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1 Launching Issue Nov / Dec 2008

Malaysian art now Sometimes I feel, you treating me like game

>50 years of Balai Seni Lukis Negara >Timelines: Time to think, or, some thoughts on Susurmasa >2nd International Art Expo Malaysia 2008

But I am so fawn of you!

>Singapore Biennale 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

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CONTENTS

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Editor

inc.

For the first time in 50 years, we vow to be your popular newsprint medium for reading about the art practice of today .

We are indeed challenged in this unusual task. The , besides communicating about the latest happenings of this institution, will present updates on events run by other groups and organizations, shall showcase selected exhibitions, with commentaries on particular aspects of the show or artists. is grateful to the artists , friends and peers who have given input on what they hope to find in this venture , and especially to Marvin Chan who gave us the idea about featuring an artist , who may host-design the cover of each issue. This Launching Issue presents Simon Soon citing the significance of the Singapore Biennale , Roopesh Sitharan locating electronic art , Faizal Sidik introducing SeniArt. Info, Daniel Chong fascinated by the iconic Zulkifli Yusoff, and the Opinion section features Rachel Jenagaratnam’s experience of being deluged by Timelines.

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50 tahun Balai Seni Lukis Negara Timelines:Time to think, or, some thoughts on Susurmasa Program Kesinambungan Hayat:Klirieng Wajah Jati Malaysia 2nd International Art Expo Malaysia 2008 Review of Singapore Biennale 2008 Relocations SeniArt.Info: Suara Baru Seni Kontemporari di Lembah Klang Anderson & Low Icons: Zulkifli Yusoff Program BSLN Artist:Marvin Chan Activities The Passing of a Giant of Modern Malaysian Art What’s on?

PUBLISHER Balai Seni Lukis Negara National Art Gallery Malaysia No 2, Jalan Temerloh Off Jalan Tun Razak 53200 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA Phone Fax

: 603 4026 7000 : 603 4025 4987

website : http://www.artgallery.gov.my • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Dr. Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa Editor-In-Chief

Dr. Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa

• MANAGING EDITOR Ch’ng Huck Theng

• EDITOR Zanita Anuar

• DEPUTY EDITOR Wening Cheah

• EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Hashimah Nyok Tan Sei Hon

• CONTRIBUTORS / WRITERS Rachel Jenagaratnam Roopesh Sitharan Simon Soon Daniel Chong Faizal Sidik Alizam Hassan Usnita Nasir Shamsul Bahari Mohamad Yusof

• DISTRIBUTION Osmihamidy Osman

• PHOTOGRAPHY Mohd. Noorhisyam Amir Nazarullah

Sometimes I feel, you treating me like game

• DESIGN Norhaslina Ahmad Kamsin Nuzaihan Mustapa

Any feedback and comments please email to us at: wening@artgallery.gov.my Cover Artist:Marvin Chan

The publisher, National Art Gallery Malaysia, hold copyright of all editorial content in the Malaysia and abroad.

The cover artwork is a parody on But I am so fawn of you!

how easy it is to misunderstand each other when we don’t see

SENIKINI (ISSN: 1985 - 7233) is published six times a year by National Art Gallery Malaysia.

eye to eye, perhaps senikini will provide an eye on things.

NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

All Rights Reserverd. Copyright © 2008 SENIKINI Malaysia Art Now Printed in Malaysia.


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SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


4 Sempena ulang tahun ke 50 Balai Seni Lukis Negara (BSLN), Khazanah Visual Seni Negara melangkah kesatu tahap atau konteks yang lebih jauh lagi. Satu penghargaan buat BSLN untuk merealisasikan buat pertama kalinya karya tiga pelukis tersohor diabadikan sebagai setem Khazanah Seni Visual Negara dengan kerjasama Pos Malaysia Berhad menjadikan satu koleksi setem seni visual yang akan menjelajah ke seluruh pelusok dunia. 28 Ogos 2008 dipilih sebagai hari pelancaran sempena menyambut hari kelahiran BSLN yang ke 50. Dalam tempoh 50 tahun penubuhan BSLN, terdapat 3,700 buah karya yang telah

terhimpun. Khazanah Seni Visual Negara adalah koleksi catan pelukispelukis terkenal Malaysia yang menjadi peneraju dan pengasas kepada seni lukis moden di Malaysia. Hasil karya yang dipilih adalah berdasarkan perwakilan kepada tema figuratif dan landskap yang dipersembahkan dalam gaya seperti realisme, eksperisionisme, kubisme dan seni moden yang berilhamkan seni tradisi. Sebagai pengisian ulangtahun ke 50 Balai Seni Lukis Negara juga telah berjaya menjalankan beberapa aktiviti sama ada di dalam mahupun di luar BSLN. Antaranya adalah pameran koleksi karya seni visual terbesar yang

mempamerkan himpunan tetap negara iaitu Pameran Susurmasa atau Timelines, penerbitan Direktori Galeri-Galeri Seni, ’Kids World Longest Underwater Painting’ di Pulau Mabul, Sabah, Simposium Konservasi Antarabangsa, Rantau Budaya Merdeka : Pencarian Wajah Jati Malaysia, Pameran SEMESTA, Pertemuan dan Dialog dengan penggiat seni, Sidang Seni : SINI 08 kerjasama BSLN bersama Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia dan Persatuan Seni Visual, Koleksi Saya: Rahime Harun dan yang akan datang Pameran TENG: Satu Penghargaan yang mempamerkan karya terbaik oleh Mendiang Datuk Chuah Thean Teng seorang pelukis terpenting negara. Setem Khazanah Seni Visual Negara ini telah dilancarkan oleh Y. Bhg. Dato’ Seri Hj. Mohd Shafie Hj. Apdal, Menteri Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan Malaysia (KEKKWA). Bersama-sama pelancaran ini juga telah dirasmikan katalog bagi pameran SUSURMASA versi Bahasa Inggeris juga sambutan harijadi warganegara Malaysia yang bertuah dan terpilih yang sama tarikh lahirnya dengan BSLN.

OPINION

Timelines: Time to think, or, some thoughts on Susurmasa I Rachel Jenagaratnam

Art produces and reflects the spirit and characteristics of the people that shape a nation. Malaya has many artists to be proud of, but it is only at art galleries that the general public are able to see and enjoy their artworks. Unless the best artworks by our local artists are purveyed for the National Collection, these works will rarely be seen.1

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ur National Art Gallery’s (NAG) official duties were laid out succinctly in the exhibition catalogue that accompanied their first ever exhibition in 1958.2 In essence, the national collection belongs to all Malaysians. It is likely, however, that more than half the population have not yet visited the gallery. The need to develop a “gallery-going” culture amongst the general populous is, in my opinion, a must. It is, however, a big challenge and remains one of the NAG’s biggest hurdles. So, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, and, in an attempt to reserve this predicament, the NAG hits back with a blockbuster exhibition: Susurmasa or, Timelines.

The exhibition spans the entire building and appears to pay homage to one of the NAG’s earlier exhibitions, RUPA MALAYSIA: Meninjau Seni Lukis Moden Malaysia. Held in 2001 and curated by the late Redza Piyadasa, the exhibition marked the gallery’s move to its current premise on Jalan Temerloh. The scale of Susurmasa is far larger than its predecessor; works span across vast temporal and cultural differences, mediums are varied, and the number of possibilities for intellectual discourse, limitless. Indeed, these elements could lend to some striking critiques on Malaysian art, thereby adding to the growing corpus of Malaysian art history. However, my essay takes a slight detour from more conventional academic routes. I divert from pure analysis of artworks to the gallery experience itself and touch on general arguments pertaining to the exhibition. This is not to be seen as a cop-out of any sort – there are reasons to justify this approach. In research for this essay, I hoped to make a comparison between RUPA MALAYSIA and the present exhibition, but found this to be very difficult; I did not attend the exhibition seven years ago and my understanding

