Author Archives: Sarah

Lines of Labour

 

For two decades, Raduan Man has perfected the art of woodcut since completing his undergraduate studies majoring in printmaking at MARA University of Technology (UiTM) in 2001.

The journey has been laborious, one that is inculcated by the rigours of technical discipline essential to the printmaking process. In printmaking, the basic method entails creating a design on a flat surface such as wood, metal, or glass known as matrix, which is then inked to transmit the image on the desired surface. This is followed by printing from the matrix that requires the application of controlled pressure such as a printing press for the mirror image of the design to be transferred onto paper or fabric.

In 2003, Raduan presented his first solo exhibition titled Fresh Markings, which consisted of works in woodcut technique on paper as well as oil and acrylic on canvas. The collection took two years to complete.

At the time, he had already experimented with transposing the carved image onto canvas instead of conventional paper and applying more than one colour, demonstrating his early attempt at modernising the woodcut medium.

Raduan’s position as a young artist then had influenced the narrative of Fresh Markings through the “assimilation of art traditions and cultural sensibilities in his work”.[i] He displayed a natural aptitude for creating innovative works early on, embedding metaphorical subject matters that are personal to him.

In 2016, a new series of abstract paintings was introduced for his 8th solo exhibition titled Raduan Man: Ascension to Abstraction that marked his first foray into pure abstraction. A prequel titled Kayangan was presented in 2021 and subsequently his most recent abstract series titled Khayalan in 2022.

As a progressive artist, Raduan also ventured into NFT art in early 2022, producing 20 artworks titled The Iconic Series and Superheroes Series. His artworks have entered the one-of-a-kind trading of non-fungible tokens, the crypto-media trend that brings ownership to the cyberspace.

 

Domestic interiors

Fast forward to 2022, Post-Contemporary Woodcut: Lines of Labour by Raduan Man is his 10th solo exhibition that celebrates the evolution of his artistic practice in woodcut technique. In honour of the modest medium, Raduan has embraced the process by creating 21 complex and sophisticated woodcut paintings in oil on canvas illustrating domestic interiors inspired by a period of isolation during the pandemic.

“In this series, my aim is to elevate the status of woodcut by eliminating the concept of editions and to create unique major artworks in the form of woodcut print and oil on canvas”, said Raduan.

Traditionally, original prints on paper are produced in the count of a limited edition with an artist’s proof. Raduan has found an ingenious solution to break the mould of conventional ways in artmaking and spearheading the unpaved path to the success of this strenuous technique.

The result is a body of mesmerising work depicting still life objects in a domestic setting, in dazzling colours and harmonious lines that create spatial perspective and tactile quality due to the repetitive relief print method. This process demonstrates the absence of direct paintbrush marks on canvas making the artworks distinctively Raduan’s.

“The soul of my work is in the matrix. It is the first point of contact for my ideas to be expressed. A regular painting can be forged but it would be complicated to replicate this body of work due to its technical demands,” explained Raduan.

In Meja Bonda, Raduan illustrates a red dining table with an array of tableware, fruits, and vegetables as well as potted plants spread across the composition. The blue background creates a soothing ambience in the painting.

“The images are based on my recollection of my mother’s house that features various household objects and its arrangements in the kitchen and dining table. I never noticed them before, but these observations become more visible during the Movement Control Order,” described Raduan.

“Meja Bonda”, Woodcut print and oil on canvas, 2018, 152cm x 152cm

 

The subject matter of domestic interiors that embraces episodes of daily lives is popular among European artists particularly Dutch painters in the 17th century such as Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675).

Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) created three oil paintings titled Bedroom in Arles depicting his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles, France where he resided for a short period of time. In a letter to his brother and art dealer Theo, he mentioned that the interior is deliberately “flattened and left out the shadows so that his picture would resemble a Japanese print.”[ii]

Raduan’s post-contemporary woodcut paintings mirror the characteristics of post-impressionism paintings through its bold lines, distorted forms, and vivid colours.

 

Democratising art

Woodcut is the ancient relief printing technique of printmaking, which originated in China from the Han dynasty that was later brought to Europe and is known to be the oldest technique to produce old master prints in the 13th century. The European woodcut technique found its way back to China and Japan in the 1930s propelling the movement’s popularisation.    

In the Asian context, woodcut is known to be a “democratic” medium as it is an effective and economical way to convey propaganda messages for political and social movements such as the dissemination of information for

independence from colonial rule, democratisation against the dictatorship, reformation of labour situation, and to campaign against environmental pollution.[iii]

Historically, “woodcut has contributed to such activisms by conveying the hardship of people, disclosing problems of societies, seeking the solidarity with other communities, and mobilising actions for better societies.”

As a medium that symbolises freedom, the history of woodcut in Asia does not only “represent agony, struggle, or propaganda — it is a history of liberation in the subjective expression of oppressed people.”[iv]

The early introduction of woodblock prints to Singapore’s art scene is attributed to the early “Wenman Gie” publications or The World of Culture and Cartoons by Dai Yunlang in 1936 as a Sunday art feature on Nanyang Siang Pau. The knowledge of woodblock print was shared with the educators of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts when it was established in 1938.[v]

In Malaysia, veteran artist Dr. Choong Kam Kow was appointed the Head of Fine Art Department at UiTM in 1970 and introduced “printmaking as a core subject like painting and sculpture in year two and year three and as a Minor area of study in final year’s syllabuses of the fine art department.”[vi]

He wrote: “…as far as I can remember, those artists who have been invited to do part-time teaching in printmaking during the initial years were Latiff Mohidin, Long Thien Shih, Carol Rotsiger and Ghafar Ibrahim. They all have made considerable contributions to the implementation of the printmaking curriculum at ITM.”

In observing the appreciation for printmaking in Malaysia, Dr. Choong described: “Over the last five decades, we have witnessed the gradual increase of groups and solos printmaking exhibitions held both in public and private art galleries with the aims to promote appreciation and recognition of modern fine prints as a unique art form. However, in the art market today, private collectors, corporations and public institutions are still very much lacking of enthusiasm in acquiring fine prints for collection. Many of them are still having the misconception that printmaking is reproduction due to its multiple editions, hence lower in value. The value appreciation rate is slow and limited as compared to painting and sculpture.”

In 2018, Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery presented a major exhibition highlighting the significance of the printmaking medium and narrative in Malaysian art titled Seni Cetakan: Sepanjang Zaman (The Art of Printmaking: Lasting Impressions). Raduan created a colossal work that was featured in the show. Titled Banjaran, the woodcut and oil on canvas work measures 8ft by 20ft (2m by 6m) and is the artist’s largest interpretation of the forest in Banjaran Titiwangsa created exclusively in woodcut technique.  

For Raduan, he aims to make an impact through his artistic endeavours. “I am constantly setting the bar high to challenge myself to create impactful works. I have arrived at a stage where I make art for my personal fulfilment. The healing nature of the process is what I enjoy most,” said Raduan.

