mad-libs for early twentieth century utopianists – here are some choice descriptions: “liberal” and “psychologically liberated,” “secure,” “democratic,” “moral and ethical,” “tolerant,” “scientific,” “progressive,” “prosperous,” and “fully caring.” Behind the singular figure of Mahathir in fact lay three Malay intellectuals at Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) who staked out the intellectual aspirations of the Vision, Director-General Noordin Sopiee, economist Ismail Salleh and the sociologist Rustam Sani. Notably, the latter two were known to have left-leaning sympathies, far from the neo-liberal Malaysia Incorporated the 1990s are now remembered for. 4

Wawasan Dispositions Broadly speaking, art made in relation to Wawasan 2020 can be divided into three dispositions: the optimists, the pessimists, and the disidentified. I am not aiming here to present a canon of “Wawasan art,” but rather to reclaim it as an aesthetic and intellectual moment, and to note its incipient simmers and subsequent echoes. It is also worth noting that the historical examples below largely revolve around the urban center of Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps it is a condition of proximity to power, but I suspect that inadequate work has been done to recover voices at the fringes. It is work for a future beyond 2020. The Optimists Wawasan 2020 was notoriously visual – art competitions both professional and amateur alike were launched across the nation to picture the nation by 2020. Instructional books were even produced to teach children how to draw. They created a kit of parts – flying cars, high-speed trains and space-age bodies – that would be harmoniously collaged together against the horizon of a clear, blue sky. This instinct was taken to a new scale with Ismail Embong’s paintings, notably his murals at the Putra World Trade Center and his work in history painting. Space here works on a collage of small horizons: each scene is a self-contained composition with edges that bleed into its adjacent work. It is a space for futures past and fictional realities, where a mosque in Shah Alam blends into the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and a Proton looms as large as Penang Bridge. Despite the overt hand of Mahathir, for many, the grand scale of Wawasan 2020 was seductive. The Pessimists Even at the moment of its birth, some believed that Wawasan 2020 would not realise the just and equal society it sought to 5

create, and instead exacerbate wealth inequality and deepen cavities in Malaysia’s ethnic fabric. By the mid to late 1990s, it seemed like a general pessimist fog had seeped around KL, and artists made work that captured a sense of anger, alienation and deep disillusionment with the socio-political world. These works encompass a wide variety of mediums, with various levels of explicitness in reference to state politics. We could consider Wong Hoy Cheong’s seminal multi-day performance, Lalang at Balai Seni Negara in 1994, referencing the mass crackdown of activists and intellectual in 1987’s Ops Lalang. In his performance, Wong planted a weed (known as lalang), then sprayed it with weedkiller, burned it, and subsequently dug it out and replaced it with cowgrass. It would be remiss not to mention Ahmad Fuad Osman’s surreal Lost series from the 1990s, or the large post-Reformasi installations and self-portraits that critiqued official state silencing. Or we could even consider the rise of Expressionism in Malaysia, led by a group of artists who graduated from Institut Teknologi Mara (ITM), whose abstract drawings and paintings use gesture and colour to seize the moody zeitgeist. The Disidentified The last category is the most nebulous but is perhaps the most redemptive. It captures the disidentified, those who stepped outside oppositional politics. Disidentification, a phrase drawn from the work of José Esteban Muñoz, “scrambles and reconstructs the encoded message of a cultural text in a fashion that both exposes the coded message’s universalizing and exclusionary machinations and recruits its workings to account for, include, and empower minority identities and identifications.” That is to say, the process of disidentification is a rhetorical practice that hacks dominant discourses, and in doing so, opens up space for non-normative readings. 6

