Page 1

dusun quarterly

Spring 2015

e-journal of Asian Arts and Culture

Liu Bao Jun Teoh Kai Suan Dipika Mukherjee Simon Tan Paul GnanaSelvam Peter Brown Kamal Mustafa Stephen Menon Sasenarine Persaud Suriya Namwong Kuan Yuen Tam 1

Dusun remains an entirely free and non-associated publication concerned with bringing Asian arts and culture to everyone


Dusun Quarterly Four cover: Suriya Namwong,Venus of Siam

Editor: Martin A Bradley


Dusun TM Published April 2015



06 26 44 64 90 4


Liu Bao Jun, Ladies Smoking


Dipika Mukherjee, poems


Simon Tan


From Street to Canvas, Four Fantastic


Teoh Kai Suan

Imagination’s Catalyst, Malaysian Sculptures

Paul GnanaSelvam, poem

Peter Brown’s Blues

Spring 2015

Kamal Mustafa


A Blast from the Past, Colors of Cambodia benefit

Stephen Menon

128 142 162



Sasenarine Persaud, poems

Suriya Namwong, sculpture


Artworks from the Cusp


Kuan Yuen Tam, watercolours

Kopi, Malaysian Coffee


dusun quarterly e-journal of Asian Arts and Culture

Editor’s Note Spring is almost sprung. In Malaysia it remains the land of perpetual summer, and no discernible difference between seasons. However, ceremonies of the various races, in this multicultural milieu, bring their own delights and all thoughts of falling leaves and cool crusty snow are soon to be forgotten. This, the first issue of the new year (2015), brings a veritable cornucopia of arts from far and wide, without neglecting Malaysia’s home grown talent (of which there is a plenty). The immediate mention, I must make, is for the AEC 2015, the ginormous event bringing heavyweight Arts professionals from all over to discuss possible economical futures for the Arts, with an emphasis on Malaysia. The review will be in the next issue, but advanced warning is here, now. This bumper 176 page issue brings unimaginable delights, and too many to mention here. Without further ado please dive right in, the water here is lovely. There are delights for all from desi poetry to young energetic former Street, now gallery, Artists. Bask in Dusun Quarterly’s pages, you may never want to come out.................. Read Dusun four times a year for the very best of Asian Arts and Culture. Now read on................ Martin Bradley, Founding Editor. 6






LiuladiesBao Jun smoking

Liu Bao Jun was born on 26th March 1963, in the northern town of Liaoning, China. He now lives in Shanghai as a professional artist. In 2003, Liu Bao Jun was awarded the First Prize at the Liaoning Province Film Poster exhibition and, in 2004, participated in the Shanghai Music Hall Art Show. Later he also participated in the Shanghai Science Centre Art Show, Pudong, Shanghai and the International Art Expo, Shanghai.The following year, 2005, the artist had a solo exhibition at the Red Door Gallery, Shanghai, and another at the Horst Art Gallery, New York. Liu Bao Jun has also participated in the International Art Expo, Shanghai. His work has since gained popularity in Taipei, with exhibitions in 2011 and 2012.













Malaysian Chinese a Chang An, Ch two seperate exh 22

artists & artists from hina meet....

hibitions, March 2015 23





Teoh Kai Suan




Teoh Kai Suan The artist Teoh Kai Suan’s oil and watercolour paintings have been featured in many exhibitions throughout Malaysia. Teoh, is graduate from the eminent Kuala Lumpur College of Art and uses his artworks to express his unique perspective on Malaysia’s rural life. Using imagery imbued with the idyll of romantic rural life, Teoh sets about encapsulating the noble concept of Balik Kampong, or a return to the kampong, except for Teoh it is a Kampong of the mind, of nostalgia and wish fulfilment. Unlike the depictions by the illustrious actor and film maker Tan Sri P.Ramlee (born Teuku Zararia bin Teuku Nyak Puteh, in Penang 1929), Teoh’s kampong is a calm, un-chaotic, romantic snapshot. His humour is gentle and homogenous, unlike Ramlee’s boisterous rambunctiousness but just as endearing. In Teoh’s canvases couples dance across the hard trodden earth of the Kampong floor; families, rotund and serene pose for snapshot portraits beneath Rousseau trees. Young kite flyers sprint, stylistically - she clutching her handbag while he holds aloft the kite which is their excuse for being together, both gaze at the viewer. Throughout Teoh’s work the viewer is always present - acknowledged by the characters Teoh has painted. A motorcycle rider squints to see the spectator, while the female dancer purses her lips to blow the observer a kiss. Whether soaking in a river or flying a kite Teoh’s characters benignly engage with the gallery audience. Teoh’s almost voyeuristic entry


into rural (Ulu) Kampong life is reminiscent of the cartoonist Lat’s (Mohammad Nor bin Khalid, b. 1951) work. Lat’s Kampong Boy (1977) charted Lat’s birth and the first few years of his life, based on his recollections of rustic life in Perak. Teoh brings us an altogether different perspective of rural kampong life, in the neighbouring state of Kedah - a more sedate, placid portrayal, enlivened by his vibrant choice of colour. Lat’s humour prods the memory by depicting life in any rural village almost anywhere in the world, except for the fact he is portraying his personal reality, of his own kampong. There is universality to Lat’s character’s antics, a resonance and reflection of rural life the world over. Teoh too has this ability of capturing moments, snapshots, of rural life, though there is also a stylistic over-layering reminiscent of those Maoist posters seen during China’s Cultural Revolution era. Like the Chinese posters Teoh depicts a promised land, a rural idyll free from the yoke of stress and striving, a land of equality and the common good. The happy, smiling, poster faces spoke of a new order and a break with tradition, where Teoh injects a limitless, timeless quality into his Malaysian nostalgic revelry, embracing kampong tradition. While having similarities to the art of China’s Cultural Revolution, Teoh’s work is evidently manifest as an Asian incarnation of a western art figurative tradition, dating back to painters like Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Goya. Both of these artists portrayed sitters with a fuller figure, not the wraith-like