 

References

[i] www.artfacts.net/exhibition/solo-exhibition-by-mohd-raduan-man/11780

[ii] Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0047v1962

[iii] Blaze Carved in Darkness: Woodcut Movements is Asia 1930s – 2010s, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, 2019, www.asiawoodcut2.wordpress.com

[iv] Ibid

[v] Woodcut Prints: Artistic Significance of Woodcut Prints – Heritage of Singapore Traditional Art, Ng Woon Lam, www.composition.com.sg/woodcut-prints/

[vi] Development of Malaysian Modern Printmaking Through ITM Academic Programme, Dr. Choong Kam Kow, September 22, 2021, www.malaysianprintmaking.com/post/development-of-malaysian-modern-printmaking-through-itm-academic-programme

 

Detail of “Tasik Bunian”, Woodcut print and oil on canvas, 2018, 267cm x 214cm
“Dinding Merah Jambu”, 2022, Woodcut print and oil on canvas, 61cm x 61cm
“Arnab dan Buku”, 2022, Woodcut print and oil on canvas, 152cm x 152cm
“Bunga untuk Kekasih”, 2022, Woodcut print and oil on canvas, 91.5cm x 91.5cm
Installation shot of “Post-Contemporary Woodcut: Lines of Labour by Raduan Man”
Installation shot of “Post-Contemporary Woodcut: Lines of Labour by Raduan Man”
At the opening of “Post-Contemporary Woodcut: Lines of Labour by Raduan Man” on 2 July 2022

 

 

The Garden of Perpetual Existence 

 

“The artistic capability of reinforced concrete is so fantastic — that is the way to go.” — Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012), Brazilian modernist architect 

 

The concept of Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri was conceived during Syed Fakaruddin’s six-month residency at Rimbun Dahan in Kuang, Selangor, from September 2020 until March 2021. The vibrant colour palette that dominated his preceding series of paintings, titled Tindih — displayed in a major solo exhibition that concluded his residency held at Rimbun Dahan’s underground gallery in April 2021 — is a striking contrast to his latest interpretation of nature. 

For Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri, Syed has constructed a site-specific art installation from scratch to replicate the blossoming and thriving horticulture industry that is dotted along the busy main highway of Jalan Sungai Buloh-Subang. A destination for people with green fingers, landscapers and urban planners due to the array of new flower varieties and competitive prices, the nurseries piqued Syed’s curiosity while travelling to and from Kuang.  

Sungai Buloh as the green belt for the horticulture industry, known as the Selangor Green Lane, has been established for decades. This significant agricultural legacy was developed as one of the core economic activities that shaped the identity of the historic Sungai Buloh Leprosarium.   

In this work, Syed aims to explore the stark contrast between the lush greenery of the nurseries sprawling along the Green Lane and the rapid urban development in the vicinity, particularly the construction of the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH), a mega infrastructure development to complete the Klang Valley ring of highways.   

“I was drawn to an area specifically in Sungai Buloh, where a great number of on-going construction sites and nursery plantations can be seen when one passes through. 

“Based on my observation, I see a good marriage between the two to convey my message in visualising a dystopia that could or could not take place in the near future. Either way, Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri is just a playful prediction of a new environment,” said Syed.  

Concrete nursery 

Located at Syed’s Studio Sarang Batu, on the second floor of a commercial unit at Dataran Ara Damansara in Selangor, Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri occupies approximately 1,320 sq ft (122 sq m) of space, transformed into a “brutalist concrete nursery” as the abbreviation in the title implies. 

Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri marks the first edition of Syed’s full-scale bespoke installation that features abstract plant sculptures; display units and finishing; composed of concrete, metal, wire, steel and rocks. The flooring is decorated with landscaping rocks that surround the concrete slabs that act as a walkway.   

As visitors enter the space, they are greeted by a towering six-foot by four-foot (1.8m by 1.2m) concrete sign that reads “BRU-KON-01 NURSERI” propped against the wall, that also functions as a backdrop for photo ops. The welcome area is demarcated by an existing sliding door that opens to an intimate space where a pair of customised steel benches are purposefully positioned on each side of the wall, acting as a social space for respite.   

The raw nursery is presented in a steel cage that resembles an ultramodern hothouse with agricultural technology, except that Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri does not cultivate real flowers and vegetables using hydroponic or a vertical farming system, but instead serves as a memorial based on Syed’s predicted environment of the future — much like the purpose of displaying taxidermy in a museum.  

Among the selection of 20 plant sculptures displayed in Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri are Pasak; Terompet Malaikat; Lelabah; Tetulang; Janda Bolong; Sambau; Kabong; Renek; Lidah Jin; Meranti; Rhu; Sungkai; Mata Lembu; Gerutu Pasir; Tunggul; Bangun-bangun; Akar Beluru; Tualang; Tapak Hantu; and Mawar.  

The abstract plant sculptures accentuate each plant’s elemental design. For example, Lidah Jin, or Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata), is composed of a concrete base and its sword-like stiff leaves are represented by flat steel bars.  

Similarly, the Lelabah, or Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), has deformed steel bars bent and twisted to replicate the evergreen perennial flowering plant.  

Tapak hantu, or Ghost’s Foot (Trevesia burckii), features the downward-growing inflorescence moulded in uniform pods of concrete with curved thick metal wire.  

The vernacular names are embossed on small metal sheets alongside the retail price attached to each sculpture. The metal sheet labels emulate military dog tags that serve as a form of identification.   

Syed carefully selected the unique plant species, named in Malay, as a way to preserve them in the form of relics. The idea of romanticising these plants as artefacts when greenery ceases to exist in the future world because of today’s environmental threats and irreversible ecological damage may offer comfort to the fictitious dystopian society. 

The plant sculptures are available for sale in Syed’s invented currency called the “Xcoin”. Its currency exchange rate is equivalent to RM15 per one Xcoin, or as low and/or as high as Syed determines it to be. Terompet Malaikat is priced at Xcoin 15 (RM225) while Tunggul is valued at Xcoin 10 (RM150).  

Appropriating cryptocurrency and the non-fungible token (NFT) culture, Syed’s Xcoin is self-regulated and presents itself as a tongue-in-cheek comment on the current realities of fintech and digital assets.  

A well-made steel structure displaying an eclectic assortment of “gardening apparatus and accessories” such as metal chains, wire coils, steel rods and miniature gabion sacks are neatly arranged near the entrance.  

As visitors peruse the display shelves to “shop” for plant and gardening sculptures, their senses are intensified by the sound of a construction site — drilling, hammering, sawing and welding — played on a loop in the background as well as the warm temperature of the room. The feeling of discomfort gradually increases as visitors circling the concrete nursery eventually break out in a sweat — an experience deliberately designed by Syed to further emphasise nature’s dangerous decline. The steel cage formation also gives the impression of being confined in an enclosure. 

The immersive experience defies any definitive description of Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri, except that it conveys a vital message in a thought-provoking manner. Visitors leave the space with a new perspective on the environment and at the same time feel remorseful and culpable for not caring enough for the earth.  