So instead of being pessimistic, the disidentified threw parties. The last in a series of happenings held between July and October 1997, Blue Skies was held in Pudu Prison, a colonial-era prison slated to be converted into a mall. Organised by labDNA (Nani Kahar and Yee I-Lann) with their allies from the punk music, film, architecture and art scenes, the event was equally for ravers and the politically minded: prison cells were occupied to raise awareness of legal rights while under arrest and to narrate experiences of political persecution while rave music blared in the background. Play is serious. Pleasure is politics. Everything matters, nothing matters. Other works and artistic practices come to mind – Zaki Omar’s 1996 documentary Boom Boom Bang, whose shaky camera cuts between interviews of art practitioners and scenes of the Petronas Twin Towers from a motorcycle; Ismail Zain’s digital collages produced in the 1980s and 1990s that defamiliarise pastoral scenes and reconfigure them into the gridded space of the pixel. To disidentify is to queer Wawasan’s visioning, simultaneously embracing its scale, ambition and worldmaking potential while acknowledging the lived realities of those who live in its shadow. Cipher Vision To tell a story of Wawasan 2020 is to engage in disjuncture, anachronism and lateness. In the eve of 2020, why Wawasan 2020, yet again? The cultural products of Wawasan 2020 have been spun to exhaustion, but have we also grown too tired of it as an analytical category? Let us instead consider Wawasan 2020 as representation. Wawasan 2020 is – to borrow the phrase from architectural historian Reinhold Martin – a cipher, “encod[ing] a virtual universe of production and consumption, as well as a material unit, a piece of the universe that helps 7

to keep it going.” It both maps the new as is a concrete representation of the new. It matters insofar as it is able to stand in for a bevy of contradictory ideas in the hopes of capturing significance, including the adjective word-soup of its description, the leftist ideals, the neoliberal realities. That is to say, the oft touted discussion in kopitiams and mamaks about whether Wawasan 2020 failed or not, was hollow or not, was actually serious or not, is beside the point. The Vision is both the vehicle and its movement, but also, it doesn’t really matter. If we read Wawasan 2020 as cipher and as representation, then we must read Wawasan 2020 as laden with a call to form. Beyond marking epochal futurity and new temporalities, it took on solid mediums to circulate and exist in the world. Simply, to make art in relation of the state and to politics was to already be in relation with Wawasan 2020, whether through allusion, explicit citation or even denial. To understand the stakes of Wawasan 2020, we must simultaneously acknowledge its relation to the state, and decontextualise its state-centeredness. Wawasan 2020 is, following Rosalind Krauss’s terminology, the expanded field, a context upon which disciplinary and formal agendas are made anew. Wawasan 2020: Townhall Unsurprisingly, interest in Wawasan 2020 declined after Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister in 2003. A slate of other national ideals came to take its place, all coded in the blueprint of Wawasan 2020: Badawi’s short-lived Misi 2057, Najib’s infamous TN50 and the Pakatan government’s Social Development Vision 2030. In the lead-up to the year 2020, there has been a resurgence of interest in Wawasan 2020. This exhibition brings together some of the voices in the arts who continue to consider its fault lines, reverberations and inheritance. It is in this spirit that the curatorial framework for the exhibition is that of a townhall, a democratic space of discordance, disagreement and difference. It holds ground upon which a diverse set 8

of viewpoints may be articulated, without presuming easy resolution. The idea of the townhall is, like the subject of this exhibition, an ideal, but with far more modest ambitions. Politicians in Malaysia don’t hold townhalls: their outreach is monodirectional. Instead, we have speeches, press conferences – at best, one shows up to a kenduri or a funeral. Ironically, in the era of Wawasan 2020, one of the few dialogues occurred in 2002, when Mahathir tearfully announced his resignation in the UMNO General Assembly. As he made his speech, the assembled UMNO delegates shouted back at him from the floor, calling on him to stay on. He stayed on, and eventually retired in 2003. Of course, he would return in 2018, only to step down again in 2020. No tears were shed. It meant everything; it meant nothing. The specter of Mahathir, of Wawasan, remains. The end of the year 2020 does not spell the death of Wawasan 2020. We instead present a collective re-reckoning.

Works Cited Martin, Reinhold. Utopia’s Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. Muñoz, José Esteban. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. KS, Jomo. “Vision 2020 Betrayed: Whither Malaysia?” KSJomo.org, 10 December 2020. https://www.ksjomo. org/post/vision-2020-betrayedwhither-malaysia Soon, Simon. “/Cloud/Watching or Portrait of a Young Artist in 1990s Kuala Lumpur,” Afterall 45, (2018): 98–107.