models of 21st Century. Teoh continues in this tradition of artists specialising in depicting plump/rotund, larger than life people, just like the Colombian painter Fernando Botero (b.1932, Medellin, Colombia). Botero presented his works in an exhibition in Singapore 2004/2005 also bringing corpulent figures dancing their way across his canvases and statuary. Botero, has become renowned for his paintings of overweight and larger than life figures. Having adopted a conscious style with his The Bridal Chamber or Homage to Mantega, in 1958, Botero has, for nearly half a century, depicted the larger figure in all its style and glory. Echoing Botero and reflecting Latin American artists like Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Teoh encapsulates the notion of simple, rural home-life. Men wearing sarongs and Japanese slippers serenade along with their children, Chinese eyes wrinkle in smile, cheeks flush with sheer joie de vivre. All is well, and all is right in Teoh’s tranquil pastoral Eden. There are not the marks of toil and strife we notice in Rivera’s work, nor in his fellow muralist Siqueiros’ visuals. Teoh does not ask his audience to get up and react against tyranny but rather to revel in an idea, the idea of Balik Kampong – the return home, back to the ideal family living in the ideal world, back to nature and back to calm sanity, away from the artificial construct of the city and its depersonalisation, its isolation and its neglect. Teoh’s narrative continues to



blend Asian imagery with western figurative tradition and romantic idyll. In many respects we have much to thankTeoh for, his canvases - yes, his hard work - yes, but much more than that - his reminder of what is really important – home and family, thank you Teoh Kai Suan. (adapted from an earlier article - Ed.)


Uniquely Toro

is the story of a remarkable artist known only as Toro. He has diligently tested the norms and conventions of artistic ‘society’, and shaken a poignant fist at corruption and prejudice. It is a bold book about temerity and bravery written and designed by Martin Bradley Available through Waters Publishing House, Manila,The Philippines



Dipika Mukherjee



pantoum for a malaysian evening Dissatisfaction in Kuala Lumpur. After molten sunshine, smelting pelting rain comes, growling grey belligerence through traffic crawls; so lugubrious.

After molten sunshine? Smelting, pelting chemicals and tear gas sprayed by police through traffic crawls; all lugubrious at democratic cries for reform shouted.

Chemicals and tear gas sprayed by police; traffic–jammed, the Shangri-la smiles at democratic cries for reform shouted into catoptrical conclaves of stalled vehicles.

Traffic–jammed. The Shangri-la smiles, rain comes, growling grey belligerence into catoptrical conclaves of stalled vehicles. Dissatisfaction in Kuala Lumpur.


after a suicide After a suicide, there are only locks, no one has the key. We meet, after avoided years, and still ponder on a key. Do we assign blame? Or just blame ourselves? We both look away, See the barricaded door, kicked-back chair, a flung-away key.

We were so young! Still in our teens (how we soothe our memories!) What did we know beyond music, that life too could go off-key? She asked you to come; she asked me too. We were both too busy. That day, swamped in Delhi heat, we didn’t know we’d be so key. Did she wait for our footsteps? Did someone else ring at the door? It wasn’t you or me – but – did she hear the turn of a key?

They dressed her in bride-red (I heard), I wasn’t there for the end, I was tracing through distraught maps for a compass with a key.

We meet -- the survivors -- you and I, still searching guiltily, You say: We should move on, Dipika, too long gone is the key.




athens at easter Athens spreads out like an Indian city; Doors open in succession on the way to Pireas; these houses could be in New Delhi. These, too, are ancient people wayfarers still sell luck in talismans, glass goldfish, feng-shui magic near the ancient Bath. The hawker asks about my jade earrings, he knows Singapore; he is from everywhere, but not here. Easter smells, of lambs roasting on a spit, the pigeons flying low, skimming heads, dead leaves from trees flickering into the flames. There is sun, music, loud chatter, and young people and open doors‌the waiter tears a piece off the meat he is eating, offers us two beers on the house.