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of the exhibition was based primarily on its catalogue. Academically, the publication served a fine purpose, but it wasn’t enough to formulate a proper comparison. Moreover, I was seeking an honest first-account of the exhibition, which its catalogue did not offer. As such, I hope this essay will serve as a brief document entailing a contemporaneous experience of Susurmasa. My arguments are not an attempt to depreciate the artworks or the gallery in any way; reversibly, I hope my points could add to its future value. Points that I will cover are the viability of a thematic approach for an exhibition of this scale, the importance of literature and contextualization, and the shortcomings of gender generalizations, as found in their section titled ‘Malayan Beauty’. I contend that if the context isn’t laid out coherently, this could slow or stagnate discourse at both academic and grassroots level. Thematic Grounds Despite the chronological hinted in the exhibition’s title, curators have decided upon a thematic approach. It

spans six central subjects - ‘Prehistoric and Indigenous’, ‘Maritime Empire and The Age of Commerce’, ‘The Illustrated News’, ‘Malayan Beauty’, ‘Iconic Works’, and ‘Contemporary and Beyond’. With the exception of one gallery, individual artworks are clustered into sub-categories, again, ignoring sequential development.3 Thematic approaches are paradoxical and prone to complications, as proven by the case of Tate Modern’s hanging in 2001. Western art history’s stringent stylistic developments, ‘-isms’ so easily separated by dates, were disregarded. Artists and critics were critical, as were academics that lamented the difficulty in teaching with the haphazard layout.4 Where does Susurmasa stand in relation to this? For one, despite this not being the NAG’s permanent hanging, it functions very much like one for the breadth of its exhibits and the fact that no space is left artless. The ground floor itself is overwhelming. At the ‘Prehistoric and Indigenous’ section, you are greeted by Burung Kenyalang on plinths and a wood-carved Ulu tribe dining set, which has been juxtaposed


5 with the industrial installation of Zulkifli Yusof’s Hikayat Pelayaran Abdullah. The latter occupies center-stage, but there is little about it that is either prehistoric or indigenous: old advertisements for Swan condensed milk, Jeyes hygienic toilet paper, Lux soap, and Gillette blades, are printed onto the crude metal material; they are emblematic of the dawn of consumerism and contrast with the text that forms the backdrop to the artwork, pages from Hikayat Abdullah that was completed in 1843. The enigma is the inclusion of works like this and others, such as Ahmad Zuraimi Abdul Rahim’s ConfrontationPower (2006) or Fadzul Yusri’s oil paintings, such as the very recently completed Grey (2008). In Grey, childlike scrawls of alphabets float across the canvas that also contains a crassly drawn figure and bicycle. Ultimately, it lacks the precision of realist representation, but surely stylistic grounds are not enough to warrant the heading of ‘Prehistoric and Indigenous’? Whilst it is good to see the NAG representing contemporaneous artists, these loose interpretations and classifications could easily be misread.5 Is the curator saying prehistoric or indigenous works are primitive and childlike? Are certain subjects, for example elephants in Ahmad Zuraimi’s

work, worthy of this classification? I am certain the curator does not intend for these conclusions, but grouping historically disparate artworks leaves gaps for these arguments. It also diminishes the religious and secular functions of the items on display. For example, the function of ceremonial masks, of which there are an abundant number, lose significance due to the lack of historical focus. ‘Maritime Empire and The Age of Commerce’ narrowly escapes this predicament. This section is split into seven sub-categories and artworks from the mid-twentieth-century to the noughties intermingle. Understandably, it is a tall order to juggle so many different elements, but the exhibition handout proposes a reading in conjunction with the larger narrative of ‘empire’; the hanging is meant to be indicative of the responses of contemporary artists to this theme.6 Marvin Chan’s portrait of a girl in a Japanese schoolgirl uniform does not necessarily hint at this, but there are some gems in this section. Landscapes, for example, form a large portion of the overall artworks. They highlight the changes in our landscape and it is a treat to see rare works, such as the unassuming watercolours by A.B. Ibrahim and A.B. Kecik.

The deluge of artworks here can be a little intimidating. The first time, I do not fully comprehend the organization and am unable to take in everything. A second visit, however, reveals many interesting facets. And, whilst I cautioned certain aspects of ‘Prehistoric and Indigenous’, there is an example in this section that defies my criticism of Susurmasa’s thematic approach. In a section on pastoral landscapes, Tan Vooi Yam’s terracotta sculpture Conversation of Object 2007 (2003-07) splits the space in half. It looks very much like a distorted human spine; it curves forcibly at the start, and as you go along, appears more horizontal, finally ending in a pile of individual ‘bones’ amidst rubble. My exhibition notes reveal my exact first thoughts: ‘I honestly don’t know what this is doing there’. The exhibition handout answers my question - in the context of this exhibition, Tan’s sculpture functions as a strait that separates the images of sea and land.7 This is a very thoughtful curatorial move, but it must be noted that the artworks are not given individual explanations. The exhibition catalogue and handout are the only sources of information for viewers - both are available only in Bahasa Malaysia.

Literature and Contextualization There is no information on the Burung Kenyalang to inform viewers of its significance to the Iban tribe, who regard it as their God of War, or its centrality to the Iban’s Gawai Kenyalang festival. American Pop artist, Robert Rauschenberg’s Yang Teragung (1989) hangs surreptitiously in the second gallery without any mention of his stint in Kuala Lumpur. O. Don Peris’ painting, Portrait of My Wife In Wedding Dress (1933), the oldest and most valuable artwork in the National Collection – placed at ‘Malayan Beauty’ and not at ‘Iconic Works’ as one would imagine – is not given further explanation. Information is also sorely missed at ‘The Illustrated News’, as it would offer viewers the historical context to better appreciate the works on display. Susurmasa’s exhibition catalogue may clear much of the confusion faced with a thematic approach or the lack of supplementary literature; understanding Malaysian art would be a much easier task. However, the fact remains that the publication isn’t likely to be purchased by every gallery-goer. Priced at RM100, it isn’t a cheap souvenir for the average person. This is not a setback, but it does reflect the importance of concise and

Hasnul Jamal Saidon. The Smiling Van Gogh And Gauguin Interactive Computer Art, 1995 BSLN 1997-005

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6 Zulkifli Mohd. Dahlan, Kedai-kedai - Shops BSLN 2006.082

it difficult to trace a linear history of art in Malaysia. Refering to Tate Modern’s 2001 hanging, the British art critic, Jonathan Jones, made a sly comparison to a much earlier and frowned-upon example, the Nazi’s Degenerate Art exhibit of 1937: ‘As with that brutish predecessor, people could go around and laugh at everything without being enabled to understand’.11

accessible handouts and wall-texts. It would be worthwhile for the NAG to consider printing handouts in different languages, or at least an English version, so information is available to everyone. English translations – in the form of wall-texts – have been made available at the beginning of each section, but it is nonsensical to expect visitors to continually return to the start to refer to information; the portable handout saves the trouble. Again, the importance of good general literature must be stressed. The NAG plays an important role in educating the general public of our nation’s art, its origins, intricacies, and context in relation to society. Which is why I was taken aback by the text accompanying the section on ‘Malayan Beauty’. No Place For Beauty Pageants So as to serve as intuitive pleasure to the eyes, we would like to share whatever we have in our collection works of diverse visual media and idioms uniquely produced by creators called men. If any of our guests or the neighbours are interested in the beauty we put on display, we offer our apology. Perhaps we shall keep your “betrothal request” in our fond memories. The “flowers in our vase” are not for sale, they are simply for visual delight. We are indeed glad you could take pleasure in the beautiful scenery in various courteous and respectful manners let be enthralled and fascinated by them. But they’re full of meanings. “Thus are created women for the world”.8

An entire section devoted to images of women already borders on being distasteful and disrespectful, but accompanied by such blatantly sexist text, fails in being objective or historically conscious. The line, ‘creators called men’, solidifies patriarchal dominance in society; I do not think female artists, such as Katherine Sim – whose portrait of Salmah (1949) hangs here – would be proud. Salmah lies in between portraits of women by Robert Lau, Mohd Hoessein Enas, and Haji Mohd Aris bin Atan, and, it is ironic that she is the only female encased behind the protective plastic shield; it accentuates her difference and seems to say the female artist’s work is not worthy of being seen in the flesh. This section houses some seminal works: Redza Piyadasa’s portrait of Two Nyonya Women (1982) from his Malaysia Series, works by Seah Kim Joo and Cheong Laitong, an entire wall devoted to the theme of Mother and Child, and Suhaida Razi’s painting of the iconic image of women training as home guards during the Darurat (200102). Themes explored in this section include the role of women in society, heritage, and cultural identity, but they disappear with the curatorial direction that demands visual exploitation of the subject matter; the important social context is overshadowed by the biased projections of sexpot and vixen. As educators and keepers of national art treasures, propagating the ideology that women are ‘flowers in a vase’ is disheartening; it is objectification and this is not why ‘women were created for the world.’ The late-twentiethcentury saw a pivotal paradigm shift in art history with the introduction of a feminist slant, a strand of thought that sought to reclaim the many gender