Lim Sheau Yun Sheau is Research Lead at Malaysia Design Archive, and co-editor of O For Other, a blog on object histories. She studied Architecture with a concentration in History, Theory and Criticism at Yale University, where she was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize for her thesis on Borobudur in the 20th-century. Her research interests encompass art and architectural history, modernity and monuments, and time. She is currently working on a speculative history website on Wawasan 2020.


Photo by Kenta Chai

Thinking Time in 2020 Lim Sheau Yun

A mural lies in a tunnel connecting Jalan Kinabalu and Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin in Kuala Lumpur. Lit with a distinctive pre-led yellow glow, the mosaic mural is made of three parts. The first part depicts, in blackand-white, the remnants of colonial architecture in kl. An abrupt line – a cleavage in time – leads to the bold technicolours of the Malaysian flag, upon which figures from the iconic 1957 photograph of the declaration of independence are superimposed. The tail end of the flag transitions into the last part of this triptych: a blue sky upon which the infrastructural triumps of the 1990s are arrayed, including kl Tower, the Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysian Airlines and the Monorail. It’s perhaps a little ironic that the blue sky has been worn with time. These days, dirt tracks expose the undergirding grid of the mosaic. This was vision of progress I grew up with as a child of the millennium. Like other schoolchildren who came of age in late-90s and 2000s Malaysia, I sang this song in school assembly every week:

Note This piece was originally published in Further Reading 2: Boundaries. It is reproduced here with minor edits.

Wawasan 2020

Wawasan 2020

Satu pandangan jauh

A faraway vision

Bukan impian malah kenyataan

Not a dream but reality

Bersama kita jayakan

We will achieve together

Wawasan 2020 was Malaysia’s horizon in a time where the Asian Tigers were picturing utopias. Announced in 1991 by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, it served as a prescription for a young nation caught in the rancour of its teenage years. Wawasan

Lim Sheau Yun Thinking Time in 2020 19 December 2020


2020, like other promises of development in Indonesia and the Philippines, was the vehicle to bring Malaysia into the future – it promised to deliver a mature, unified, developed and prosperous nation by the year 2020. In the more fanciful (yet, also, totally serious) versions of this development fever, by 2020, Malaysia would have networks of highways, high-speed trains and even flying cars. That is to say, the imagination of Wawasan 2020 is anchored in infrastructure. The nation would be characterised by a metropolis of movement, “whose mystery is precisely that of no longer being anything but a network of incessant unreal circulation – a city of incredible proportions but without space, without dimension” (Baudrillard 13). Insulated in moving boxes of metal – whether on the road, in a train or in the skies – the Malaysia of Wawasan 2020 would be characterised by endless horizon. The contemporary experience of driving down Jalan Kinabalu, a promenade of modernist nation-building architecture unfolding on both sides, would be writ large across the body of the nation. Crucially, there is little real, physical access to these places. In Wawasan 2020, we are all disembodied spectators. What matters is the moving itself. The reality of 2020, of course, has been far from this imagination – much more like the accreted tracks of dirt than a grid of blue skies. In a time prophesised for unprecedented physical acceleration, our bodies have instead ground to a halt. Instead of cruising through the urban apparatus, we cruise through mediums available at home: the cloud of Zoom, the narrative thread of PDFs, the block-world of Animal Crossing. On one hand, I am struck by the incommensurability of these two worlds – the blue skies of the 1990s when mosaic was first laid to on concrete, and this world, in which the only way I can


see the write about the mural is by searching it up on Google Maps. On the other, the boundary between these two worlds seems so thin, separated only by a layer of film just beyond reach, or a sideways turn of the head as the world spins on an axis displaced by a single degree. These realities seem to me as fraternal twins, split up in time. How might we begin to make sense of these imaginative boundaries? In Cruising Utopia, José Esteban Muñoz asks, How can we inhabit the politics of incommensurability, contestation, challenge, the not-lining-up of meaning, the persistence of inconsistency, and the melee at the center of our tumultuous being-with in the world and in thought, as something other than a ruse, a faulty foundation, willful bad faith, or a set of illusory traps? What if we instead think about hope, the necessity of hope, in the face of identity knowledges… and their various infelicities, breakdowns and falterings as a need to achieve that “we,” that essential being-with. (241) In other words, instead of reading Wawasan 2020 as a story of grand dreams and ultimate failure, how might we instead read a commons into the faultlines of our attachment to these two worlds? How do we take the dream of Wawasan out of mind of the nation and create our own disidentifications? Wawasan 2020, with its postmodern imagery and modernist singularity, stands in a straw man. It is all representation. The question at the heart of this conundrum is how we might chart the unevenness of the terrain of this dream, and our differentiated desires it carries.