Umibaizurh Mahir @ Ismail, Toys (Gerabak) 42


Imagination’s Catalyst by Martin Bradley

It wasn't Jim Morrison’s Love Street, but Jalan Duta Kiara, and “this store where the creatures meet” was The Edge Galerie and an exhibition of fascinating sculptures from the Pakhruddin and Fatimah Sulaiman Collection. But creatures there were. In that intriguing show contemporaneousness rubbed shoulders with surreality, three, or was that four, dimensional expressions and a monstrously darkened cubicle, enlightened only by torchlight. If you were to ever spare a thought for Malaysian sculpture, and there is every reason why you should, the tortured metal ‘warriors’ of Raja Shariman might spring quickly to mind, but little else. A casual observer of the Malaysian art scene might be forgiven for thinking sculpture just did not fit in with the proliferation of Abstract Expressionist canvases, twee kampong scenes and seemingly endless paintings of fishing boats. But they would be wrong. Certainly since Independence, sculpture has been an emerging part of Malaysian art making. Anthony Lau’s Spirit of Fire (1960) and Syed Amad Jamal’s The link (1963) being but two fine examples. The beauty of “For the Imaginary Space; selected sculptures & installations from the Pakhruddin & Fatimah Sulaiman Collection” is not just in the works put on show, but for the idea of demonstrating that Malaysian artists, inclusive of Raja Shariman (Raja Shahriman Bin Raja Aziddin), do produce meaningful dialogues in more than two static dimensions. The first impression of the Edge Galerie, having sauntered through those magnificent doors, is of some radiantly white Jentayu (mythic bird), with its wings spread in perpetual welcome. Enmeshed in those outspread wings are the Sulaiman sculptures. In the Edge Galerie’s central space, its red brick walls is the Calder-like ‘mobile’ Centrifugal (by Abdul Multhalib Musa), hanging by five early steel sculptures from Zulkifli Yusoff (Yang Arif, Pemerhati, Sherif Masuk Penjara, Milang 44

Sharmiza Abu Hassan, Nur Pintu Hati (diptych)

and Kebodohan). Perhaps those sculptures are a prelude to those by Raja Shariman. The scene becomes stage-set for our imagination, and the sculptures its catalyst. Initially I had to fight some Pavlovian, or was that foraging, inclination to turn into the right hand gallery, and nudged myself into the equally valid left hand gallery space. The left gallery is the slightly smaller of the two and, like its twin wing, painted a white which enables visitors to reflect upon its many presented objects. Azman Ismail’s, primarily brilliant red, Ku Genggam Merdeka (Hold me Independence), nestled on the white tiled floor of that left hand gallery as an introduction, perhaps, to the various dialogues and narratives explicit or implicit in the works there. In my line of sight was Ramlan Abdullah’s Monument of Freedom, spiking up towards the gallery ceiling. Like many of the sculptures in those two galleries there was an abruptness of steel/iron, which, like the aforementioned Monument of Freedom, made me check my sensitivities. I experienced an uncanny viciousness from the metal sculptures, an unease akin to an extreme Dadaist experience, an unsettling power relationship in which I was the subjugated. Didn’t Matisse say “The essential thing is to spring forth, to express the bolt of lightning one senses upon contact with a thing. The function of the artist is not to translate an observation but to express the shock of the object on his nature; the shock, with the original reaction.” (Jack Flam; Matisse on Art) From unnervingly spiky steel (and glass) to Ahmad Shukri Mohamed’s glass-fibre eggs (Incubator Series: Muse) and back to Umibaizurah Mahir @ Ismail’s The Sky House, ceramic and mixed media (very reminiscent of the American surreal artist Joseph Cornell’s assemblage boxes), there was a healthy variety in that left hand gallery collection. But even more so in the next. 45

Umibaizurh Mahir @ Ismail, Toys (Gerabak)

For me, the most striking exhibit was the wooden display shelves, rooted by blocks of concrete, which formed the ‘case’ for Umbaizurah Mahir @ Ismail’s ‘Toys’ (Gerabak). Why intriguing, because of the incipient humour of those pieces. I was reminded both of the Spanish Surrealist Miro, and the English Surrealist Desmond Morris in their playfulness, only made tangible, ceramic with wheels and metal flowers. And so to the creatures…. Throughout the exhibition there was an undercurrent of risqué politics, but none more so than in the installation created to house Sharon Chin’s ‘Monsters’. Entering into a cubicle draped with black fabric makes you reach for the variety of torchlights, to hand, just outside. Seemingly, the ‘Monsters’ are a ghoul, a headless ghost, a gargoyle, a unicorn and a manticore. Or that is what we are encouraged to believe until, that is, we read the list of Malaysia’s banned books printed behind silhouette figures in what appear to be open books, and realise just who the real monsters are. The whole exhibition of sculptures from the Pakhruddin and Fatimah Sulaiman Collection, is both visually intriguing and encouragingly thought provoking. In fact, it is just what any good exhibition should be.

Detail 46

Rosli Zakaria, Gunting Dalam Lipatan... Bagai Pahat Dengan Pemukul... Bagai Lembu Dicucuk Hidung... Belakang Parang Kalau Diasah


Sharon Chin, Killing Jars series 48

Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Incubatar Series: Muse


Mad Anuar Ismail, Storm Riders 7 50

View into The Edge Galerie, left



From Britain’s unsunny East Coast to the pounding heat of the jungles of South East Asia, surprises were in store for this author as he naively attempted the rural life amidst sand, sun and slithering snakes. It is the tale of a seven year journey. A journey into the mind and soul of one deluded Englishman trying desperately to do the right thing, and be the right person, in the wrong place amidst the wrong things.


new pocket poetry ebook


in pdf

Dusun publications 53

simon tan


Poetry of Nature-Born Free-1 55

Poetry of Nature 4 56

Simon Tan is a foremost Malaysian Chinese abstract painter, concerned with depictions of nature, especially mountains. The artist travel orstensibly to China, climbs mountains and bridges waterways to discover his source material.