Bakat Muda Sezaman 2021 

Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri is a site-specific art installation by Syed in response to the Bakat Muda Sezaman (BMS) (Young Contemporaries) 2021 competition’s theme “Seni di Lokasi” (Art on Site).  Organised by Balai Seni Negara Malaysia for young Malaysian artists below the age of 35, BMS 21 invites artists to undertake the challenges of “art making in the new norm”; and “creating physical works in any suitable local site located anywhere in Malaysia” or “on-site at the National Art Gallery and its surroundings”.  

Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri is Syed’s second submission for BMS. He was a finalist in BMS 2019 with his frosted mirror installation titled Dari Mata, Turun ke Hati.   

Through Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri, Syed has cemented his role as a brilliant multi-disciplinary artist who continues to push the limitless boundaries of art-making through the innovative use of form and material.  

The public is welcome to visit Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri by appointment at Sarang Batu Studio, Ara Damansara until March this year. For more information visit Syed Fakaruddin’s Instagram account @brukon01.nurseri . 

Sarah Abu Bakar 

4 January 2022 

Bru-Kon-01 Nurseri’s six-foot by four-foot (1.8m by 1.2m) concrete sign
The bespoke installation by Syed Fakaruddin for Bakat Muda Sezaman 2021
Syed Fakaruddin’s rendition of a raw concrete nursery
“Tunggul” is priced at Xcoin 10 in Syed Fakaruddin’s invented currency, which is equivalent to RM150
Terompet Malaikat (above) and Lelabah (below)
Tualang
Mata Lembu
Gerutu Pasir
Bangun-bangun
Rhu
Tapak Hantu
Lidah Jin
Janda Bolong
Sambau
Kabong
Renek
Mawar
An eclectic assortment of gardening apparatus and accessories
Terompet Malaikat

Segaris Art Center 10th Anniversary Exhibition (2011-2021)

Delineating Progress

As Segaris Art Center marks its 10th anniversary, a special exhibition featuring over 90 Malaysian artists takes place from October 4 until 17, 2021 at Whitebox, MAP@Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

To celebrate this milestone, art enthusiasts are welcome to revel in over 100 artworks on display by artists from all segments: young and emerging, mid-career, senior and established – illustrative of Segaris Art Center’s position as a commercial gallery in the industry.

Among the artists featured in “Segaris Art Center 10th Anniversary Show (2011 – 2021)” include Agnes Lau; Ain Rahman; Hug Yin Wan; Faiz Mahdon; Kide Baharudin; Al-Khuzairie Ali; Edroger Rosili; Faisal Suhif; Jamil Mat Isa; Juhari Said; Jalaini Abu Hassan; Amron Omar; and Dato’ Tajuddin Ismail, to name but a few. 

Beginnings

Established in 2011, Segaris Art Center is a subsidiary company by UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned investment holding company of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

Conceived as “the gap-bridging entity mandated to fulfil the wealth creation for UiTM”, Segaris Art Center has evolved from featuring artworks by UiTM students and graduates to expanding its database of artists to the wider art fraternity.

Artist and academician Jalaini Abu Hassan, also known as Jai, served as a pioneering member of the board of directors until 2017 – alongside Ramlan Abdullah and Professor Dr. Ruslan Abdul Rahim, dean of faculty of art and design, UiTM who is also part of the early team that formed Segaris Art Center from concept till the actual formation (2009 to 2016).

“Segaris Art Center has a great potential for success. The gallery has the longest list of alumni-artists from many generations. I can see Segaris expanding beyond the gallery function. It is a centre (based on original purpose) of excellence in art and design. Collaborations with universities will give Segaris the advantage to be the bridge between academia and industry,” said Jai.

Professor Dr. Ruslan Abdul Rahim added: “Segaris Art Center has faced many challenges throughout its existence. The past track record can only show the promise and potential Segaris has to go the distance. There is so much more new talent to be shared with everyone and I am confident that Segaris is the entity to achieve that.”

Dato’ Maznah binti Abdul Jalil, former member of the board for UiTM (1996 to 2016) said: “It was a trying moment when Segaris Art Center was founded because as an academic institution, we were never exposed to the commercial side or industry linkages but today, I am happy to see the progress that Segaris Art Center has made.”  

The space

Anchored in Publika Shopping Gallery – “the country’s first creative retail centre integrating arts and culture with urban shopping and dining” since 2011 – Segaris Art Center is the only art gallery to stand test of time. When Publika was unveiled by Sunrise Bhd in 2010, “the art and culture theme for the project is Making Art Public or MAP”.

“Segaris Art Center plays a vital catalytic role and is a prime mover in the nascence of Publika. Segaris was the first art gallery-tenant when Publika opened as a creative hub. About 16 other art galleries followed suit but not all of them are still around today,” said Nani Kahar, social architect/ placemaking consultant and director of labDNA.  

Tucked in the corner of G4 in the “blue zone”, the gallery’s exterior attracts curious visitors with its industrial aesthetics – the gallery signage is a metal laser cut plate with a rust patina that reads “Segaris Art Center” – visibly displayed perpendicular on the expanded metal mesh at the entrance.

Upon entry, its unconventional set-up is warm and welcoming – contrary to the traditional impression of an art gallery: sterile, cold and intimidating.

The space is centred around a raw concrete structure that acts as an “open office” and above it is a mezzanine floor originally designed as a reading nook.   

Architect and art collector Ar Mohamad Pital bin Maarof of Arkitekpital / Sow & Allan Sdn. Bhd said: “The design planning of the 297sq meter space had already begun in 2010. The design brief was straightforward – to create a commercial gallery space and an art centre for discourse and learning. Hence, the theme of an ‘art foundry’ was conceived to incorporate the look of a warehouse.”

“The configuration of the space is anchored by an axis that acts as a meeting point. The discussion table is the heart of the gallery and the gallery space is split between the right wing and the front wing. The mezzanine floor offers a bird’s eye perspective of the entire space. It is intended for an intimate learning area or a resource centre but currently practicality overcomes the intention and thus the learning space is not being maximised. Over time, the function changes to suit demand.”

Segaris Art Center was featured in an architecture magazine “D+A: design and architecture” in an article called “Extrapolating A Line” by Kenneth Cheong in 2012.  

Present Day

The enthusiastic team of four behind Segaris Art Center is currently led by Mohd Nizam Rahmat, chief executive officer of UiTM Art & Design Sdn Bhd (Segaris Art Center) since 2016. With over 25 years of experience in the field of art and design, Nizam Rahmat is an award-winning graphic designer and is also a practicing artist. Prior to joining Segaris Art Center, he was the head of art management at Galeri Petronas.

Nizam Rahmat said: “Many young artists have showcased their talents, ideas and creativity through exhibitions organised by Segaris Art Center. It is an honour for us to nurture their talents and witness their career development. They are the future of Malaysian art and we encourage them to flourish in the international art scene.”