Upon virtually revisiting the tunnel in the writing of this piece, I noticed that the mural was constructed left-to-right, even though traffic flows right-to-left. That is, when driving through the tunnel, we first see the future, then the recent past of independence, then the days of colonial kl. The mural mimics the direction of the Latin and Greek alphabet, but the vehicle, the movement opposes this logic. It is almost as if time is moving in both directions, all at once. Looking forward from the 1990s and projecting oneself into the future; looking back at a 1990s vision of 2020. The scale of solipsistic time is slippery. In denoting difference, boundaries can also be the greatest possible degree of a phenomenon: it cites both sides of the scale but contains neither. In thinking about futurity, I find myself tumbling in the bound space of the in-between, precariously perched on the edge of a loop of time. Stick with it, and I might find a being-with.

Works Cited Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press, 1994. MuĂąoz, JosĂŠ Esteban. Cruising Utopia. NYU Press, 2009. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, edited by Adrian del Caro and Robert B. Pippin, Cambridge University Press, 2006.


Note This piece was originally published in Further Reading 2: Boundaries. It is reproduced here with minor edits.


Kenneth Chan/PB4000XL #DrMLovesU 2014–2016 Digital print on matt laminated adhesive vinyl mounted on high impact PVC sheet 18 ∑ 12.5 cm Edition of 100 + 2 AP




Liew Kung Yu Barisan Menuju Wawasan 2020 Photo collage 127 ∑ 305 cm



Sharon Chin & Hoo Siew Teck Asal, Usul, Lama, Baharu (Origins, Proposition; Old, New) 2020 Original textile piece created from fabric scraps by Madam Hoo Siew Teck (1920s–1987, lived in Melaka and Johor), repairs and additions by Sharon Chin using fabric reclaimed from election campaign flags 36 ∑ 36 cm Artist’s Collection




Chang Fee Ming Juadah Terkini (The Latest Dish) 2011–2012 Watercolour on paper 56 ∑ 76 cm


L!PAS Back to 2020 2020 Spray on canvas 122 ∑ 122 cm Back to 2020 2020 Print on paper 300 ∑ 300 cm




Pangrok Sulap Siaran Ulangan 2019 Woodcut print on blackout 122 ∑ 183 cm Edition of 10 + 2 AP





Yee I-Lann The Malaysian Dilemma 2003 Digital C-type print 45.5 ∑ 91.5 cm


Yee I-Lann The Malaysian Dilemma 2003 Digital C-type print 45.5 ∑ 91.5 cm


Yee I-Lann Wawasan 2003 Digital C-type print 45.5 ∑ 45.5 cm Fencing 2003 Digital C-type print 45.5 ∑ 91.5 cm


Tan Zi Hao Kalau Kala Mengizinkan 2019 Digital print on aged paper 16 ∑ 23.5 cm Edition 5/5 Private Collection


Tan Zi Hao Maka Kita Boleh 2020 Digital print on aged paper 16 ∑ 23.5 cm Edition of 5 + 1 AP



Tan Zi Hao The Mahathir Dilemma 2015 Grease pencil and digital print on acid-free paper 21 ∑ 13.5 cm each (12 pieces) Private Collection


Liew Kung Yu Bersatu Menuju Wawasan 1993 Photo collage 89 ∑ 119 cm



Nelson Dino Berlalu Pergi 5 September 2014 Dua Minit Lagi! 1 January 2020 Bukan Aku, Bukan Juga Dia! 28 September 2020



Baru beberapa minit aku duduk di kedai makan ini sudah sepuluh orang yang datang menadah tangan sama kata mereka minta wang ada yang kecil dan besar ada juga yang muda dan yang tua itu saja yang aku sempat kira. Wawasan 2020 ke mana dituju tanyaku kepada diriku sambil aku menghulur tangan memberi salam pada hari ini kepada seorang pak cik yang baru saja melangkah masuk membawa diri dengan bajunya berwarna putih punya tulisan ‘rasanya nyaman’. Aku pun lupa hari apa hari ini seorang anak kecil datang ke tepi mencuit punggungku di sebelah kiri tangannya munggil memberi isyarat seperti gaya bersuap aku mengerti isyarat itu sambil bertanya ‘di mana mamakmu?’ geling kepalanya tidak menjawapku tanpa suara dia berlalu pergi sama seperti yang lain yang singgah tadi. Sendiri aku berbisik masih jauh perjalananku apatah lagi mereka yang aku pasti tidak ambil tahu apa itu Wawasan 2020!