Yellow Mountain Series


Poetry of Nature -Blue Water


Untitled 60

Huang Shan Series

Yellow Mountain B & W Series

Huang Shan Series 61



Poetry of Nature Series 63

Paul GnanaSelvam The Thespian Cries Cold reptilian blood. dull synchronized industry monotonous repetition Re- synthesized, Re-written, re-produced Lifeless and formless, filling a necrophilic air, this affair Done is the mind, despair the heart churns the stomach itches the skin Words noxious and intoxicating Black fonts against whitest graves ugly pages from the abyss fateful numeric that beguile the mind Nonsense piled towards the sky polished like a pathetic gem- for a Cause non nobel, The thespian gasps haunted and mystified Non the better, none the sane Nights and days- perils Of brightness unreached beseeched by race- money and power working out the ills of paper life forgotten, its pleasures abandoned, nostalgia numbed at hems, overpowered, manifested- of obscure variables and concepts Blatant number of piling shit, Convulsive, complicating, constipating Proud plodding of Immaculate questions, mirroring a Humane valueThe players belchpolitical economy- for hellish rankings, filled and filed, of grey matter - for Non that mattersBody, soul and mind The thespian cries! 64

Martin Bradley Sorrento, Italy 65



Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad

Azar Osman

Donald Abraham

Mohd Anuar bin Mustapa 67

Donald Abraham, Start Stop 2

February sees urban artist turned studio artist Donald Abraham exhibiting, with friends, at the Vallette Gallery, Jalan Bruas, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Recently featured in Vallette Gallery’s Absolut Vodka ‘Andy Warhol bottle’ launch, (Sabah born) Donald Abraham has been assiduously working in a variety of media to remind us all of the artistic merit intrinsically inherent in the free expression of what has become known as “Urban Art”. In the exciting new exhibition, Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad; Azar Osman, Donald Abraham and Mohd Anuar bin Mustapa continue to re-define contemporary Malaysian art with influences gleaned from their passions; skateboarding, comic books and Urban art from around the world. What we now call “Urban Art” has variously been dubbed “Graffiti” or “Street Art”, and has been praised or damned accordingly in equal measure. Over time the concept of “Urban Art” has developed from its innate illicit nature, into being officially recognised as authentic and fresh artistic insights. While other Malaysian artists of the street, from Penang to Ipoh, have ‘tagged’ or muralled their way into our consciousness, for good or ill, four artists on show at Vallette Gallery have forsaken the larger, public, showcases to bring their art into the world of galleries, galleryists and of Fine Art collectors. In the styles these artists have chosen to work in, the art world can witness an exciting freshness, vibrancy and keen young enterprise bursting forth. Yet, however fresh and contemporary these works undoubtedly are, we must acknowledge that no art is new and, to a greater or lesser degree, all art has had its foundations laid either from nature or from other art. The work of these keen, young emerging Malaysian artists is no exception. The art forms they hold dear, from skate boarding to art of the street, had their foundations firmly laid in the bedrock of 1960s/70s “Alternative Comics” (Comix) and their related iconography. Only back then it was chiefly about surfboards, not skateboards, and 68

Robert Crumb, Zap Comix 0

Jean Michel Basquiat, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump

Rick Griffin, Omo Bob

rampaging street art was only in its infancy. American “Alternative” comic artists Rick Griffin, Jim Evans and Robert Crumb were all associated with surfing, its magazines and its love of the potential subversiveness of the new “Underground” comic books. From Californian surfing, and comic books, grew vibrant, energetic artistic styles which soon blossomed across the burgeoning counter-culture of the time. It enveloped surfboard decoration and surfing apparel as well as gracing surf magazines and yet more counter-culture (alternative) comic books. Towards the end of the 1970s, two prominent names emerged from out of a nascent American ‘Urban’ (graffiti) counter-culture. JeanMichel Basquiat, a former graffiti artist, was shot to fame by an article in America’s The Village Voice newspaper and, a few years later, Keith Haring. Haring, a graffiti artist was, by 1982, beginning to gain attention for his uniquely humorous linear style. Both artists were recognised by a

Keith Haring, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell 69

Banksy, Pigeons

maturing art world, galleries and collectors, with thanks to inroads made by previously by Pop artists like Andy Warhol. Like those on show at Vallette Gallery, Basquiat and Haring were propelled into the world of fine art galleries, and of collectors eager to purchase the new contemporary art.Those artists gained much plaudits, attention of the media and the attention of avid collectors, who now must pay seven figure sums for those artist’s early artworks. The link between Basquiat, Haring and the emerging Malaysian artists is made stronger with the knowledge that Basquiat’s and Haring’s most famous works can now be seen on limited edition American skateboards. In 1987, Haring painted a skateboard ramp, in Kansas, while travelling to visit William Burroughs. In the 2000s the renown and elusive British artist Banksy, skateboard and urban artist supreme, continues to spread his anti-establishment messages across the world and ultimately into respectable acceptability too. Now Banksy’s work fetch upwards of £500,000 (approx RM2728,764.33). In contrast, the emerging Malaysian artist Donald Abraham’s last work, sold for approximately RM12,592.00 (3,500 USD), in America. The art world had become increasingly conscious of new art forms, often arising, seemingly spontaneously, from enthusiastic young artists like these emerging Malaysian artists, many of whom have gained inspiration and experience from the practise of Urban art. The barriers are down. A hungry art world now recognises the vivacity, energy and artistry of young artists across the world.Their artworks, like the surfing 70

Jean Michel Basquiat, The Skateroom

Keith Haring, X Aien Workshop Skateboard Decks

arts and skateboard art before them, have spread their energies across both counter and mainstream cultures. Those works, once painted on subway trains, walls, shop fronts etc by eager artists experimenting with their creativity, are now appreciated for the freshness those works bring to a potentially jaded world of fine art. It is in this spirit that the four young Malaysian artists work. and are beginning to emerge as exciting new talents, destined for greater things.