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injustices espoused by the dominance of modernism. One of the main exponents of feminist art history, Griselda Pollock, noted, ‘What we learn about the world and its people is ideologically patterned in conformity with the social order within which it is produced’.9 The Director of the NAG, Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa, echoes this sentiment in a recent statement given to a media, as he paid tribute to our first PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman, for founding the NAG, which functions as a reflection of the cultural values of a nation. But, why encourage these inequalities? Why air dirty linen in public? Are these the values we’d like our young to learn? To the NAG, I offer my apologies: I simply cannot mask my disappointment. Conclusion I do sympathise. A lot of responsibility has fallen on the NAG in the absence of other more focused institutions, for example, a space dedicated to contemporary or indigenous arts. As a result, the NAG is forced to negotiate a much wider selection of artworks than necessarily practical. And, as is expected, financial restraints are an issue. In a magazine interview, Dr Mohamed Najib stated, ‘the main challenge is how to accomplish so much with so little (funds) and to do it now! We are fifty years old this year… we are accountable for our “report card,” at the same time NAG must inspire and instil accountability in others to be able to uphold the flying colours of Malaysian art’.10 The flying colours of Malaysian art are indeed brilliant, as exemplified by the many artworks on display at Susurmasa. But, the non-issue of chronological development at Susurmasa does make

The pertinence of enabling viewers to understand is what sums up my thoughts of Susurmasa. With the thematic approach, the juxtaposition of artworks does encourage viewers to think independently, but these links aren’t immediately noticeable – how many viewers take the trouble to visit an exhibition more than once? Hence lies the importance of ample and accessible information. And, from an educational perspective, erring on the side of caution and avoiding generalizations would be beneficial.

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My translation. “Seni lukis melahir dan mencerminkan semangat dan keperibadian rakyat yang membangunkan sesuatu bangsa. Malaya mempunyai ramai pelukis yang sewajarnya menjadi kebanggaannya, tetapi hanya di galeri seni lukis jua orang ramai dapat melihat dan menikmati karaya mereka, dan, kecualilah karya-karya terbaik pelukis kita dibeli sebagai Koleksi Negara, karya-karya ini jarangkali dapat dilihat.” BSLN’s first exh. cat., Kuala Lumpur, 1958, as quoted by R. Piyadasa, RUPA MALAYSIA: Meninjau Seni Lukis Moden Malaysia, BSLN, Kuala Lumpur, 2001. 2 As I have written this text in English, I shall retain the abbreviation of NAG throughout. However, it appears as BSLN in bibliographic references, respecting the official publication titles of the gallery. 3 In the ‘Iconic Works’ gallery, works are arranged according to date. Painted columns separate the works according to decades, allowing viewers the opportunity to view works according to chronological development. 4 For a concise account of this, refer to J.Jones, ‘Where have you been all my life?’ The Guardian, May 2, 2006. Available at http://arts.guardian.co.uk/ features/story/0,1765512,00.html 5 I refer to a comment made by Farouk Khan – ‘(Institutional curators) would rather stick to the preapproved artists of the pioneer era’ – as reported by Suzieana Uda Nagu in ‘Culture: Unseen Contemporary Art Scene’, New Straits Times, Feb 24, 2008. 6 ‘Setiap segmen atau tema-tema kecil dalam pameran ini dikaitkan dengan naratif besar empayar. Susunan dan gantungan karya-karya terpilih adalah respon pelukis moden terhadap isu dan peristiwa yang ada kaitannya dengan naratif besar.’ Susurmasa handout, BSLN, Kuala Lumpur, 2008. 7 ‘Manakala dinding bersebelahan yang dipisahkan oleh lorong umpama selat kecil yang menempatkan keperluan hidup yang terdiri daripada sumber makanan dan ternakan yang menjadi komoditi dan bahan dagangan.’ Susurmasa handout, BSLN, Kuala Lumpur, 2008. 8 Translation provided by NAG. The text was reproduced on the wall leading to the ‘Malayan Beauty’ gallery. 9 G. Pollock, ‘Feminist Interventions in the Histories of Art’ (1988), as reproduced in E. Fernie, Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology, London, 1995, p300. 10 As quoted in Malaysian Tatler, April 2008, p222. 11 J. Jones, ‘Where have you been all my life?’ The Guardian, May 2, 2006.


7 Program Kesinambungan Hayat: Klirieng I Alizam Hassan

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alai Seni Lukis Negara atas kesedaran dan keperihatinan untuk mengekalkan wadah warisan generasi terdahulu, telah mengangkat sebuah Program Kesinambungan Hayat bersempena Pameran SUSURMASA dan Sambutan Kelahiran yang Ke 50 Tahun dengan mengukir motif-motif paku-pakis, tali, topeng hantu ke atas dua batang balak Cengal Batu berukurlilit dua pemeluk. Adiguru iaitu Bapak Jelan Asoh berumur 70 tahun dibawakan khas dari Rumah Panjang Kajaman, Long Segaham, Belaga, Sarawak bersama pembantu-pembantunya iaitu Bapak Pagang Tinyam, Bapak ShaďŹ ee Harun dan Encik Hamdani Louis. Mereka juga dibantu oleh dua orang pelatih aperantis, saudara Anwar Ghawi dan Azli Abdul Ghani.

Program telah berlangsung dari 07 April hingga 10 Mei 2008. Klirieng merupakan binaan ukiran ke atas kayu belian oleh masyarakat etnik Orang Ulu di Sarawak yang terdiri lebih daripada 25 etnik. Ianya berfungsi sebagai kuburan golongan bangsawan atau raja-raja. Klirieng diukir sedemikian rupa adalah sebagai ritual dan menghormati kematian raja-raja mereka. Motif-motif ukiran adalah seperti tumbuh-tumbuhan, paku-pakis, bentuk-bentuk binatang, buaya, naga, gong, tali, topeng orang dan ďŹ gura hantu. Kayu Belian yang berukurlilit dua hingga empat pemeluk dan berketinggian di antara 20 hingga 35 kaki adalah ukuran kebiasaan bagi sesebuah klirieng. Hal ini boleh dirujuk kepada binaan klirieng yang telah melebihi umur seratus tahun di Rumah Panjang Punan Bah, Rumah Panjang Kajaman Lasah, Long Segaham, Sungai Rejang, Sarawak. Juga boleh dilawati di Muzium Negara, Kuala Lumpur dan di Muzium Tun Razak, Kuching, Sarawak. Tulang belulang golongan bangsawan atau raja yang telah meninggal dunia akan dipisahkan dari daging si mati dan akan dimasukkan ke dalam tajau (pasu) dan kemudiannya diletakkan ke dalam lubang kayu di bahagian atas / puncak klirieng dan ditutupi dengan batu hampar berketebalan setengah kaki. Upacara meletakkan tajau ini dibuat setelah proses mengukir dan menegakkan klirieng siap diusahakan secara gotong royong. Klirieng yang akan ditanam ke dalam tanah perlu juga ditanam bersama-sama hamba perempuan atau lelaki kepada raja tersebut. Mutakhir ini, pembuatan klirieng tidak diusahakan secara ritual seperti asalnya kerana didepani oleh arus pemodenan iaitu keyakinan beragama (Islamisasi dan kristianiti) oleh masyarakat Orang Ulu.

Adiguru, Bapak Jelan Asoh dibawakan khas dari Rumah Panjang Kajaman, Long Segaham, Belaga, Sarawak.

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW


8 Pertandingan Seni Foto Kanak-Kanak: Wajah Jati Malaysia I Shamsul Bahari Mohamad Yusof

“Menciptakan hasil karya sebuah fotografi, dengan mata dan dirasakan melalui hati” - Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa.

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etiap bulan September sempena perayaan Bulan Kemerdekaan seperti tahun-tahun yang lalu, pertandingan Seni Lukis Kanak-kanak ExxonMobil pasti menjadi “rebutan“ golongan berkenaan. Manakan tidak, aktiviti ini seringkali menghidangkan ‘habuan yang lumayan’. Justeru, bagi memulakan momentum dimensi baru tahun ini, Balai Seni Lukis Negara (BSLN) dengan penaja utama, Exxon Mobil bersama-sama Nikon (M) Sdn. Bhd. dan Epson Trading (Malaysia) telah menganjurkan satu program julung kalinya iaitu Pertandingan Senifoto Kanak-Kanak: Wajah Jati Malaysia. Bertemakan “Wajah Jati Malaysia”, pertandingan ini bertujuan memberi penerapan nilai-nilai murni dengan “tiupan jiwa” patriotik di kalangan peserta dan khalayak. Program ini menekankan konsep potret fotografi. Ia merupakan antara pengkhususan dalam disiplin fotografi. Terlebih dahulu peserta diberi pendedahan berkaitan konsep asas potret fotografi dan cara penggunaan kamera digital model Nikon Coolpix. Apa yang menarik di dalam pertandingan ini, wajah penduduk tempatan tanpa mengira lapisan usia menjadi objek untuk dirakam. Sesuai dengan wujudnya teknologi rakaman digital, maka wajah jati yang menjadi tema ini dapat dijadikan satu garapan nostalgia pada masa akan datang.