5 September 2014 Sandakan



Semangat bercerita tiada yang tahu selain diriku yang duduk mangu dalam sunyi dan gelap itu hanya waktu yang aku tunggu melaungkan selamat tahun baru. Tahun ini tahun wawasan entah ke mana aku terbang bersayap pun tidak apatah lagi berkepak seperti ayam berkokok lapar paruh memetuk tanah di belukaran batu pijakan. Setanding apakah sudah negaraku yang dulu sangkaku berada di sana di puncak yang punya kerlipan tiada satupun yang dahaga dan lapar sebelum sampainya waktu 2020. Kini aku tunggu dua minit lagi Wawasan 2020 akan sampai (ke) sudah yang aku tunggu sejak dulu menjadi negara maju manusia berwawasan yang tidak perlu aku fikirkan namun nasib tidak sampai ke pangkal angan!

1 Januari 2020 Kota Kinabalu



Terima kasih pernah aku ucapkan sebelum tahun satu itik dan satu ayam yang setiap satu punya satu biji telur pergi meninggalkan aku dan waktu senjaku pula kian kemari menjak Wawasan 2020 menjadi saksi. Usai aku bangkitkan kepalaku dari lantai bertilam kain sulaman biru yang punya lukisan menara jauh aku gerakkan ke kanan selepas itu sehingga ke kiri selasai ucapanku. Apa khabarmu tanyaku pada angin yang aku lihat geraknya lewat daun kayu yang makin bergoyang di ranting kering mengikut rentak pandangan mataku sambil seekor semut merayap ke pucuknya mungkin sama seperti aku masih mencari ke mana lagi perginya selepas tahun ini nanti sudah berlalu. Aku tidak pernah jemu bermain dengan nasib kerana aku tahu dan yakin apa yang dirancang itu yang tentukan bukan aku bukan juga dia atau siapa pun si pemerintah si orang pandai si terpelajar mahupun si orang kurang makan. Apa yang perlu aku lakukan berdoa agar tiada lagi di negara ini yang sergah berteriak dalam benakku tentang orang yang tidak diterima kerana wujudnya kulit dan matanya tidak serupa dengan punya aku kendati kami sama manusia. 28 September 2020 Kota Kinabalu




Rahmat Haron Untitled No.3 2009 Acrylic, ink on paper (with the company of a poem) 28 ∑ 42 cm


Garisan rawak tak sengaja, tona warna catan akrilik merah, hijau dan titik dakwat hitam. Tidak, ia hanya abstraksi. Mungkinkah ia imej negatif, nuansa transformasi berdarah dan ganas? Atau bolehkah kamu melihat sepasang sayap kelawar dan sebuah menara kamera pengawasan? Tidak, ia hanya abstrak tulen, cuma ilusi optik dalam kepalaku yang kacau. Hanya sudut pandangku. Tetapi karya tak berjudul ini membukakan untukku jalan masuk ke dalam pameran tematik dengan judul Wawasan 2020. Visi penglihatan 20-20 yang sepatutnya sempurna memberitahu kita semua, bahawa tahun 2020 jauh dari sempurna, bukan itu saja, ia penuh dengan bencana. Gagasan gemilang yang gagal terlaksana, cita-cita tak kesampaian. Wabak Covid-19, ketidakpastian politik dunia, ekonomi, perkauman, ketaksuban, penindasan, masalah alam sekitar, pencemaran dan keadaan darurat iklim dunia; 6 juta ekar terbakar di California, berjuta-juta ekar lagi terbakar di Siberia, banjir, kejadian cuaca melampau dan lain-lain dll. Di mana kita pada tahun-tahun mendatang? Bunuh semua harapan. Rahmat Haron