Discerning art patron, Zain Azahari, known as Pak Zain said: “An especially memorable artwork I acquired from Segaris was one by Anisa Abdullah called ‘Ketika Berdoa’. It was exhibited in 2019 at their ‘Mihrab’ group exhibition themed on mosques. Anisa’s works were already familiar to me by then. Her talent, skill and diligence are obvious and clearly evident in her artworks. ‘Ketika Berdoa’ was no different. 

“It depicts two adult female figures at a mosque, sitting next to each other in prayer, clothed in telekung, with their backs to the viewer. A small child, also in telekung, leans on one of the adults, presumably her mother. The child’s face is visible to the viewer as she stares at the mosque’s patterned carpet. In the meantime, there is an empty chair next to the child. 

“The entire scene struck a nerve for me, as it reminded me of my faith and family, especially my wife, mother, grandmother and the granddaughters my wife and I have been blessed with. All of them have played immense roles in my life.”

To date, Segaris Art Center has produced 95 art exhibitions consisting of group and solo shows as well as participations in local and international art fairs namely Art Expo Malaysia; Art Moments and Art Jakarta in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Singapore Contemporary, Singapore. Over 500 artists have displayed their artworks in exhibitions organised by Segaris Art Center throughout the years.

Pak Zain added: “I am truly impressed by the work Segaris Art Center has done especially in the last five years. They have introduced new talents and helped to showcase the artworks of young artists, many of whom have gone on to exhibit in other local galleries and internationally as well. 

“I also notice new audiences becoming interested in our local art, whenever I visit Segaris Art Center. I have no doubt Segaris Art Center’s ‘no pressure’ and unpretentious feel has something to do with it. I must congratulate Nizam and his team for the way they have managed and shaped Segaris Art Center.”

“Segaris Art Center acts as a springboard that propel the career of promising art stars. It’s through one of the group exhibitions that I discovered talents like Fadilah Karim and Syed Fakaruddin,” said Noor Mahnun Mohamed, artist and part-time lecturer in art curatorship for degree course at the Faculty of Art and Design, UiTM.

In December 2020, Segaris Art Center organised a retrospective exhibition for Fadilah Karim to commemorate a decade of her art practice called “Fadilah Karim: A Decade (2010 – 2020)”. A 180-page monograph was published in conjunction with the exhibition. 

Fadilah Karim said: “Segaris Art Center is of one of the galleries that has helped me build a career in my early days as an artist. With the support Segaris, as a young artist I was able to exhibit my work. Speaking from experience, fresh graduate artists find it difficult to exhibit in galleries because it is often by-invitation basis. Segaris Art Center is one of the galleries that introduce postgraduate artists by providing the opportunity to exhibit as a starting point to forge the path for young postgraduate artists to continue their journey in the professional art scene.”

According to Ar Mohamad Pital bin Maarof, Segaris Art Center made the “right move” by highlighting Fadilah Karim in a major exhibition. “The exhibition establishes Segaris Art Center’s role not as a ‘student gallery’ but championing visual arts in a professional and commercial manner. Fadilah Karim is popular among collectors and she is a fine example of success: from an alumnus emerging artist to being a highly sought-after name in the scene.”

For artist Syed Fakaruddin, the opportunity to exhibit his first solo exhibition in 2018 at Segaris Art Center has left an indelible mark: “The excitement of my first solo exhibition, ‘Bumi Asing’ is an unforgettable experience because Segaris Art Center is willing to give me the opportunity and confidence to produce solo works after 6 years of working in the art industry at the time.”

“In my opinion, Segaris Art Center has achieved a very proud accomplishment after 10 years of advocating the art industry and giving a new perspective to the community on modern and contemporary art in Malaysia”, added Syed Fakaruddin.

In addition to young artists, Segaris Art Center has also produced significant solo exhibitions for senior artists namely: “Dari Iraga ke Payarama by Awang Damit Ahmad” (2014); “Picturing Painting by Jalaini Abu Hassan” (2015); “Small Work by Hamir Soib” (2015); “Hidup by Daud Rahim” (2016); “Song of Eucalyptus by Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir” (2017); “Sculptures and Drawings: Between Form and Object by Ramlan Abdullah” (2017); “Ambiguity by Dato’ Tajuddin Ismail” (2018); “Monuments by Ahmad Shukri Mohamed” (2019), and more.       

“The active participation of established and senior artists in our art programmes affirm our role in connecting with the art community holistically,” said Nizam Rahmat.

Pak Zain vividly recalls an exhibition: “I particularly enjoyed opening Sharifah Fatimah’s ‘Song of Eucalyptus’ exhibition in 2017. It stood out for me for several reasons. To begin with, it was a great honour to be asked to open an exhibition by a senior artist who I greatly respect and deservedly commands a gravitas that only comes with experience, wisdom and achievement. She is also an artist possessing of a unique connection with Segaris, having graduated as the finest student from MARA’s art school pioneering group in the late 1960s. So the exhibition was a homecoming of sorts. The opening was made more delightful for me as several of my grandchildren attended it as well.”

Future

There are a handful of Malaysian art galleries that have surpassed the 10-year-old mark. Among them are Taksu Gallery that was founded in 1989; Shalini Ganendra Art Advisory was established in 1998; Wei-Ling Gallery in 2002; Richard Koh Fine Art in 2005; HOM Art Trans in 2007; G13 Gallery in 2010; and Core Design Gallery in 2011.

So, what does the future hold for Segaris Art Center? With the unyielding support from artists, stakeholders, patrons and art enthusiasts alike, the hope is for Segaris Art Center to endure the next ten to twenty years with resilience.

“I hope that Segaris will continue to support young artists to exhibit, and also hold more exhibitions and residency programs in foreign countries so that there are more ways for artists to build careers and for the gallery grow simultaneously,” said Fadilah Karim.

Syed Fakaruddin said: “I hope Segaris Art Center continues to produce quality and extraordinary exhibitions to maintain its momentum or existence as a respected gallery.”

“We hope to see Segaris Art Center grow into a museum art centre of its own. The idea to explore other departments such as conservation and art services unit; curatorial and art consultancy with more collaborations with others locally and internationally,” said Nizam Rahmat.

Dato’ Maznah binti Abdul Jalil said: “From commercialisation perspective, there is still room for improvement now that Segaris Art Center has set the benchmark. Firstly, an expansion to a premium shopping mall such as Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to create presence for the desired impact on the market.”

“Secondly, collaborations with financial institutions are advantageous. For example, Segaris Art Center’s participation in the upcoming Artober festival organised by CIMB Bank is the way forward. We have also learnt during the pandemic that we cannot operate as usual and there needs to be a change in the entire system.”

“There is much potential for Segaris Art Center to move with the times and I really hope that it will sustain its true objective at all times,” said Professor Dr. Ruslan Abdul Rahim.

“I hope Segaris continues their excellent work in surfacing new talents and educating audiences on Malaysian art. Even 86-year old experienced collectors such as myself enjoy making new discoveries! I am optimistic Segaris will grow in strength and carve itself a suitably permanent role in developing Malaysia’s art scene,” said Pak Zain.