Program yang bermula pada Julai hingga Ogos 2008 ini telah melibatkan negeri Terengganu, Perlis dan Sabah. Dianggarkan seramai 400 orang pelajar dari 60 buah sekolah merangkumi pelajar sekolah menengah dan rendah telah menyertai pertandingan ini. Kesemua peserta-peserta ini mendapat panduan daripada mentor yang terdiri daripada kakitangan BSLN dan tunjuk ajar daripada beberapa jurufoto profesional.

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Sepanjang program berlangsung, RTM dan TV9 telah membuat liputan melalui rancangan Panorama di siaran TV1 dan Adik di 9 terbitan TV9. Program ini telah dirasmikan oleh Datuk Za’bar Bin Dato Mohd Adib, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pelancongan Negeri Terengganu. Manakala majlis perasmian penutup pertandingan ini akan berlangsung pada 9 Oktober 2008 di Lobi Utama, Balai Seni Lukis Negara.

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Kategori Kategori Kategori Kategori Kategori Kategori Kategori Kategori

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Siti Nurul Aida Jusuh Nur Fazira Mohd Amin Yazlan Hasan Abd Hayat Moi Faezah Nur Ain Nabillah Yusoff Nur Asyikin Nor Farahana


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International Art Expo Malaysia

2008

The 2nd International Art Expo Malaysia 2008 promises to be a bigger and grander affair. It held at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur from November 26 to November 30. It has attracted artists, art galleries and art entrepreneurs from 23 countries displaying some 3,000 artworks taking up 140 booths. This is new record for an international art exposition in the country.

140 booths taken by art galleries, artists and art media from 23 countries.

Some 350 artists and 49 galleries will be among the exhibition. The largest foreign contingent, as was last year’s, is from South Korea, who will have 51 artists from the International Art Cooperative Organisation.

Raja Muda Perlis DYTM Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail.

The countries taking part are Britain, Cambodia, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, South Korea, Macedonia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam. Art Expo Malaysia is only the second such exposition in South-east Asia, the other being Art Singapore.

From front left: Mary Tang, Vincent Sim (Organising Chairman), Raja Muda.

Several events have been planned to make the AEM ’08 more memorable. The 10 highlights are: 1. 2.

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8. 9. 10.

Susurmasa (Timelines) 50 anniversary exhibition by the National Art Gallery Malaysia. Grandmaster Pavilion, featuring museum-class pieces by world renown Zao Wouki, Li Keran, LiHaisu and Malaysia’s own Yong Mun Sen. Advisers Arcade - Special solo exhibitions by AEM advisers Professor Chung Chen Sun, Cheak Yew Saik, Choong Kam Kow and Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa. Tribute Pavilion Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal. Henry Butcher Charity Auction Preview. A charity dinner auction to raise funds for the National Cancer Society Malaysia and the Tabung Leukaemia Lions Lyfe-Line. Launch of Documentary on the 888 Feet Precious Artwork to wish the Beijing Olympics 2008 Success, a Special Project of the AEM. Visualising Rukunegara - An interactive collaboration between visitors both local and foreign with selected artists on the five principle tenets underpinning Malaysian everyday practices. HeArt Club - Art by a group of children artistic talents. Malaysia Sculpture Now - An exhibition of the finest of Malaysian 4-D works. Art talks and demonstrations. Talk on art collecting by Datuk Dr Tan Chee Khuan and Ooi Kok Chuen, and demonstration by Macedonian artist Ilina Arsova.

Mr. Vincent Sim Tlak Choo is giving speech during VIP Preview Night.

The Patrons and Organising Chairmanxis touring the art fair on VIP Preview.

For further details, please contact: 03 7728 3677 012 2016 245 or visit: www.artexpomalaysia.com

To mark this special occasion, a 360-page commemorative book is published. The Art Expo Malaysia is under the patronage of DYTM Tuanku Raja Puan Muda Perlis, Hajjah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil.

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW


10 Review of Singapore Biennale I

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o enter into conversation with a thematic statement as concise and as multivalent as ‘Wonder’ for a biennale in Singapore, one is hard pressed to ignore the over-riding ethos that have shaped and governed a country like Singapore and how it can delimit the range of responses to a notion that is as innocent and open. Rem Koolhaas hints that this is the result of exhaustive and far-reaching developmental programming, known as Asian modernity, which has produced a nation based on a systematic constructedness, one in which newness and progress is so totalising that even its sense of history is inevitably articulated in these deterministic terms as artifice. Thus to programmatically read ‘Wonder’ as an experience that could potentially introduce an element of indeterminacy into a cultural space such as Singapore, in which randomness is completely eradicated, one cannot but feel that what is offered as ‘wonder’ in this latest incarnation of the Singapore Biennale might be a calculated experience, safely elicited from the concept’s association with chance or probability, fit for general consumption. It is not surprising that quite a number of selected works are purely optical tease, almost like magic tricks or sleight of the hand productions, designed to elicit a sense of amazement and just that. Some examples: The pretension and posturing of a floating Wittgenstein text in an aquarium tank filled with water. A sandy field stuck with little black cut outs resembling a forest of trees that was painted with colour on its flip side. The mis-translation of a light projection ‘Beware of God’, almost irrelevant in a country that (still Asian) cannot, by large, appreciate the artwork’s postmodern irony. Of course the Biennale claims to offer more.

Simon Soon

What I am interested in is an alternative reading of ‘Wonder’, which the curatorial statement invokes, promising a thematic radicalism. Reading ‘wonder’ as a verb, could suggest a provocative agency, suggesting curiosity or the ability to doubt – thus to wonder aloud is a questioning response. Interestingly enough, Malaysian works chosen for the Biennale do indeed push the envelop in this direction a little further than many of the other works. Perhaps in choosing these works, a form of curatorial displacement is unconsciously articulated, from the apolitical Singapore to the socially engaged neighbour. Positioned in close proximity, artworks by Nadiah Bamadhaj, Liew Kung Yu and Sherman Ong formed an axis that was engaging enough to challenge the prevalent lull of the apolitical aestheticism at work in the City Hall, a historical building designated for the new National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2013. Nadiah Bamadhaj’s works included her video Beyond Recognition as well as a number of her paper collages from her recent solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Surveillance. From the conscription of landscape as a textual tabula rasa through which colonial discourses are written upon (in Beyond Recognition) to the examination of Malaysian built environments as a programmatic structure that delimits the formation of specific identities (from Surveillance), Nadiah’s works vigilantly probe at the discursive labour of man upon his environment on the assumption that neutral spaces, even in nature, do not exist. Wonder in this instance is a disciplined examination of the cracks and anxiety that allows us to expose the artifice that governs our limited subjectivities.

NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

Sherman Ong, who resides in Singapore permanently, presented a video narrative, Banjir Kemarau (Flooding in the Time of Drought), which comprises of vignettes revealing a not too distant dystopian future when foreigners make up forty percent of Singapore’s population and the nation is faced with an imminent drought as water supply is running out. Structuring the conversations amongst his subjects (who never meet and whose stories develop within their own ethnic boundaries) along the formula of a patient singular static shot, he creates a theatrical stage in which the banal and the quotidian dramas are given weight. Through this gravity, he manages to weave these different strands of concerns into an absorbing account of the fluidity as well as the impasse of human relationship, as a common threat looms across the minds of the individual characters struggling to cope with living in a foreign country. Liew Kung Yu recycles his practice’s affectation of Malaysian cultural signifiers towards a cynical replication, in Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang, of a kitsch aesthetic that sought not only to amuse but also to expose the excessive garishness of our national visual language. Drawing elements of the Malaysiana into a constructed image plane, the installation regurgitates our nation’s limiting vocabulary of the spectacular in a pronouncement that intensifies the absurdity and vulgarity of such designs and through its spectacle, its ‘wonder’, exposes the ideological underpinnings of our visual culture. But this awareness of the social and the curiosity of Malaysian artists that led them towards articulating such concerns in their art are nothing new to Malaysian contemporary art. In fact one could argue that to some extent, certain methodologies and models within this discourse have already exhausted themselves in the two decade long history in local art development. But what could be its significance in the Singapore Biennale? I suspect that the impossibility of such agency in a country like Singapore could very well have been displaced curatorially, so that Malaysia could be the neighbouring cousin onto which is projected the possibilities of contestation, enactment, critique. They perform what is promised but sorely lacking in the 2nd Singapore Biennale, wonder (to doubt, to wonder aloud) as an aesthetic means to rethink and relook.