Images courtesy of the artist

Sharon Chin first row left to right

In Praise of Cleaners: Spray Bottle In Praise of Cleaners: Mop In Praise of Cleaners: Glove second row left to right

In Praise of Cleaners: Broom In Praise of Cleaners: Bucket In Praise of Cleaners: Sapu Lidi 2020 Tetrapak intaglio print on Saa paper 14 ∑ 19 cm Edition of 5 + 1 AP Artist’s Collection


Azizan Paiman & Hamzah Yazd Selamat Pagi Tuan Presiden 2020 Monoprint 43 ∑ 115 cm each (diptych)



The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Headlines, 1991–2020 (video stills) 2017–2020 Video 11 min 5 sec Created by Ali Alasri, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Mark Teh, Wong Tay Sy



The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Headlines, 1991–2020 (video stills) 2017–2020 Video 11 min 5 sec Created by Ali Alasri, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Mark Teh, Wong Tay Sy



The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Headlines, 1991–2020 (video stills) 2017–2020 Video 11 min 5 sec Created by Ali Alasri, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Mark Teh, Wong Tay Sy


The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Headlines, 1991–2020 (video stills) 2017–2020 Video 11 min 5 sec Created by Ali Alasri, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Mark Teh, Wong Tay Sy


Photo by Kenta Chai


Version 2020 (KL, 2018), photo by Bryan Chang


Version 2020 (Tokyo, 2018), photo by Masahiro Hasunuma

The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Version 2020 2018 Performance documentation & props 72 min Created by Mark Teh, Fahmi Reza, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Imri Nasution, Lee Ren Xin, Roger Liew, Syamsul Azhar, Wong Tay Sy, June Tan, Five Arts Centre


Version 2020 (Tokyo, 2018), photo by Masahiro Hasunuma


The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects Version 2020 2018 Performance documentation & props 72 min Created by Mark Teh, Fahmi Reza, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Imri Nasution, Lee Ren Xin, Roger Liew, Syamsul Azhar, Wong Tay Sy, June Tan, Five Arts Centre


Artist Profiles



Noor Azizan Rahman Paiman is one of Malaysia’s top 10 contemporary artist. Azizan Paiman was born in 1970 in Melaka (Malaysia). He lives and works in Seri Manjung in Perak, Malaysia. He received a MA in Fine Art from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, in 2001 and a BA in Fine Art from University Technology MARA UiTM, Malaysia, in 1995. He travelled in Asia and Europe (UK, Australia, Japan, Indonesia…) and was invited in various international events: Singapore Biennale (2016), 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2006), 1st Fukouka Asian Art Triennial (1999). He had participated in numerous solo and group shows in Malaysia and abroad (Singapore, Japan, New York, Australia). His practice has been the object of a quantity of articles in the media since 1994.

Born in Terengganu, Malaysia in 1959, Chang Fee Ming is a self-taught artist who began his career in the early 1980s. Since then he has become one of Asia’s most highly regarded artists working in watercolour. His works are acclaimed, exhibited and collected throughout the world. For over 20 years, Chang Fee Ming’s subject has been the people and places of Southeast Asia, and he has also portrayed life and culture in places as diverse as China, India and the East Coast of Africa. He is currently based in Kuala Terengganu, although he returns frequently to Bali, his second home. He spends much of his time travelling through Asia. In his own words: “To travel and see and paint is for me a way of learning, part of my life philosophy”.

Hamzah Yazd atau Yazid merupakan seorang bekas guru(sekarang: peniaga buku|event coordinator di LAKAR Lumut), pemerhati pendidikan, dan pengapresiasi sastra terutamanya puisi.Si Tukang Baca yang meyakini bahawa dunia ini bakal diwariskan kepada bangsa tertindas. Hamzah Yazd juga percaya puisi adalah ilmu pengetahuan sarat ‘passionate’. Baginya, seniman adalah penyelamat umat akhir zaman. Panjang umur perlawanan!