Congratulations to Segaris Art Center on this milestone achievement.

 

Sarah Abu Bakar

3 October 2021

 

This essay was published in print as part of the Segaris Art Center 10th Anniversary Exhibition catalogue.

 

Ahmad Shukri Mohamed – In Love We Trust, Acrylic, Ink, watercolour, Soft pastel, wallpaper, old photo, salvage wood, canvas collage, printage, wood and canvas, 160cm x 112cm x 4.5cm, 2021
Aizakmal Rashid – In the rain, Oil & acrylic on canvas, Variable size, 2021
Fendy Zakri – Bluesy moon, Acrylic on canvas, 152cm x 152cm, 2021
Firdaus Ismail – Dari sudut kecil sebuah kamar, Acrylic on canvas, 78cm x 68cm, 2021
Exhibition shot
Exhibition shot
Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail –
The Garden Room I, Ceramic, acrylic and texture gel on canvas and wooden frame, 18cm x 54cm x 8cm, 2021
Fuad Arif – Love hurts, Mixed media on board, 153cm x 153cm, 2021

Constructed Realities in the Landscape Paintings of Syed Fakaruddin

 

“Only in our imagination do we live in more than two dimensions, and with its help we attempt to enliven the flatness of our image with depth. All of a sudden it may dawn on us how foolish we are, we faddists of the two-dimensional picture with our constant urge to achieve unobtainable depth.” – M.C. Escher, 1947[i]

 

“Tindih” is Syed Fakaruddin’s second solo exhibition, featuring stunning landscape paintings inspired by a trip to Pulau Kapas — a pristine island off the coast of Terengganu. Syed Fakaruddin depicts the island’s vibrant scenery using conventional techniques to create a sense of depth, imbued with his signature fuzzy effect and a sophisticated appliqué of dried oil paint – a newly acquired technique.

The 32-year-old multidisciplinary artist — known for his large-scale abstract topography paintings — will showcase his latest expressions at the underground gallery of Rimbun Dahan in Kuang, Selangor, from March 27 to April 11 to mark the completion of his six-month residency. A series of work stimulated during this period is also part of “Tindih”.

Tajuk ‘Tindih’ sesuai dengan konsep dan idea yang saya ingin tonjolkan dalam solo saya kali ini.  Eksplorasi tiga lapisan dalam lukisan: background, middle ground and foreground,” says Syed Fakaruddin. (“The title ‘Tindih’ (Overlap) is in accordance with the concepts and ideas that I want to highlight in my solo exhibition this time. The exploration of three layers of painting: background, middle ground and foreground.”)

The main leitmotif featuring the kaleidoscopic coral reefs of Pulau Kapas is illustrated in the foreground of the landscape, enticing viewers to examine the painting more closely. Syed Fakaruddin experiments with the impasto technique as a discrete “colour study” before applying the dried paint to the canvas to form the tactile quality of coral reefs.

The vast ocean illustrated in the middle ground of the panorama is in his distinctive ‘out-of-focus’ style — a technique he developed in his first solo show titled Bumi Asing (2018) — while the sky in the background is depicted using a classic wash technique.

As a result, each overlapping layer, with varying temperatures of colour, clarity and consistency adds an illusionary perspective to the seascape.

Pulau Kapas

“I visited Pulau Kapas with friends some days prior to commencing my residency programme at Rimbun Dahan. I took photographs and collected data to work on this new series. So, the memory of the trip was still fresh in my mind when I arrived here,” says Syed Fakaruddin.

Throughout the Movement Control Order period, while he was in Rimbun Dahan, the artist focused his energy on inventiveness and being productive, which has yielded a remarkable outcome. Works such as “Kapas: Terasing”, “Kapas: Sekawan” and “Kapas: Tebing Tajam”, which measure 1.5m by 2.4m, burst with arresting colour palettes and bold lines that highlight the majestic underwater marine life on an epic scale.

“The idea of this series is to reinterpret what I experienced during my time on Pulau Kapas, such as snorkelling and admiring the corals. One day, while sitting on the beach looking out into the ocean and enjoying the sea breeze, my view was interrupted by a large rock. As I observed the frame, I realised that I was looking at three things in the distance: the rock, the sea and the sky,” says Syed Fakaruddin.

Residency

By accepting the invitation to be a resident artist at Rimbun Dahan, Syed Fakaruddin joins an extensive list of local and international visual artists, writers and choreographers who have lived and worked at the private arts centre owned by architect Hijjas Kasturi and his wife, Angela. Rimbun Dahan has been welcoming artists in many disciplines since 1994.

During his residency from September last year until March, Syed Fakaruddin immersed himself in the lush tropical landscape of the sprawling of the 14-acre garden of the art space. The serene setting could not have been more conducive to work for a landscape painter.

“When I first entered the gates of Rimbun Dahan, I felt a surge of excitement. The idea of isolation with no disturbances and distractions motivated me,” says Syed Fakaruddin.

About 20 paintings pay homage to Rimbun Dahan in the exhibition. “Rimbun: Pagar Sangka” portrays the main entrance to the property, as the viewer is greeted by a dog and a wild boar — a gesture to eternalise the resident animals on the property — among other wildlife in this natural habitat.

“Rimbun: Malam Berkelipan” is inspired by an event that took place one night in the studio. A stray firefly was seen hovering around his paintings. The following night, Syed Fakaruddin explored the forest within Rimbun Dahan in search of more fireflies. There, he was amazed by the sight of the twinkling fireflies in the dark, sparking a fresh sense of wonder to create this work.

In an artwork titled “Rimbun: Kolam”, Syed Fakaruddin explains: “Landskap kolam ini tercetus apabila saya dan artis residensi yang lain beberapa kali minum petang bersama tuan rumah iaitu Pak Hijjas, Angela dan anaknya Bilqis. Di kawasan minum petang itu sangat menenangkan kerana terdapat kolam air hujan semulajadi yang unik dan cantik dipenuhi dengan bunga-bunga teratai, daun-daun yang besar dan panjang. Lukisan bertajuk ‘Rimbun: Kolam’ itu ialah salah satu memori penting di residensi Rimbun Dahan kerana disitulah tempat kami berkumpul dan berkongsi pelbagai cerita.” (“The pond landscape is based on several afternoon tea sessions

with the host, Pak Hijjas, Angela and their daughter, Bilqis. The afternoon tea area is very calming because there is a unique and beautiful natural rainwater pond filled with lotus flowers, the leaves are large and long. The painting titled ‘Rimbun: Kolam’ is one of the important memories in Rimbun Dahan residency because that is where we gather and share stories.”)

The main house that features the said water garden is described in Rimbun Dahan’s website: “The main house and guest house are linked by a covered loggia that overlooks the water garden and cascade to one side. The 500 square meter gallery is underground on the other side, beneath the entrance plaza. The gallery is enclosed and dehumidified, and can be air conditioned when necessary. The rest of the house relies on through ventilation and ceiling fans.”[ii]

Perspective

I was given a virtual tour of Syed Fakaruddin’s work space at Rimbun Dahan during our video call. He occupied two studios – one to accommodate his tools, materials and canvases.