11 Relocations I

Roopesh Sitharan

T

he initiative to present Niranjan Rajah and Hasnul Jamal Saidon as part of ISEA 08 derives from the necessity to highlight the significant contributions of these artists to the development of electronic art in the South East Asia at a time when ISEA is making its debut in this region. Founded in the Netherlands in 1990, the InterSociety for the Electronic Arts (ISEA) is an international nonprofit organization fostering interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and emerging technologies. This exhibition is conceived under the sub-theme of “locating media” of ISEA 08 as the curator attempts to recall and relocate their works amidst the evolving global discourse of electronic and new media arts. Indeed this exhibition highlights the broad and concerted efforts of both artists in constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing the relationships of art, culture and technology in order to locate the emerging new media within non-western art practice, and inversely, to locate non-western electronic arts on the global platform. This exhibition fits coherently with the aims and ambitions of ISEA in expanding to become a meaningful global symposium that engages with diverse perspectives and narratives on electronic arts. The exhibition is named “relocations” to characterize the critical repositioning in the works of these artists as well as to symbolize the idea of curating new media in the constant flux of redefinitions and questioning that is apparent contemporary electronic art.

of the specificity of the video as a medium while at the same time looks at the depth of the Malay psychic. This results dynamic video works that could be located on several levels of reading and critique. It subtlety invokes lessons for cultural re-examination of Malay identity amidst the rapid technological change induced by the wave of globalization and deals with the effects of cross-cultural paradox with the introduction of telecommunication technology. Meanwhile Niranjan Rajah is a conceptual artist that made a trajectory to the Internet medium. He deals with sharp ideas of representation by carefully relocating the mainstream art practice, theory and history into the hypertext modes of representation. Through the use of multimedia technology, he reiterates the “ready made” iconic images from historical and cultural junctures to question the meaning of art. This depth of questioning is strongly rooted within his strength of knowledge in art history and theory, adding layers of meaning and context to his works.

The exhibition had online: http://www.12as12.com/relocations and offline (gallery space) presence. Although these two spaces are paradoxical and contrast in nature to each other, but these aspects are relevant in presenting the works of the artists, both conceptually and logistically. The online and offline exhibition conceived in an interdependent format through the use of webcam and online video technology. The exhibition successfully highlight the integrated efforts by Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Niranjan Rajah as they laid foundation for future New Media artist from the nonwestern part of the world-be it in the form of artistic practice or intellectual inquiry. For the exhibition catalog, please get in touch with: Gallery 12 at 03-4023 4128.

Electronic Art of Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Nirajan Rajah. A partner exhibition of ISEA08, Singapore.

Building upon the insights of visionary Malaysian artist and theorist, Ismail Zain, Hasnul and Niranjan endeavored to explore, understand and locate new media technology amidst the cultural and social realities of Malaysia and South East Asia in the mid 1990’s. The exhibition recalls the efforts of the artists by ‘relocating’ their contributions during this period within the global narrative of electronic art as well as presenting their recent works. Hasnul Jamal Saidon is a video artist who explores his medium in terms of contemporary Malay socio cultural context. He displays an acute awareness

Left: Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Fictional Dialogue Computer Animation In Video Projection On Corner of Gallery Wall 1997 Right: Niranjan Rajah, Video Reflux Website/Installation 2007

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


12

SeniArt.Info: Suara Baru Seni Kontemporari di Lembah Klang I

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eni Lukis Kontemporari kini bukan lagi hanya berpusat di bandarbandar besar dunia seni seperti New York dan London yang dikatakan ‘art centre’ malah sejak sepuluh tahun kebelakangan ini dengan meletusnya ekonomi di Asia seperti di Asia Timur, Asia Barat dan Asia Tenggara ia telah menular apa yang dikatakan dunia seni sebagai kawasan ‘periphery’ atau pinggiran seni. Malah menurut dari sumber yang dikeluarkan oleh rumah lelongan seni kontemporari Christies dan Sotheby bandaraya pasaran seni selepas New York dan London sebelum ini di tempat ketiga terletak di Paris kini telah bertukar arah ke Hong Kong dimana Paris jatuh ditangga keempat. ‘Artworld’ kini telah melangkaui sempadan geografi yang mana dahulu dianggap sebagai seni orang Barat kini lebih bersifat antarabangsa, dengan kewujudan media baru seperti internet dalam menyampaikan maklumat perkembangan seni semasa. Media atas talian atau ‘online’ seperti .com dan .net kini telah menjadi budaya popular yang baru dalam urbanisasi bagi masyarakat bandaran yang mementingkan kepantasan maklumat. Jika dahulu masyarakat hanya boleh mencapai maklumat selain berkomunikasi secara lisan, kemudian menerusi media massa secara cetak seperti suratkhabar dan majalah sebelum munculnya media elektronik secara visual dan verbal seperti radio dan televisyen. Mungkin inilah yang diperkatakan oleh Walter Benjamin dalam esei yang mengegarkan seni dan budaya pada zamannya iaitu ‘The Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ pada 1937 dimana katanya “ Penyalinan semula dengan penggunaan jentera terhadap karya seni, walaubagaimanapun kini merupakan sesuatu yang baru. Ia membuka sejarah baru dan merupakan satu lompatan ke satu era baru tetapi yang lebih mempercepatkan dan melajukan kegiatan seni.” Penulisan Benjamin dikatakan telah melangkaui zamannya sehinggakan idea-ideanya masih segar bersama seni kontemporari yang masih hidup hingga ke hari ini dengan pelbagai genregenre yang lahir dari bentuk baru seni halus seperti seni persembahan, seni pemasangan, seni video, seni digital.

Saya merasakan mungkin dari petikan di atas tadi itu juga telah menjadi sumber ilham dan insprasi bagi Warhol dalam menggunakan teknik sutera saring ‘silksreen’ ke dalam hasil karya seninya dengan menamakannya sebagai ‘fast painting’. Walaupun begitu dalam esei ini saya lebih berminat untuk mempertemukan tentang bagaimana ‘penyalinan semula’ imej yang diperkatakan oleh Benjamin tadi dan bukannya untuk dieksploitasikan oleh artis tetapi tujuannya ialah kepada masyarakat atau khalayak seni dalam ‘melajukan kegiatan seni’ disini. Bercakap tentang kelajuan kegiatan seni kita tidak boleh mengelak daripada membicarakan tentang perkongsian maklumat secara atas talian di dalam internet. Salah satu contoh enjin pencari maklumat seni bervideo adalah YouTube, disini adalah tidak perlu bagi saya untuk memperincikan mengenai siapa pengasas atau penciptanya tetapi apa yang penting adalah fungsinya dalam mendekatkan jarak melihat pameran yang terletak diberiburibu batu jauhnya dari tempat kita disini. Walaupun cara persembahan didalam paparan terutamanya dari segi pergerakan kameranya dianggap masih amatur tetapi menurut seorang artis konseptual New York iaitu Lucas Samaras yang menyatakan bahawa ‘ walaupun ia iaitu kameranya bergerak secara gerila tetapi ia lebih jujur dengan apa yang diperlihatkan kepada audien.’

Faizal Sidik

berkumpulan, kandungan di dalam SeniArt.Info meliputi juga bicara seni dan jelajah pameran bersama kurator, wacana dengan ahli akademik dan penyelidik seni, koleksi kolektor. Tidak adil sekiranya fokus SeniArt.Info terhadap aktiviti artistik seni lukis di Malaysia hanya berlegar-legar dibandaraya Kuala Lumpur dan tidak di kawasan-kawasan lain jadi disini saya menggunakan nama yang sinonim dengannya iaitu Lembah Klang iaitu kawasan bandar-bandar utama yang terletak di atas laluan Sungai Kelang seperti Hulu Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam dan sehinggalah berakhir di muaranya iaitu Klang. Lembah Klang tidak boleh disamakan dengan New York kerana mereka mempunyai pusat-pusat seni utama seperti di kawasan Chelsea, SoHo, Lower East Side dan Broklyn jadi mereka perlu kepada pembahagian-pembahagian itu. Kemampuan suara baru di era digital ini mampu untuk melajukan kegiatan seni terutamanya seni lukis kontemporari. Media digital ini bukan sekadar membuka wadah baru dan diharap ia dapat mengimbangi media penyiaran arus perdana yang lebih berminat dalam memberi ruang yang luas seluasnya kepada seni popular seperti rancangan muzik di stesen-stesen mereka. Semoga media alternatif dalam memprojekkan kegiatan seni kontemporari ini satu hari nanti akan menjadi satu siri yang dinanti-nantikan seperti juga hiburan popular yang lain.