An artist, designer, cultural producer and troublemaker. As an artist, he makes mainly digital media art and time-related art. From time to time, he makes guerrilla excursions to make art on the streets. Formally educated in Industrial Design. he has worked in set and production design for film and television. He has also worked with brands creating identities and tangible experiences as a medium of communication and creative expression. He is involved with the visual arts on a range of levels and has interests in diverse subjects which include social sciences, media studies, urbanism, information and communication technology, and animal rights. When he is not doing any of the above, he spends his time caring for his four dogs and cat.



L!PAS was born and lives in Kuala Lumpur. As an underground artist, L!PAS is known for his stencil work.




Was trained in graphic design, but then moved on to become an influential figure in Malaysia’s art scene, known for pushing the limits of artistic media through works engaging national and political issues. Kung Yu has been involved in a diverse portfolio of activities. He is deeply concerned with cultural heritage and committed to working with communities at the grassroots level, interests which led him to become the artistic director for George Town Heritage Celebrations and to establish the “Little Door Festival”, with the intention of nurturing young minds through the practices of theatre and craft. When not immersed in artistic pursuits, he divides his time selling flowers at the local night market, pampering his cat, and furthering his musical aspirations in karaoke lounges around the Klang Valley.

Was founded in 2010 by Rizo Leong, Jirum Manjat and Mc Feddy in Sabah, East Malaysia, where it continues to operate. It is a collective of artists, musicians and social activists with the purpose of empowering communities through art. Pangrok Sulap emphasises the DIY spirit — hence its slogan “Jangan Beli, Bikin Sendiri” (Don’t Buy, Do-it-yourself). The collective tries to be as open as possible and welcomes the participation and involvement of people to work together on art projects as a means of communication. In the last few years, Pangrok Sulap has conducted workshops for communities and schools across Malaysia and participated in public talks such as TEDxUMSKAL in Labuan, Malaysia. Their prints have been exhibited in galleries and biennales internationally, including France (Les Extatiques, Paris La Défense, 2019), Malaysia (AFTERWORK, Ilham Gallery, 2017), Japan (SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, National Art Center, 2017), India (Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2018), Australia (The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9), QAGOMA, 2018), Philippines (Silingan Seni, Zamboanga City, 2017) and Taiwan (Negotiating The Future, Asian Art Biennial, 2017).


Nelson Dino raised in Sandakan, Sabah, he uses his love for the literary arts, particularly poetry, short stories, and novels, to promote social change. He has written extensively about Suluk visual arts and culture. His Master’s thesis, which is an iconological study of various motifs found on the ukkil, the Suluk art of carving, is now being turned into a book and will be published soon. He is passionate about learning the arts and culture of many other races in Malaysia. He believes in cultural knowledge building as a way towards achieving awareness, appreciation, and harmony among races. He is a recipient of Sabah Literary Prize, 2018. His two novels are published by Institute of Language and Literature, Malaysia (DBP), Janikar Oh Janikar, 2020) and Sapi Mandangan dan Apuk Daguan, 2018. His three books of poetry are published in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2017 and 2018 respectively.


Rahmat Haron (b.1977) is a poet and a self taught interdiciplinary artist. Rahmat has published two books of poetry, Yang Terbangsatkan (2017) and Utopia Trauma (2006).




Sharon Chin (b.1980, Petaling Jaya) is an artist living in Port Dickson, Malaysia. She has made paintings, performances, costumes, sculptures, installations and videos, and worked across a variety of fields, including fine art, criticism, illustration, film, and journalism. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries, on sidewalks and in shopping malls, in Malaysia and around the world. Recently, she illustrated Zedeck Siew’s short story collection Creatures of Near Kingdoms, available now from Maple Comics. Her work is in the permanent collections of Singapore Art Museum and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).

Tan Zi Hao (b. 1989, Kuala Lumpur) is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist. His idea has taken shape across a diverse range of works involving soil ecology, language politics, interpretive etymology, mythical chimeras, and organic assemblages from carrier shells (Xenophora pallidula) to household casebearers (Phereoeca uterella). His practice is mostly informed by the political contestation of identity vis-à-vis the nation-state. Most of his artworks are conceived with an ideological intention to challenge identitarian essentialism and cultural sovereignty by privileging the assemblage. Tan has recently completed his PhD in Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, undertaking fieldwork research on animal imagery in the Islamic art of Cirebon, West Java. He also holds an MA degree in International Relations and a BA degree in International Communications Studies from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. His recent exhibitions include Back to Art, A+ Works of Art, Kuala Lumpur, 2020; The Horizon is Just an Illusion: New Thoughts on Landscape, OUR ArtProjects, Kuala Lumpur, 2018; ILHAM Contemporary Forum (Malaysia 2009–2017), ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2017; Singapore Biennale: An Atlas of Mirrors, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2016–2017.