Keith Haring, Skate Ramp 71

Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Untitled 72


Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Nasi Lemak


Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Tonhkap Di/Catch


Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, State Session 76

Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Untitled

Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Tonhkap Di/Catch 2

Ahmad Fauzan bin Fuad, Untitled


Azar Osman, Imaginary Friend


Azar Osman, Untitled

Azar Osman, Untitled


Donald Abraham, Drama 80


Donald Abraham, Dream 2 82



Donald Abraham, Setiap Satu Situasi Pembakar Semangat didalam Kegelapan


Mohd Anuar bin Mustapa, Untitled


Mohd Anuar bin Mustapa, Untitled


Mohd Anuar bin Mustapa, Untitled 88






Peter Brown, Blues

PETER BROWN Markiza and Peter Hassan Brown have been performing and recording for many years now in London and Malaysia. They have released altogether 4 albums in Malaysia (Peter released 3 earlier solo albums in UK). Recently ex-Soft Touch wiz guitarist Wong Lip Kee has been joining them as occasional lead guitarist, and on their latest recording project . Their song Ecopocalypse was released in March on WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) ’s album Earth Hour 2013. The Lemang Music 20th Anniversary Show was held in April last year at Merdekarya with 9 artists and Markiza & Peter playing with Passion Revisited band (Paul Millott, Zul from Cats in Love and Riz from Endleaves Band) some of the old songs from their first release Open Secret (1993) and Love & Music (1996). These albums have been remastered and are available as free downloads from Soft Touch Full Album on, while all songs from Peter Brown’s albums from the early analogue ones recorded in London from 1979 onwards can be found on peterbrown4. Hard CDs of some albums available at Merdekarya . Currently (2015) Peter has released his new album “BLUES” on CD Baby: (14 tracks including some pure acoustic numbers), and he and Markiza have been writing and performing new songs about the environment, refugees, justice and human rights (one song dedicated to Irene Fernandez) and the threat to the planet. They plan to release a mini-album of some of these songs such as Like a Polar Bear, Losing Nature, Prayer for the Future, Choices, Ecopocalypse and Refugee. Like a Polar Bear, Losing Nature and Ecopocalypse can be found as free downloads on They performed some of these songs at Eco Film Festival 2013 on October 12 at Bee Publika for the Greenvibes Show. For videos, pics & audio please visit or You Tube or Facebook email & mobile: send a message to : 0193688130

Peter and Markiza Brown, 93

Kamal Mustafa

Known Unknown 2014, mixed media: acrylic, archival pigment ink print, aluminium, insulated wires,modelling compound, LED screen, m

Born in 1952, Sabak Bernam, Selangor. Kamal Mustafa graduated with a B.A. in Film from the Polytechnic of Central London in 1976. The following three decades were spent in the advertising film industry as a film director with a client list that included major brands in the region, winning many awards locally and internationally. Kamal is recognised for his direction of some of the nation’s most heart-warming commercials. Kamal returned to painting and his canvases are a fusion of both media; his ‘extended’ paintings are the 94

media player) on canvas, 135 x 274 cm; triptych.

result of an iterative process, combining digital animation with still images in meticulously designed frames. Kamal uses the imagery of animation to consider the implications of societal frameworks, strongly focusing on ears and hearing as central to these processes. The translation of oral histories to widely accepted fact is a major theme, as is the possibility of unknown or imagined realities. Kamal first solo show Simulations was held at White Box, Publika (Kuala Lumpur, 2014). 95

remembering whiteness & other poems by martin bradley downloadable as a free pdf from

a Dusun publication 96


Zhe Xuan Fine Art Gallery D-60-2 Jalan C180/1 Dataran C180 43200 Cheras Selangor Malaysia contact May Lai 016 605 5592 email


Artist’s statement for Known Unknown ““This is a finished work on an unfinished subject in 3 panels. The panels share a common background image, a faded, computer motherboard in the background with torn or ripped openings that reveal other underlying images. The well-defined images are fragments of technology that have deteriorated. The disappearance of MH370 is probably one of the greatest unknowns in living memory. “Leave no stone unturned”. Do we, like Aristotle suspected, derive enjoyment in contemplating the most precise images of things whose sight is painful to us? The inclusion of the myth of Icarus (video inset) refers to the moral lesson of the Greek tale: that of human pride, hubris and eventual humiliation by the gods on his arrogance. It reminds us of our own proud reliance on technology and the absolute belief in the infallibility of science. What lies deeper is perhaps the fact that our armoury of knowledge and ability to control the physical world suddenly nose dived and crashed. The shroud of secrecy during the immediate aftermath of the incident caused controversy and it would not surprise anyone when the truth is known in future, more holes and openings will be revealed.”

Text and images curtesy of Fergana Art Space


Waiting Room,2012, mixed media: acrylic, archival pigment ink print on paper, 50.8 x 76.2 cm.