During our hour-long conversation, I was struck by the orderliness of the space, with the neatly stacked paintings against the walls ready to be exhibited, months ahead of the scheduled time. This indicates Syed Fakaruddin’s qualities as an artist: earnest, meticulous and strategic.   

He walked me through every corner of his work space while explaining in detail his methods, materials and progress. Hundreds of tubes of oil paint, neatly organised on rows of shelves, had been emptied to produce a substantial number of paintings.

We talked about his artistic practice since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in fine art from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor, in 2012.

While he has been taking part in local group shows since 2009, his “ADA Show (Ara Damansara Artists)”, an exhibition at Segaris Art Center, Publika, Kuala Lumpur, in 2015 caught the interest of the art world and introduced him to the wider public.  

Syed Fakaruddin majored in sculpture but the challenges in pursuing it full-time due to costly machinery and space constraints encouraged him to explore painting.

He has exhibited several installations and sculptures in the past, including “Dari Mata, Turun ke Hati”, an installation that made him a finalist in the Bakat Muda Sezaman 2019 competition, organised by Balai Seni Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

Recently, his video titled “Apa Sudah Jadi” was one of 80 submitted by local and international artists in response to the Covid-19 pandemic for a video art exhibition titled “Stay Art Home: One Minute Video”, organised by Kapallorek Art Space in Seri Iskandar, Perak, from Feb 5 until March 18. The same frosted mirror in “Dari Mata, Turun ke Hati” is highlighted in this short 40-second video.

In January 2022, he will have a third solo exhibition as one of the five winners of the Malaysia Emerging Artist Award 2019 (MEAA2019) organised by Galeri Chandan and HOM Art Trans, Kuala Lumpur, in 2019. Apart from a cash prize and a travel grant, winners of MEAA2019 get to present a one-man show of their work.

Our conversation touches on influences. Syed Fakaruddin tells me that his work is influenced by personal experiences, memories and environment that relate to earth and nature. His approaches may vary depending on the visual narratives and expressions.

“I am influenced by Damien Hirst’s multidisciplinary practice. He has different concepts for each work while staying true to his themes of art, life and death,” says Syed Fakaruddin.

“Similarly, I have ideas to create different types of work when I reach certain phases in my life, like working towards a five-year plan.”

When Syed Fakaruddin conveys the concept of “Tindih”, he references Redza Piyadasa’s “The Great Malaysian Landscape” from 1972. The award-winning conceptual artwork illustrates how to create the ideal landscape painting — complete with text explaining the essential elements that a painting should represent. The artwork features three images in a step-by-step format of a specimen landscape work in progress and the end product.

As I thought about diverse adaptations in the contemporary art world concerning perspective, Ai Wei Wei’s “Study of Perspective” — a photographic series produced between 1995 and 2017 by the Chinese contemporary artist and activist — instantly comes to mind.

“Tindih by Syed Fakaruddin” is a celebration of his natural advancement from his multidisciplinary oeuvre, from installation art such as “Under Construction Series” (2012) and “Feel Series” (2013); to landscape painting in “Outline Series” (2015), “Soulful Series” (2016) and “Blur Painting Series” (2019). His participation in the residency programme at Rimbun Dahan has proved to be a critical chapter in his development and progression as an artist and, from the current outlook, he could be destined for greatness.

 

Sarah Abu Bakar

February 28, 2021

 

[i] #4 Graphic Artists of the Netherlands Speak of Their Work, Phoenix, Jaargang 2, Juni 1947.

[ii] Rimbun Dahan, The Main House, www.rimbundahan.org/architecture/the-main-house

 

Kapas: Ombak Badai, 2020, oil on canvas, 183cm x 183cm
Kapas: Selaman, 2020, oil on canvas, 183cm x 183cm
Kapas: Terasing, 2020, oil on canvas, 152.5cm x 244cm
Kapas: Sekawan, 2020, oil on canvas, 152.5cm x 244cm
Kapas: Tebing Tajam, 2020, oil on canvas, 152.5cm x 244cm
Detail (Rimbun: Taman Angela, 2021, oil on canvas, 122cm x 183cm)
Detail (Rimbun: Malam Berkelipan, 2021, oil on canvas, 183cm x 244cm)
Detail (Kapas: Luka Luka Kecil, 2020, oil on canvas, 152.5cm x 152.5cm)

 

 

Silent Enchantment in the Paintings of Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah

 

“The nights have always been my friend. Even as a child I had difficulty in falling asleep. I was never afraid of the dark. I would sit outside watching the stars and fireflies. I have never been afraid of being alone and never felt lonely, for God’s ministering angels are with me.” – Sharifah Fatimah[i]

 

“Tales of Solace” is Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir Barakbah’s latest visual chronicle, inspired by her past travels to the Middle East and the Balkans. Her personal stories of solace and solitude are expressed in the purest form: elegant patterns of streaks and markings of the palette knife on the canvas, spread over and across mesmerising voids in a harmonious mélange of colours.

The regal 73-year-old Grande Dame of Malaysian abstract art, who traced her ancestry to Imam Ali al-Uraidhi ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq, the brother of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kadhim during a visit to Baghdad, Iraq in 1988, has enjoyed a prolific career with many formidable accomplishments that spans five decades.

Through her extensive oeuvre, the viewer is often transported to a tranquil universe that elevates one’s spiritual being. A sense of order is restored amid the worldly chaos. The stillness of air is contained within the compositions illustrated in the colours of nature.

Fifteen artworks – created since July last year – will be on display at G13 Gallery in Kelana Square, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, from March 1 until 20, 2021. The exhibition features her distinctive celebratory-style paintings with tactile surfaces. The unique “Pattern of Dream”, for example, uses acrylic, modelling paste and eucalyptus bark, with a sensational prism of colours.

Unconventional materials

Sharifah Fatimah’s preference for media such as acrylic, modelling paste and fibre (papyrus) on canvas as a conduit to her innermost being has been established since “Risalah Dari Malaysia: An Exhibition of Paintings by Five Malaysian Artists” at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan, and the “Touch the Earth” series from her solo show at Balai Seni Menara Maybank, Kuala Lumpur, both in 1992.

Her exploration of unconventional materials and techniques continued in her exhibition “Garden of the Heart”, at NN Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, in 2007. Sharifah Fatimah incorporated collages of traditional textiles and crafts, such as woven mengkuang mats embellished with embroidery and gold leaf, to create exquisite artworks that convey an intimate narrative.