Sheau is Research Lead at Malaysia Design Archive, and co-editor of O For Other, a blog on object histories. She studied Architecture with a concentration in History, Theory and Criticism at Yale University, where she was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize for her thesis on Borobudur in the 20th-century. Her research interests encompass art and architectural history, modernity and monuments, and time. She is currently working on a speculative history website on Wawasan 2020.




The Complete Futures of Malaysia was a series of projects that unfolded between 2016 and 2018 in multiple chapters and formats. These included: The Complete Futures of Malaysia (Chapter 1), a participatory, archival installation and three public events at the Escape from the SEA exhibition at APW Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur (2017). Coming Soon, an installation at the Mode of Liaisons exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2017).Version 2020, a documentary performance staged at SPIELART Theater Festival Munich (2017), Theater Commons Tokyo (2018) and Kotak Five Arts Centre, Kuala Lumpur (2018). The Complete Futures of Malaysia (Chapter 4), a lecture performance at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul (2018). The two works exhibited in Wawasan 2020: Townhall are reworkings of several of these chapters.

Yee I-Lann (b. 1971, Kota Kinabalu) lives and works in Kota Kinabalu. Yee graduated from the University of South Australia (Adelaide, Australia) with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) in 1993 with a major in Photography and a minor in Cinematography. Her primarily photomedia-based art practice speculates on issues of culture, power and the role of historical memory in our social experience. Such layers necessitate an extensive and multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from research, historical references, popular culture, archives and everyday objects. Her recent selected exhibitions include An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hong Kong, 2019; State of Motion 2019, Asian Film Archive, Singapore, 2019; Like the Banana Tree at the Gate, MindSet Art Centre, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016; and Body/Play/Politics, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan, 2016.


This publication is published in conjunction with A+ Offsite — Wawasan 2020: Townhall held at Tun Perak Co-Op, Kuala Lumpur from 31st December 2020 to 10th January 2020.

Artists Azizan Paiman & Hamzah Yazd Chang Fee Ming Kenneth Chan/PB400XL L!PAS Liew Kung Yu Lim Sheau Yun Nelson Dino Pangrok Sulap Rahmat Haron Sharon Chin & Hoo Siew Teck Tan Zi Hao The Complete Futures of Malaysia projects (Ali Alasri, Fahmi Reza, Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri, Imri Nasution, June Tan, Lee Ren Xin, Mark Teh, Roger Liew, Syamsul Azhar, Wong Tay Sy) Yee I-Lann Editor Aminah Ibrahim Design Kenta.Works Photography Damien Khoo


A+ WORKS of ART d6 - G - 8 d6 Trade Centre 801 Jalan Sentul 51000 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia +60 18 333 3399 info@aplusart.asia www.aplusart.asia Facebook/Instagram @aplusart.asia Opening Hours 12 pm – 7 pm, Tuesday to Saturday Closed on Sunday, Monday and public holidays Copyright © A+ WORKS of ART 2021. All rights reserved. All articles and illustrations contained in this catalogue are subject to copyright law. Any use beyond the narrow limites defineded by copyright law, and without the express of the publisher, is forbidden and will be prosecuted.

A+ WORKS of ART is a contemporary art gallery based in Kuala Lumpur, with a geographic focus on Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Founded in 2017 by Joshua Lim, the gallery presents a wide range of contemporary practices, from painting to performance, drawing, sculpture, new media art, photography, video and installation. Its exhibitions have showcased diverse themes and approaches, including material experimentation and global conversations on social issues. Collaboration is key to the ethos of A+ WORKS of ART. Since its opening, the gallery has worked with artists, curators, writers, collectors, galleries and partners from within the region and beyond, and continues to look out for new collaborations. The gallery name is a play on striving for distinction but also on the idea that art is never without context and is always reaching to connect — it is always “plus” something else.