Dalam memenuhi ketandusan media cetak seni lukis dalam menyampaikan maklumat seni terkini, ia telah mendorong pelancaran sebuah laman web info seni dalam bentuk video yang berkonsepkan seperti YouTube iaitu yang dinamakan sebagai SeniArt.Info http://www.seniart.info. Laman web yang berbentuk tv web ini memberi fokusnya empat pemain yang utama dalam dunia seni lukis itu sendiri iaitu artis, galeri, kurator dan kolektor. Walau dimanapun dunia seni itu muncul namun pemain-pemain inilah yang telah dan akan mengerakkan kitaran seni itu sendiri terutamanya yang menghidupkan enjin-enjin kegiatan dan programprogram yang berlaku di sekitar Lembah Klang. Selain pembukaan dan perasmian pameran artis secara solo atau

NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

http://www.seniart.info


13

ANDERSON & LOW Anderson & Low are currently working on a ground-breaking new body of

the concepts of identity, culture, and costume that explores a hybrid art-form involving photography, graphics, and calligraphy. This exciting new project, drawing heavily on contemporary youth culture, was colour work around

conceived and photographed in Malaysia, and is being curated and prepared for an exclusive premiere presentation

National Art Gallery of Malaysia (Balai Seni Lukis Negara) in 2009.

at the

Icons: Zulkifli Yusoff I

T

he “Icons” exhibition at WeiLing Gallery marks Zulkifli Yusof’s (b.1962) first local solo exhibition in eight years. Given his fame for pioneering installation art or the quality of his expressionistic painting and sculptures, the National Art Gallery has regularly featured his work in its thematic exhibitions. For a younger generation art audience like me, it was a chance to finally witness the full finesse of, what I would regard as, a ‘tiger’ in the jungles of Malaysian art. Reading from the handsome hardback tome launched in tandem with the show, I was duly impressed with the fact that even before graduating from UiTM, this Kedahan had already captured top prize for the National Art Gallerie’s Young Contemporaries Awards in 1988. By 1997, Zulkifli was at his prime. His magnum opus ‘Dialogue 2: Don’t Play During Maghrib’ was a colossal 16 x 20 x 10 meters mixed media installation that bought him to the prestigious 47th Venice Biennale and was shown as part of the ‘Modernities and Memories: recent works from the Islamic world’ exhibition. It was at this pinnacle of his professional international artistic career that Yusoff

Daniel Chong

made a long retreat into the gardens of Academia. His dedication to teaching at UPSI also led to another grand honor as he became the first person to be awarded the National Academic Award in the visual art category in 2007. As such, Zulklifi Yusof is a shining example of the alpha artist who actively passes on his proven skills to the younger generation. This professional sacrifice counters two major myths. One is the negative adage that those who can, do; and those who cannot, teach. The other relates to the image of the ‘avant garde’ who has to constantly rebels against any institutions and runs alone or in just in small packs. His success reflects the possibilities of making positive changes from within the system.

(Details) Zulkifli Yusof, Different Culture 2008

With this new production of 10 paintings and 6 hanging sculptures at Wei-Ling Gallery, Yusoff fully re-emerges into the savage fields of contemporary art. Can he survive or thrive as successfully as a decade before? The intelligent tiger patiently observes its prey before the kill. Over the years, Zulkifli Yusof has moved on to develop a systematic formula that follows the steps of reading, thinking, and researching before making the product (rTrP). His

(Details) Zulkifli Yusof, Dari Mata Turun Ke Hati I 2008

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


14 study of Frank Swettenham’s Malays Sketches (1895) forms the basis for a series that features a variety of icons salvaged from archival images. In their original form, historical image, texts and objects are usually left on their own gathering dust. The artist here g y thoroughly revitalizess them through h variouss

juxtapositions that can lead to readings that are both profound and comical at the same time. The unique blend of Pop, Expressionistic and modern digital graphic aesthetic the artist has concocted also explains the strong energy the paintings exude. For an p art historical reference point, imagine the Warholesque family portraits por or of Redza Piyadasa charged wi it a high with dose of Nirmala Shanmughalingam Shanmugh h or Rauschenb b Rauschenberg. De e Despite the m muted colours and the minimal presence of painterly gestures, the series ca have can un ns unsettling effecct when effects d in one viewed Pe sitting. Perhaps it is complee the complexities of composiit the compositions, or sill the way the silkscreened photos of spears,, banana ob b flower and other objects often morphed into violent abstractions. With the country’s current restless

Program

political situation and the many tumultuous effects of Industrialization and Post-Colonialism still reverberating throughout the world, it makes sense then that these paintings will not make easy living room decorations but important contributions to a healthy debate on Malaysian society and culture. Thankfully there are also the sculptures to serve as vital counterpoints. Whereas the different binaries states in the 2D paintings and their rich meanings require viewers to look actively for a sense of balance and harmony, the sculptures are calming in the simplicity of their shapes and the way they suspend in mid-air. As fascinating as it was to rediscover the many images Yusoff has uncovered, I eventually realize that these sculptures are the real icons of the show. As time moves forward and leaves all ‘famous’ people, objects, events and places behind, what is most easily passed on to the future is the essence of our past. If the 2D paintings are powerful in the way they stimulate questions on identity and memory, the 3D works seem to quietly call for us to see the world from all sides and remind us to hold on to the basic humanistic lessons of history.

In a work entitled Bobby, the text in the catalogue states that “the artist regards this painting as a warning for the Malaysian film industry, a message to wake up before history repeats itself”. On reading this, I realize that our ‘tiger’ is also facing such dangers of extinction as the digital revolution and commercial capitalistic graphics dominate our current visual environment. As open to internet research and digital media as the brave Yusoff is, this ‘tiger’ and many others have not fully embraced new media and are living in a fast shrinking jungle. The google fact is that “icons” today means tiny graphic symbols on electronic devices. More ironic was that his monumental 240 x 240 cm canvas piece was still smaller than the laser printed PVC canvas advertising his exhibition outside the gallery. It is thus clear to me that something urgent must be done before our artists and art become nothing but curiosities in a zoo. Without abandoning the challenges of reality, I hope Malaysians artists will further explore the limitless planes of cyberspace and the many opportunities for a creative existence there.

(Details) Zulkifli Yusof, Dari Mata Turun Ke Hati II 2008

BSLN I

Perasmian Susurmasa

Perasmian Majlis Pelancaran Setem Khazanah Seni Visual Negara

Program Minggu Malaysia 08

Program Merakyatkan Seni Sempena Perayaan Regatta Lepa

Program Majlis Rumah Terbuka Malaysia Tadau Kaamatan

Lokasi Tarikh

Lokasi Tarikh

Lokasi

Lokasi

Lokasi

: Balai Seni Lukis Negara : 15 April 2008

Sejak ditubuhkan pada tahun 1958, Balai Seni Lukis Negara (BSLN) berperanan sebagai penyokong dan pendukung kuat perkembangan seni lukis moden Malaysia. Bukan hanya menerusi program-program yang dianjurkannya seperti pameran dan pertandingan seni, malah menerusi usaha mengumpul, memulihara dan memperagakan karya-karya seni lukis. Bersempena dengan sambutan ulangtahun Jubli Emas 50 tahun BSLN, telah di adakan satu pameran mega iaitu SUSURMASA yang julung-julung kalinya di dalam lipatan sejarah BSLN menampilkan sebanyak 3700 koleksi dari pelbagai bidang karya untuk dipamerkan kepada khayalak. Pameran ini dipaparkan mengikut semasa iaitu era Prasejarah Dan Peribumi, Empayar Pelayaran Dan Perdagangan, Warkah Berlukis, Jelita Malaya, Karya Ikonik dan Kontemporari Dan Idea Baru.

: Balai Seni Lukis Negara : 28 Ogos 2008

Himpunan tetap Balai Seni Lukis Negara mengandungi karya terbaik pelukis tempatan dan luar Negara yang dihasilkan seawal abad ke19 hingga kini. Karya yang dipilih untuk dijadikan setem berdasarkan perwakilan kepada tema figurative dan landskap yang dipersembahkan dalam gaya seperti realisme, eksperesionisme dan kubisme. Pelukis yang diberi penghormatan untuk Majlis Pelancaran Setem Khazanah Seni Visual Negara ini adalah Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal menerusi Karya ‘Semangat Ledang’, Mendiang Datuk Chuah Thean Teng menerusi Karya ‘Musim Buah’ dan Abdul Latiff Mohidin menerusi Karya ‘Pago-Pago’. Majlis turut diserikan dengan upacara memotong kek ulang tahun Jubli Emas BSLN dan pelancaran Buku SUSURMASA.

NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

Tarikh

: Potters Fields Park, London & Galeri La Gallaria, Pall Mall, London : 30 Julai - 3 Ogos 2008

Penglibatan BSLN menerusi program Minggu Malaysia 08 di Potters Fields Park, London merupakan suatu ruang dan peluang dalam melonjakkan peranannya sebagai institusi seni yang terunggul dan sebagai satu penghormatan kepada sambutan Jubli Emas 50 tahun BSLN. Kesempatan ini turut memberi laluan kepada BSLN mengadakan pameran bertemakan ‘SEMESTA’ di Galeri La Galleria Pall Mall. Ternyata pameran ini telah berupaya meletakkan hasil karya pelukis tempatan di tahap yang lebih berprestij.

Tarikh

: Anjung Lepa, Bandar Baru II, Semporna, Sabah : 18 - 20 April 2008

Penyertaan Cawangan Promosi dan Pemasaran menerusi Program Merakyatkan Seni, sempena Perayaan Regatta Lepa ke 15 dilihat sebagai satu mekanisme yang terbaik dalam usaha untuk mempromosikan BSLN ke segenap rantau dan ragam masyarakat. Pengisian seperti pameran lukisan pelukis Sabah, permainan, interaktif dan demonstrasi seni lukis telah menjadi tarikan utama BSLN dikunjungi ramai pelawat dari pelbagai peringkat umur.

Tarikh

: Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah : 1 Jun 2008

Perayaan Majlis Rumah Terbuka Malaysia Tadau Kaamatan tahun 2008 mengetengahkan satu pesta seni dan budaya yang berteraskan perpaduan dan kebahagiaan dalam satu suasana harmoni yang kaya dengan pelbagai kesenian tradisi masyarakat Sabah, dengan dirai dan dinikmati oleh semua lapisan masyarakat. Penglibatan BSLN adalah menerusi aktiviti Pertandingan Mewarna, Seni Kolaj dan Seni Arca. Aktiviti ini, mendapat sambutan yang menggalakkan dari pengunjung yang hadir di kalangan kanak-kanak, pelajar sekolah dan ibubapa.


15 Cover Artwork : Artist

Marvin Chan

“I never really got down to write an artist statement because there is always too much to say and explain at any given time (I will much rather talk).”

To paint is a life’s choice. I think that if we were all responsible enough to make life decisions we should be able to justify our actions with what drives us. Mine is painting. For me, painting is my process of making an experience either in an emotion or a story. By placing images together and reworking them to assemble observations and thoughts on the canvas. It may not have much impact on changing the way the world thinks with the kind of exposure art can afford. But I guess we will never know for sure when, we can only plan against the arbiter, Life.

In the absence of guilt, 2008

Program Merakyatkan Seni (PMS) Majlis Rumah Terbuka Malaysia Gawai, Dayak 2008

Program Bersama Pelanggan, Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Program Festival Flora 2008

Program Apresiasi Seni dan Budaya

Lokasi

Lokasi

Lokasi Tarikh

Lokasi

Tarikh

: Stadium Perpaduan, Kuching, Sarawak : 14 Jun 2008

Mengambil pendekatan dengan Konsep Rumah Ruai adalah paparan kepada program PMS kali ini. Program ini turut memberi peluang kepada BSLN untuk mengendalikan aktiviti pertandingan Seni Arca menggunakan bahanbahan terbuang disamping aktiviti pertandingan seni lukis untuk kanak-kanak dan seni kolaj. Aktiviti ini mendapat sambutan yang menggalakkan daripada kanakkanak dan pelajar-pelajar sekolah yang datang.

Tarikh

: Padang Perdana, Kota Bharu, Kelantan : 11 - 13 July 2008

Balai Seni Lukis Negara yang diterajui oleh Bahagian Perhubungan Korporat telah mengadakan Hari Bertemu Pelanggan sempena Program Jiranku Keluargaku yang dianjurkan oleh Kementerian Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan. Bahagian Perhubungan Awam BSLN mengambil peluang ini, mendapatkan maklumbalas dari pengunjung yang berminat tentang seni, disamping menyediakan borang soal-selidik kepada orang ramai dan memberikan keterangan serta pendedahan berkaitan dengan BSLN.

: Berjaya Times Square : 28 Jun - 14 Julai 2008

Tarikh Bertemakan flora-fauna bermula pada 28 Jun hingga 14 Julai 2008 bertempat di Berjaya Times Square. Pameran ini turut didokongi dengan kerjasama pelbagai pihak lain seperti ASFON, FUJI FILM MALAYSIA dan Tourism Malaysia.

: Universiti Teknologi Petronas : 4 - 5 Ogos 2008

BSLN turut memperluaskan jaringan komunikasi ke pusatpusat pengajian tinggi menerusi penyertaan di dalam Minggu Apresiasi Seni dan Budaya yang diadakan di Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Tronoh. Usaha ini dilihat sebagai satu pendekatan yang positif kerana mempromosi dan menyerlahkan peranan BSLN kepada pelbagai kumpulan sasaran.

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


16 Activities I Contemporary Art in Schools (CAIS) Project in Sekolah Menengah Stella Maris, Jln Robertson, off Jln Pudu. Kuala Lumpur. (30th Aug to 6th September 2008) This project intends to open the door of contemporary art to students, by allowing them to experience as well as to understand the creative imagination of contemporary artists in a closer view. Ever since the popularity of Modern Art, art has evolved into two major tendencies, that is the expanding of aesthetic context (e.g. absurd, fashionable, favorable and etc) and the developing of art form (e.g. photography, film making, internet and etc) with especially the combination of art with different disciplines such as psychology, mass communication, sociology and so on, which results in the various and diverse forms of arts in creative connotation. Hence the curatorial committee has invited artists to participate in this exhibition and organize several related activities such as guided tours, artist’s presentation and art talks during the exhibition with the intention of creating an environment that reflects the contemporary art scene and a journey of humanities for the audience. The objectives of this entire project are to provide an educational platform for contemporary art and artists. The second is to create an audience participatory exhibition space and finally to encourage exchange and interaction. The significance of CAIS is valued in the method in which the next generation is reached, informed and educated about the importance of contemporary art. The project sets an atmosphere and experience unlike that of traditional gallery, but rather a location where students get to ‘coexists’ with the artworks daily, allowing them to simply engaged with the artworks on a regular basis in a familiar environment. In addition to that, a series of activities was held to provide the audience insights into the identity of contemporary art. Artists involved in this project are Ahmad Fuad Osman, Amanda Heng (Singapore) Au Sow Yee, Chang Yong Chia & Teoh Ming Wah, Chuah Chong Yong, Dean Linguey (Australia) Erica Eaton (USA), Fahmi Fadzil & Azmyl Yunor, Kok Siew Wai, Lim Kok Yong, Low Yi Chin, Ooi Kooi Hin, Shia Yih Ying, Tengku Sabri & Mastura Abdul Rahman, Vincent Leong, Wong Hoy Cheong and the Stella Maris secondary school community.

Palestine! Art exhibition 2008 Art is the expression of ideas of an individual for the other. The art works offer an opportunity to enter into an exchange with the viewer, a non verbal dialogue. Art is communication beyond the borders of language. Thus, this exhibition offers the viewer the possibility to engage in a dialogue with the artists on a particular subject, which is Palestine. The Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI) hopes that this exhibition, as an expression of Malaysian support on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 Nov 2008, will resonate in the viewers’ minds and translate into active support of the Palestinian cause in the search for justice and peace. After 60 years of dispossession, bloodshed and suffering, after 40 years of harsh Israeli military occupation, the Palestinians deserve to live as free citizens in their own viable state of Palestine, and the first step for this is an end of the Israeli occupation and siege of the West Bank and Gaza. Artists who took part are Avroco, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Azliza Ayob, Kamal Sabran, Aisyah Baharuddin, RAT, Saiful Razman, Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Rahmat Haron and many others. NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

Vivaldi-The four Seasons by Thota Tharani at Artspace, The Gallery. (2008) Art in India has always been inspired, synthesized and presented in classical, folk and contemporary styles. ARTSPACE THE GALLERY intends to exhibit the whole range and richness of Indian art while also hosting cultural activities in Malaysia and other countries in the region, including Australia and New Zealand. This inaugural show brings to Kuala Lumpur from Chennai the celebrated Indian artist-director Thota Tharani. His works allow artists, critics and connoisseurs of Indian Art and south Indian cinema and insight into the creativity Thota Tharani has injected onto the silver screen and canvas.