The idea of integrating eucalyptus bark into her paintings was sparked by a trip to Guangzhou, China, in 2014. She introduced the peeling bark in a series of works that was featured in an exhibition titled “Recent Works by Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah” at The Edge Galerie, Kuala Lumpur, in 2015 and later “Song of Eucalyptus”, in celebration of her golden jubilee as an artist at Segaris Art Center, Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

Self-contemplation

Sharifah Fatimah says she was taught “patience, the value of silence and solitude” by her great-grandmother, Sharifah Kamaliah al-Qadri. She describes her as “an ancient figure, astute, quiet, silence the absolute poise, balance of body mind and spirit, so calm, unshaken, dignified, reverence. She was a Sufi.”[ii]

Her great-grandmother often performed the Islamic devotional acts of zikir (remembrance of God) – repetitive utterances of short phrases glorifying God. To Sufis, “zikir is seen as a way to gain spiritual enlightenment and achieve union or annihilation in God”.

An example of fikir (contemplation) in Islam is when one reflects on the creation of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. How everything is arranged in this universe is a spectacular thought. The planets of the earth and others, countless stars, all revolve around their respective places we cannot count.

Both spiritual terms are reflected in Sharifah Fatimah’s work, which visually elucidates the notion of self-contemplation and solace that she attempts to convey.

The matriarchs in her family – grandmother, great-aunt, mother and aunt – were skilled artisans in the traditional craft of kain telepuk and tenun textile weaving.

Her mother, Rokiah Hassan, trained in tenun weaving at a palace near the Balai Besar in Alor Setar, Kedah, in the mid-1930s, while her grandmother and a great-aunt made and sold kain telepuk as a trade. Regrettably, none of their handmade telepuk was retained as a family heirloom.

“My aunt, Sharifah Sham Barakbah, made a pillow cover using the traditional technique of tekat benang emas (gold embroidery) and it is the only tekat inheritance I have. I do not have any telepuk as all works by my great-aunt and aunt were sold. It was their only source of income and my great-aunt was a single mother. They stopped producing telepuk during World War II and did not continue after [the war] due to a lack of money and patronage. I never got to know my great-aunt as I was just a child when she passed away in the early Fifties,” recalls Sharifah Fatimah.

Kain telepuk is an endangered traditional craft that was revived by woodcarving master artisan Adiguru Norhaiza Noordin in 2014. Small wooden blocks are used to stamp gold foil on textiles in floral motifs – akin to the patterns found on songket such as pucuk rebung and bunga tabur.[i]

Globetrotting

Unperturbed by the Movement Control Orders imposed to halt the spread of Covid-19, Sharifah Fatimah has been practising “work-from-home” for most of her career and is reaping the benefits in productive ways.

“The pandemic does not affect me nor my work much as I have always worked alone and do not go out much. But it has disrupted plans for overseas travel with my family and I miss the scene. So, I create a lot of recollection works of the places that I have been to, such as landscapes and the texture of the earth and caves especially,” she says.

“Faces of Postojna” depicts Postojna Cave in Slovenia, the world’s longest publicly accessible cave, which also serves as a concert hall. The cave trail is 5.3km long. “My trip to the Balkan states with family was in August 2018.”

There are three versions of “Faces of Postojna”. Two have found a permanent place in a collector’s home after being shown at Pipal Fine Art, Janda Baik, Pahang, last year.

Another distinctive series of paintings, inspired by the iridescent colours of the Rose City’s eroded quartzose sandstones and the glorious archaeological wonder of Petra – include “Floating”, “Solace”, “Standing Forms”, “Link”, “Solitude” and “Redscape”.

“My first trip to Jordan was in the autumn of 1990 to attend my friend Laila Shawa’s exhibition at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman. There, I met HRH Princess Wijdan Ali, President of the Royal Society of Fine Arts Jordan. She suggested I coordinate an exhibition of Malaysian art there. She selected five artists: Ahmad Khalid Yusof, Khalil Ibrahim, Nirmala Dutt Shanmughalingam, Ismail Latiff and myself.

“We named the exhibition “Risalah Dari Malaysia”. It was held two years later in 1992. I have visited Petra twice, in 1990 and 1992. I started painting the Petra series in 1991. Princess Wijdan is familiar with Malaysian art and included it in a major show called “Contemporary Art from the Islamic World” at the Barbican Centre, London, in 1989, organised by the Royal Society of Fine Arts,” says Sharifah Fatimah.

As a young adult, Sharifah Fatimah was actively involved in international art exchanges, organising art exhibitions of Malaysian artworks abroad in her capacity as a curator at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (1982 to 1989) and later as an art consultant, at the same time pursuing a career as an artist.

“Starting in 1990, I have coordinated several shows in Indonesia, Seychelles, Jordan, France, Germany (three shows) as well as several in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia (coordinated with Ilse Noor). I also organised “Gerak Rasa” held at the National Museum, Kuala Lumpur, in 2002. In 2006, I coordinated an exhibition called “Muhibah Seni Rupa Malaysia-Jordan” held at Galeri Shah Alam,” she says.

As part of her intense passion for genealogy and learning about her forefathers, Sharifah Fatimah discovered that her ancestors had fled Hadhramaut in present-day eastern Yemen and settled in Indonesia in the 18th century.

“Before making trips to Europe and the Middle East, my family regularly travelled to Indonesia, mostly to visit relatives and friends in Palembang, Jambi, Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Malang, Madura and Bali,” she says.

Between September 2019 and January last year, Sharifah Fatimah had a health scare. She was admitted to hospital several times and finally underwent surgery. “After my collapse in September 2019, I do not paint large-scale works. I am not as strong as before. I get exhausted easily and cannot lift heavy canvases. Hence, I am making smaller artworks now,” she says.

But that does not mean she is slowing down, soon after her recovery she was seen attending an art fair, gallery hopping and has been producing artworks, which are on show in this exhibition.

 

Sarah Abu Bakar

12 February 2021

 

[i] “Siri Khas Bengkel Online Telepuk: Workshop 2 with Norhaiza Noordin”, Langkasuka Movement, December 5, 2020, https://www.schoolandcollegelistings.com/MY/Petaling-Jaya/1082634901839447/Langkasuka-Movement.

[i] “Chasm of Light: Works of Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir”, exhibition catalogue, Artfolio Singapore, 1996, page 21.

[ii] Ibid, page 20-21.

 

Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir, Link XX, 2020, 90cm x 80cm, mixed media on canvas
Link XX in detail
Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir – Redscape I, 2020, 76cm x 61cm, mixed media on canvas

Form(s) of Prayer(s) by Paul Nickson Atia

An Act of Faith

The obsessive rendering of miniature squares serves as Paul Nickson Atia’s central motif in his latest solo exhibition entitled Form(s) of Prayer(s) at Rissim Contemporary in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur from December 19, 2019 until January 9, 2020.

Executed in Chinese ink with fine paintbrushes or tree twigs on large unprimed canvas, his subject matter and preferred paraphernalia unravel personal narratives that reflect his cerebral pursuits.

Expanding from a body of work called Obsesi that was showcased in his first solo – Jari Berlari: Tlinjuk Bi’koduh, a process-oriented presentation that featured spontaneous sketches and drawings at Rumah Lukis, Kuala Lumpur in 2018 – Form(s) of Prayer(s) pays homage to the act of orison through a series of 10 large-scale paintings.