A Blast Fro A Benefit for Colors of Cambodia at the Taman Tun Performing Art Centre in Kuala Lumpur.


om The Past


Colors of Cambodia founder Bill Gent

窶連rt Will Sav


try opened with his Singaporean band

ve the World’


Songstress Calista Lim 104

Calista with Phantom 105

Professional singer Betty Shieh 106



Producer Pei Yeou Bradley (aka Honey Khor) with her husband 109

Calista Lim sings The Girl in 14 G 110

Maxine Lim sings Hairspray

Michael Jackson Tribute

Calista Lim sings in Chinese 111

Flowers for the show’s producer Pei Yeou Bradley (aka Honey Khor)



follow artist Honey Khor as she sets out to volunteer for the charity - Colors

Every so often a book appears that reveals and illuminates a project that might otherwise remain largely unknown by the outside world: ‘Colors of Cambodia’ is such a book. This is a highly personal and passionate account written by Martin Bradley and illustrated by Pei Yeou Bradley of her encounter with a remarkable art-based project in and around Siem Reap in Cambodia, and how she was drawn into practical involvement with the children for whom the project exists. Richard Noyce, Artist, Wales 2012


s of Cambodia, for the first time

written and designed by Martin Bradley

on sale from groups/138402846288849/

proceeds from all sales go to the education of children in Siem Reap, Cambodia 115

Stephen Menon

Stephen Menon

Stephen Menon, native of Kuantan, Pahang, on Malaysia’s East Coast, graduated with a Diploma in Graphic Design from Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1993. Stephen has been involved in group exhibitions since 2003, and has had solo exhibitions since 2010. Stephen is renown for his printed posters, mainly using the screen process, but has produced memorable watercolors and drawings too. Much of his imagery has a political bias, with Warhol like portraits of famous leaders, like Chairman Mao, Malaysia’s Tunku Abdul Rahman and the film maker P. Ramlee. Many might claim that Stephen Menon has taken over where Malaysia’s Andy Warhol - Redza Piyadasa, left off.


The Mao Gospel Series, Movie Poster Type B 117

The Mao Gospel Series, The Star 118



P. Ramlee; The Unmasking of a Legend Stamp Series No 2


Tunku:57&57: Tarot Card Series -The  Magician 121



Tunku:57&57: Tarot Card Series -The  Justice


The Quest Series


The Quest Series


The Quest Series


The Quest Series


Love in a Time of Technology Sasenarine Persaud

Whether in the heart of downtown Toronto, a bookstore in Boston, the courtyard of the Taj Mahal, through the portals of cyberspace, on the banks of a Tampa river, or a journey through time to Georgetown, an old colonial capital, love circumscribes everything. But this book is no wide-eyed outpouring; it probes and questions concepts and beliefs, pokes fun at age, companions taken for granted, and the realization that, like a mannequin in a Manhattan storefront, love is “faceless and, almost, race less.� If love circumscribes everything, these poems show that everything, economics, politics, ambitions and exiles, also circumscribes love


Sasenarine Persaud

unpublished poems

White Butterfly

  Like the year crickets rend the air and sliver-bait fish cling to hooks – fine-pins heated and bent and tied to limber branch-rods – and to paste flour in our palms as we knelt or lay on stomachs on the banks of forty-feet canal among daisies and wildflowers disturbing South American Relatives to catch a fish, two, three dozens by noon.   Like the year mommy died – who cared for such adult things as the company of cousins as distraction; winged wonders on canna lilies on marigolds and coleus – you come again, tiny-dancing over fence catwalking and dancing in our garden.


Remembrances Â

 Not a one-legged dance in the dark Or maples in Toronto. Not exclamations Under ceiling fans or the ficus ficus In Miami, the live oaks of everywhere. Not the squish on greenheart floors Or the coconut branches of Campbellville. Not the full-bosomed monsoon squeal Or the pipal trees of Uttar Pradesh. Nothing lives in memory anymore Except that speck the ancients called maya.


Indian Classical What…

(Ravi Shankar 1920-2012)   Forgetting the guru’s daughter or the first or second loves— reporters seeking out sex and scandal— third or fifth affairs or ragas; Monterey  or Woodstock hippies, not crazies, now, setting an instrument on fire burning a hand of god; forget estranged and unestranged offspring loved unloved; forget all but this thing lotused from Saraswattie’s vina: teardrops or raindrops monsoon on the fingers of god.



Brown leaves rattling on a long walkway In a cool dusk is music in our steps Somewhere along the lake and a roaring Fall. A fine mist enveloping faces Do you think of this time? No babies’ cries Child no child, daughter no daughter Sun no son twinkling from an old fort’s battlements Fingers in pockets fishing for warmth, leaves   Rattling a maracas from South America Flamenco dancers from Spain or south Asia Do you think how love stretched nerves and eyes To distraction, I scrambling at froth on windwhipped Water and the sunshine and a morning after.   Blue skies. Our suitcases packed. We will end this tryst with the past. I did not Despise you then and do not now. Mist this morning Does not prevent us seeing we did not love ourselves Enough to love each other’s flaws. Or was that only I Hiding under these leaves rattling the pavement.  


Rain Â

Gulf breeze bringing derby-hoofed drops on the Floridaroom roof. The Indian orchid waving like an inebriate football fan in today’s European cup final. A German girl hoisting an orange and black musketeer hat. The Chancellor is our mascot. We shiver as if in a winter chill. Fowl-thieves chose rainy nights to disguise their breaking, the muted squawking hens drowned out in the thunder on metal – those corrugated zinc sheets and these flat white panels made from the same material.