Pavilion KL Promotes Environmental Awareness through Recycled Art Kuala Lumpur. (10 to 14 October 2008) In an effort to promote awareness of environmental conservation, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (Pavilion KL), National Art Gallery Malaysia and The Star are proud to present an art exhibition titled “Art With A Heart 2008” – a festival using Art as a form of expression. Hence, this festival is aptly themed, “Re-creation: Art and Sustainability”. This festival proves that we can effectively communicate an important message artistically with a loving and caring attitude. Artists who took part include MistaWhy, They, Tan Hui Koon, Nuriman Manap, Khairul Shoib @ MEME, Tan See Ling, Maslin Ramly, Zila Zain, Lisa Foo and Mah SuSim. The art exhibition hosted at Bintang Circle (level 2), Pavilion KL from the 8 to 14 October 2008 features selected art pieces and sculptures of Malaysians artists and art students from four local colleges using mainly recycled materials. Their works prove that a piece of waste can be turned into something more meaningful and priceless. Art pieces displayed at the exhibition have been put on sale to help raise funds for organisations and bodies which support nature conservation and sustainable development. We would like to urge concerned organizations and individuals to donate generously by purchasing these high quality art pieces. Most of the art pieces are specially made for this festival. There was also an art competition and a contest on October 11 for children from 7 to 12 years old using mainly recycled materials. These activities are meant to raise the profile of artists in Malaysia and to promote both recycling and art development in the country.


17 National Art Gallery Publication

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TENG: Satu Penghargaan TENG: An Appreciation RM 70.00

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SUSURMASA - Senilukis Malaysia Bersama 50 Tahun Balai Seni Lukis Negara Timelines - Malaysian Art With 50 Years National Art Gallery RM 100.00

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KOLEKSI SAYA : Rahime Harun RM 70.00

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Masterpieces From The National Art Gallery Of Malaysia 2002 RM 150.00

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Bapa Seni Lukis Moden Malaysia Father Of Modern Art In Malaysia Abdullah Ariff 1904-2004 RM 120.00

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Antara Merdeka RM 35.00

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All publication can be purchased at the Gallery Shop located at National Art Gallery.

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For enquiries please email to osmi@artgallery.gov.my

ARTIST MEMBERSHIP Artist Membership is open to professional visual artists working in any media.

Coming Soon..

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


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The Passing of a Giant of Modern Malaysian Art

Datuk Chuah Thean Teng or Teng as he is known the world over, passed away peacefully on the 25th of November 2008 at his residence cum art gallery, Yahong Gallery in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. Celebrated as the Father of Modern Batik Painting, Teng shot to international prominence and put the then Malaya on the map of the art world in the late 1950’s when he single handedly transformed Batik, an indigenous craft of this region into a new form of modern fine art. Born in the province of Fujian, China in 1912, Teng came to Malaya at the age of 18 and settled on the Isle of Penang. He dabbled in many trades before deciding on becoming a visual artist. He formed the famous Penang Art Studio (1960-61) with his illustrious contemporaries the late Kuo Ju Ping and Tan Choon Ghee where they taught and shared ideas and skills with many students who went on to become well known artists today. He was honored with a rare solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1965 and was also the first Malaysian to have his artwork entitled ‘Two of a kind’ 1965 selected by UNICEF to be printed as greeting cards in 1968. A pioneer of a new approach to a timeless medium, Teng was also well known for his subject matters, which focuses exclusively on local peasants, proletariat and the charming life of kampung living. His style of painting was influenced by Pablo Picasso and later by Paul Gauguin. Since his first successful solo exhibition of his unique batik paintings in Penang in 1955 followed by Singapore (1956) and later Kuala Lumpur (1957), he has exhibited extensively oversea in countries like United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Vietnam and numerous others. The National Art Gallery of Malaysia is to honor him again as a gesture of appreciation and mark of respect to his outstanding contributions to art and culture with an exhibition entitled ‘Teng: Malaysia, My Inspiration’ which will showcase many of his early works in various mediums and his batik paintings. The exhibition is open to the public from December 2008 till February 2009. The National Art Gallery offers its deepest condolences to the family of the late Datuk Chuah Thean Teng. May God bless his soul and may he rest in peace. Malaysia has truly lost an extraordinary artist and an outstanding patriot whose ingenuity forged a visual language that combines the best of east and west, of craft and art, both indigenous and international, one that we and future generations to come can proudly claim as truly Malaysian. Datuk Chuah Thean Teng leaves behind three sons Chuah Siew Teng, Chuah Seow Keng and Choy Siew Kek who are all established artists in their own right and two daughters Eva Chuah Geh and Chuah Geh Bee. He was 96 years of age.

NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

1912 - 2008


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UTSAV 2008 Artspace, Bangsar 17 November - 31 December 2008 11pm - 7pm DRAWING THE LINE: SCULPTURES BY AMIN GULGEE Galeri PETRONAS, KLCC 25 November 2008 - 18 January 2009 10am - 8pm (closed Monday) LIMADANSATU Kebun Mimpi Gallery, Bangsar 23 November - 21 December 2008 12noon - 8pm (closed on Monday & Public Holidays) CROSSING BY YEOH KEAN THAI Shalini Ganendra Fine Art, The Private Gallery 11 December - 21 December 2008 By Appointment Only

© Artworks by 2007 Awards winner: (top) Josaia McNamara, Mapfara, Bright Eke (boom) Jignassha Ojha, Sadia Salim, Akuzuru

Commonwealth Foundaon Internaonal arts residency programme: An opportunity for arsts from Commonwealth countries to develop new skills, gain internaonal experience and share their culture.

THE YEAR THAT WAS Wei-Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur 1 December - 29 December 2008 12pm - 7pm : Monday - Friday 10am-5pm : Saturday By Appointment : Sunday

Apply online or download an applicaon form at:

www.commonwealthfoundaon.com/artrecidency Applicaon dateline 1st March 2009

Commonwealth Foundation

HERE AND NOW Pace Gallery, Petaling Jaya 12 December - 26 December 2008 11am - 7pm EXHIBITION OF SASARAN INTERNATIONAL ART WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS Exhibition Hall, Wisma SGM 21 December - 28 December 2008 11am - 6pm

The residencies aim to increase mutual understanding between people from different cultures through arsc exchange, and give up and coming arsts opportunies to learn skills that help them develop their livehoods as arst. In 2009 the Commonwealth Connecons residency programme (previously the Commonwealth Arts and Cras Awards) will enable promising visual arsts from Commonwealth countries to spend me developing their art and sharing their pracce in onother Commonwealth country.

LOCALS ONLY Gallerie TAKSU, Kuala Lumpur 15 January - 29 January 2009 10am - 6pm : Monday - Saturday By Appointment : Sunday (Closed on Public Holidays)

All professional visual arsts from Commonwealth countries are eligble to apply for the 2009 Commonwealth Connecons residency programme. For the first me photography and performance art are eligible categories. The dateline for receipt of applicaons is 1 march 2009 and six residencies, worth up to £8,000 each, will be awarded for periods of between three and nine months.

RBS-MALIHOM ARTIST-INRESIDENCE PROGRAMME EXHIBITION Royal Bank of Scotland Gallery, Penang 9 December - 18 December 2008 930am - 4.30pm : Monday - Friday (Closed on weekends)

For further informaon, please visit:

www.commonwealthfoundaon.com/artresidencies Commonwealth Connecons is part of the Culture Programme of the Commonwealth Foundaon.

Commonwealth Foundaon We are an intergovernmental organizaon supporng the work of charies, not for profit and non-governmental organisaons, culture praconers and other part of civil society in the areas of human development, culture, communies and livelihoods and governance and democracy. The Foundaon is supported by Commonwealth governments, and raises addional funds from instuons, corporate donors and individuals to support its growing work programme.

www.commonwealthfoundaon.com Culture Programme Commonwealth Foundaon Marlborough House Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HY United Kingdom

Tel + 44(0) 207930 3783 Fax+44(0) 20 7839 8157 Email e.dcosta@commonwealth.int Web www.commonwealthfoundaon.com

Commonwealth Foundation

THE 2ND PUTRAJAYA NATIONAL WATERCOLOUR COMPETITION: 2007/08 The Annexe @ Central Market 26 November - 14 December 2008 11am - 7pm

SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008


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A• No 2, Jalan Temerloh, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 53200 Kuala Lumpur. T• 603 4026 7000 F• 603 4025 4987 NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

W• www.artgallery.gov.my


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