T hailand



Suriya Namwong


Venus of Siam 137



S ingapore


Next Stop, Milan 141

Inside Out 142


kuan yuen tam





Short Circuit 146

Old Water Pump



Old Men and Spices


Taksim Alley


Fruit Seller 150


T urkey


Erol Akyavas, Locus of Extremity

Image courtesy of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey 153

Artworks from the Cusp by Martin Bradley

The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia, in Jalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, has launched an exhibition, “Tradition, Culture and Modernity: Contemporary Art from Turkey”. It’s a collaboration between the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and, of course, the Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia. Turkey’s most influential writer - Orhan Pamuk, had written thusly about artists (in his book about his city, Istanbul): “If you could have seen how thrilled Turkey’s most famous artist was that some people had finally turned up at his door to buy a painting, or what ridiculous airs he put on to hide his pleasure, or how he practically swept the floor with his bowing as we left with his painting in our hands, or how unctuously he bade us farewell, you wouldn’t wish becoming a painter on anyone in this country, my son.” Indeed how times have indeed changed. The FT (Britain’s Financial Times), in November 2010, began an article (Turkey’s contemporary art scene) with… “Few doubt that Turkey’s contemporary art scene is one of the liveliest in the world. Galvanised by the Istanbul Biennial, which kicked off in 1987, the city has witnessed an explosion of commercial galleries…” While the New York times (February 2012) in “The Istanbul Art-Boom Bubble” mentioned “In New York it feels like the best years are behind us…in Istanbul it feels like the best years are yet to come.” Art Radar too (November 2014) delighted in the successes of Modern and Contemporary Turkish art and the continuing art fair aptly named - Art Istanbul. The article suggested that Istanbul might become an “art capital of the future”. The phenomenal success of Turkish Modern and Contemporary art continues to be witnessed around the art world. Christie’s (The Art People) Dubai ended an October 2014 sale, totalling 12,510,875 (USD), of Modern & Contemporary Arab, Iranian & Turkish Art. There is yet more success as Sotheby’s currently holds the record for many of the Contemporary Turkish artists’ sales and, back in Christie’s, a work by Fahr El Nissa Zeid (Break of Atom and Vegetal Life,1962), sold for an impressive $2,300,000 in 2013 (Dubai). Amidst all this interest in art from Turkey, it is no wonder that Kuala Lumpur’s Islamic Arts Museum decided to host the current exhibition Tradition, Culture and Modernity: Contemporary Art from Turkey, from 154

Adan Coker, Toward the Sphere

Image courtesy of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey

2nd December (2014) until 31st January (2015). Its launch was an impressive affair, with many serious (mostly) men in equally serious dark jackets listening attentively to speeches in Turkish and English. As nourishment for the body, as much as the art works are to the soul, a mixture of Malaysia and Turkish food was available to stave off the pangs after all that speechifying. This current exhibition is, without a doubt, a tour de force of art from Turkey. The central Bank of the Republic of Turkey has enabled those of us being in Malaysia to witness works by many of Turkey’s renown artists. Not to diminish any of the other artworks, nor any of the other artists, but the one work which struck my attention on entering the exhibition, was “Locus of Extremity” (1982) by Erol Akyavas. It is a large piece, some 265 x 178 cm, and its combination of green, turquoise and silver leaf poignantly capture all that is beautiful about Istanbul, if not Turkey. Neither the comprehensive catalogue, nor my pathetic iPad picture taking, could capture the sheer brilliance of this piece and its dominance over the entire show. Akyavas had studied under Ferdinand Leger, in Paris, in the early 155

1950s, and yet in the exhibition shown at the Islamic Museum in KL, it is another Turkish artist Adem Genç whose work more closely resembles Leger’s ‘Tubism’. Genc’s “Why are Things as They are” (2008) and “Why are Things as They are” (2009) have the distinctive Leger tonal tubes/ machine-like aesthetic (marvellously depicted in the film La Ballet Mechanique, 1923-24) coupled with Genc’s brush abstraction in the background. The current exhibits range from a small ‘serigraph’ titled “Composition” (1965) by Sabri Bekel (40 x 70 cm) to the aforementioned “Locus of Extremity” (1982) by Erol Akyavas, and “Requiem for the Last Voices” also by Akyavas. The latter is a superb ‘mixed media’ on canvas. One galleryist, who had spent a decade living in Istanbul, nudged me over to see the two works from Devrim Erbil. One, a large mixed media on canvas (180 x 160 cm) called “Istanbul Watching” (2008), the other (larger) was simply called “Abstraction” (180 x 180 cm). Erbil's works are often made into carpets, mosaics/ceramics, and he delights in producing the sketch-like images on larger surfaces, which reflect his home city, its birds and its mosques. 156

Kemal Onsoy, Rumeli Caravanserai VII

Image courtesy of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey 157

The Exhibition







Erol Akyavas, Requiem for the Last Voices


kopi My companion and I had travelled the long road back to the State of Penang, Malaysia, for Christmas. The new, sleek, red Ford Fiesta weathered the vagaries of the tedious North/South Highway, it's constant driving rain and it's appallingly showy crashes of thunder. We arrived safely at the small town of Bukit Mertajam, despite all that the hammer wielding Thor could do to prevent it. We visited Khor senior’s store for a quick meet and greet, then encamped at the family home. The very next day, severely grumbling tums enticed us to escape semi-detached isolation, and head for Bukit Mertajam town proper; for breakfast. Having eventually parked (no mean feat in that heavily congested town), we traversed the crowded market, it's slippery vegetable discards, the loud and intense sellers of roasted pork and deep fried bread, and once more returned to our favourite (small) coffee emporium - Ah Hup's Kedah kopi (coffee shop). Two years on and Ah Hup was sporting a brand new haircut. As time as dragged its weary feet in that small backwater town, Ah Hup had become increasingly famous in the vicinity. Not just for his winning smile and his easy manner, but also because of his unique Three Taste coffee (San Wei). The ever benign Ah Hup, a third generation coffee roaster, recognised us immediately and presented us with yet another cup of delectable coffee, served to our collapsible stainless steel table within his tiny, and busy, cafe. It was the fifth cup of coffee between my wife and I. Ah Hup had called it called D’ammo. I thought he said Tiammo (Italian for love). A short-lived confusion ensued, with me imagining a nonexistent romantic streak in that stately Penang town. The confusion was soothed over by the coffee's seductive cream and chocolate sauce. The previous four coffees Ah Hup had lavished on us, had been of the 'stretched' or ‘Tarik', variety.The type of coffees that Malaysia is increasingly being known for. While I am fond of talking about coffee, so apparently is Ah Hup. As he was making another customer a joyous cup of his very own blend, he explained how he roasts the coffee beans himself, 162

Traditional coffee ‘sock’

Kopi (coffee) preparation

careful of the mix of Indonesian and local blends, and pouring love into the mix while experimenting with smoothness and taste, to the sheer delight of the residents of Bukit Mertajam, and their visitors. Having sent his son to Penang Island, to learn mechanical techniques in coffee decoration, Ah Hup found that it was just as proficient to use the traditional method of 'stretching' the coffee between two stainless steel mugs, allowing air to enter the fluid, and creating his 'cappuccino' froth by that method. He was scornful of the pressurised espresso machines foreign branded coffee houses use. Having tasted yet more of Ah Hup’s coffee, it is no wonder that we return, but it was an even greater wonder that Ah Hup recognises us. I did indeed wonder, until I caught sight of the photo Ah Hup’s son had taken of us, together, two years ago. It was proudly displayed on the white tiled wall of that minuscule coffee house. As we drank, coffee after delicious coffee other, local, Kopi (coffee) and char kuay patrons looked between me and the wall containing the photograph. A debate ensued, was it me, or 163

A very popular place

A writer’s return

wasn't it me. I had no idea of the conclusion. I was tempted to ask but declined. As we imbibed Ah Hup’s creative caffeine, savouring each gulp and secretly wishing never to leave, his son told us one very surprising thing about his father. Ah Hup, now so well renown for his superb coffee blending, doyen of all appertaining to coffee in Bukit Mertajam, does not drink coffee at all. The son’s statement was left hanging. An eon went past. No quip came. I could think of no response, but to drink another mouthful and just be glad that Ah Hup’s undoubted skills included his manufacture of untasted coffee. A true entrepreneur, Ah Hup also produces, and sells, Kuay Chap (a wide flat rice noodle), from a stall, near his cafe.The Kuay Chap begins its prized existence as a thin rice flour batter, spread onto a warmed wok, much like a pancake or crepe. It cooks with a thin layer of pork fat and resembles a very large crepe when cooked. The cooked crepe is spread on a stainless steel surface, folded and allowed to cool. The cooled Kuay Chap is torn into bite-sized pieces, then sun-dried. This wide, Making Kuay Chap from batter 164

Tearing Kuay Chap


Kuay Chap Soup

Adding yet more ingredients to Kuay Chap Soup 166

Dried Kuay Chap noodles

Drying Kuay Chap noodles

flat noodle is the basic ingredient for the flavoursome Kuay Chap soup noodle. This delicious dish is made from a whole duck and its innards, broiled with pig's tongue, pig intestines, many whole bulbs of garlic and litres of dark soy sauce mixed with water. The whole is served in small bowls with fried garlic and the cooked intestines and a cut, boiled, chicken's egg. Not content to serve delicious coffee and wholesome soup noodles,Ah Hup is also a preserver of the culinary past. Within his home stand many antique machines connected to the production of food or drink. While we were visiting Ah Hup told us that he had recently renovated an eighty year old ais kachang (ice) scraper, and was in the process of renovating an eighty-plus-year-old coffee grinder, intending to use the latter in small time home production of unique roasted coffee. After the Grand Tour, Ah Hup took us to see his friend, Mr Yeap Thay Oh, who continues to roast commercially. Mr Yeap was born in China and migrated to Malaysia with his family at the age of eight,. He gladly showed us around his small coffee factory, while Ah 167

Ice scraper

Hup explained that his family had owned similar factories over the generations, but had gradually sold each off. His friend, Mr Yeap produces 'Cap Bungalow Glory' (morning glory) brand coffee (kopi campuran) of Penang of State, from the Kampong (village) Berapit. Slowly, the story of coffee and Malaysia was unravelling for me. Previously I had written about coffee in Ipoh, Perak. Bukit Mertajam was a fresh insight for me. But I have the feeling that Roasting Kopi (coffee) the Malaysian way there is yet more to Malaysia’s coffee story……

Roasting Kopi (coffee) the Malaysian way 168

Kopi (coffee) blended with sugar

The raw coffee beans


dusun nurture yourself with

asian arts and culture emagazine


dusun e-journal of Asian Arts and Culture

June/July 2013 Ridiculously Free


space gambus experiment jaysen yeoh koh teng huat madhuchhanda karmakar albert ashok

Dusun publications 171






Dusun Quarterly Spring 2015  

Dusun Quarterly is the flagship of Dusun Publications, and is an e-magazine of Asian Arts and Culture. Dusun Quarterly brings only the very...

Dusun Quarterly Spring 2015  

Dusun Quarterly is the flagship of Dusun Publications, and is an e-magazine of Asian Arts and Culture. Dusun Quarterly brings only the very...