Say grace

In an artwork titled Obsession: Reformation, there are approximately 36,000 cubes measuring a square centimetre each that covers the entire canvas surface, which measures 244cm by 152cm. Representing a prayer, each monochromatic square is marked in varying intensity that mirrors his emotional state of being at the time.

Stepping back to see the big picture, one is presented with a barrage of grids and patterns. Devoid of any specific imagery, only visions of chants, prayers or zikir are depicted in fluctuating gradients.

Nonbelievers in search of meaning may ask: can we see God? And those of us with faith, trust that the Almighty is with us.  

“The Obsession series is like a formation of a new faith and a reaffirmation of faith,” says Atia.

“I am interested in the idea of Divinity, particularly the history of the three main monotheistic traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, along with Buddhism and Hinduism. Karen Armstrong’s A History of God is a good reference point.”

Akin to the Islamic Tasbih and the Roman Catholic Rosary beads, Atia’s miniature squares can be perceived as a device used to keep count of his recited prayers. Or little boxes that contain his mood and spirit of the day.

Obsession: O, Perpetual – a colossal work that measures 152cm by 426cm – is the largest work in this series. Executed in triptych format, the conceptual framework of presenting an artwork in three panels is significant.

Historically, paintings from the 15th and 16th century by Netherlandish artists with religious context were presented in three panels and was referred to as “paintings with doors”.[i]

Scholars have noted the format’s practical functions as altarpieces and made “tacit acceptance that the format was symbolic of the Trinity.”[ii]

For Atia, Obsession: O, Perpetual provides space for contemplation within the realms of prayer. A blank rectangular shape is placed perpendicular in the centre making it a focus for devotion and contemplative prayer.

Line of symmetry

In Obsession: Cerebration I, II and III, Atia introduces vertical and horizontal lines at the lower part of the canvas in addition to the recurring miniature squares that occupy the upper section.

“This method of demarcation indicates openings or ventilation blocks,” explains Atia.

Equipped with architectural knowledge, Atia incorporates certain elements in his work to achieve the desired aesthetics. Admiring the work of renowned architect, Peter Zumthor, Atia appreciates his minimalist and atmospheric approach in designing a building.

Atia works on butter paper as part of his artistic process – a method commonly practiced when employing manual drafting technique – and scribbles inscriptions on the reverse of his canvas as a way of note-making.

“I apply the rule of thirds in my composition so that in an artwork, viewers are able to get a sense of space,” explains Atia.

In Cerebration II, the perpendicular lines on the lower section of the canvas are illustrated using tree twigs that Atia collected from his family’s orchard in his hometown Bau, a gold mining town in Kuching, Sarawak.

“Deriving from the Syzygium genus plant, the canes are used by my family to build the traditional ‘A’ frame structure for runner beans. I have been gathering the excess twigs to be used in my work for the past five years,” says Atia.

The raw treatment of the perpendicular lines acclimatizing with the markings of the tree twigs inadvertently suggests an image of a wooden cage.

As Atia progresses from one Cerebration to the next, his broad linear grids have become more refined. What we see in Obsession: Affirmation; Obsession: Reaffirmation; and Obsession: Binary offer an indication of a reactive approach.  

Running high

Relating his impelling force of the will with “the running scene” from the classic American film Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks, Atia finds himself in an identical situation as Gump.

In the movie, Gump began to run across America for three years and two months only stopping for food, sleep and the lavatory. When journalists asked him: “Why are you doing this?” Gump simply replied: “I just felt like running.”

Similarly, there is no coherent answer for “why is Atia obsessively painting tiny squares?” An unknown forceful urge within compels him to. And in so doing, relieves a sense of euphoria.

“I experience a kind of metaphysical growth when working on this series. Each square may be exactly the same size repeated in the same manner, but every one of them is different. In my mind, subconsciously, I want to create patterns,” says Atia.

Bidayuh culture

Originating from the Bidayuh community of Borneo, Atia’s cultural background exposes him to the utilitarian and agrarian crafts such as basketry and tikar kelasah, a traditional Bidayuh mat weaving using rattan and tree bark.

“Bidayuh’s craftsmanship is minimalist in style. Even our traditional costume, which mainly uses black, red, white and yellow colour is less intricate as compared with the Iban’s,” explains Atia.

Perhaps Atia’s subconscious motive is a visual memory of his childhood. His agricultural family cultivates a paddy-field and harvests rice for their consumption. Tikar kelasah is often used by the community during the drying process of the rice crop.

These “patterns” that Atia yearns to create unwittingly appear in Obsession: Facilitation and Obsession: O, Perpetual.   

In Obsession: Facilitation, the vertical rectangular format measuring 180cm by 60cm is divided equally in three parts. The miniature boxes in variable intensity are framed by three blank squares aligned precisely in the centre of the composition. These blank spaces allow viewers a moment of quiet introspection.

The obsessive execution of miniature squares is a form of prayer for Paul and so is the act of looking at them. For me, a wheel of emotions is activated with a sense of self-reflection from Atia’s visual penance.

__

[i] “Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted”, Lynn F. Jacobs, Penn State Press, 2012, page 1.

 

[ii] Ibid.

 

Link to Form(s) of Prayer(s) catalogue here.

The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong

Date: December 7 – 21, 2019

Venue: PinkGuy Gallery Bangsar, 51-1, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Soh Boon Kiong has been actively showcasing his poetic compositions in Malaysia and internationally since 1990. Presenting his solo show entitled The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong in PINKGUY gallery, Bangsar from December 7 until 21, 2019, Soh’s latest body of work encapsulates the contemporary worldview and the essence of his life.

Originally intended to be showcased in The Edge Galerie, Mont’ Kiara in July 2019, the premature closure of the gallery in May 2019 renders the plan null and void. Undeterred by the setback, Soh continued to produce a new series of elegant abstract paintings – a feast for the eyes.

When the news about The Edge Galerie’s fate (and mine) reached the tightly-knit art circle, WinSon had graciously offered me any form of alliance. Keeping his proposition in mind, in October 2019, an opportune moment arose.

Soh has been keeping me informed about the progress of his work as a way to stay in touch. At the same time, WinSon had invited me to the launch of his new space. When I proposed the idea of “seeing it through” to Soh, PINKGUY gallery is the obvious choice.

More importantly, I hope the viewers will find peace and harmony within the visual ambiances of Soh Boon Kiong’s paintings.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this, particularly to WinSon for hosting The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong in his new prime space.

Sarah Abu Bakar

 

ARTWORKS

Link to The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong‘s catalogue.

The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong

"The Fragrance of Mid-Autumn", 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 193cm by 130cm

Symphony of life

Dividing his time between Amagasaki and Kuala Lumpur, Soh Boon Kiong is stimulated by the multicoloured seasons of Japan and the lushness of tropical Malaysia. His creative oeuvre reflects the melodious rhythm of his environs. Immersing himself in the elements, his paintings radiate a kaleidoscope of colours in variable dynamics that ultimately compose a harmonious picture.

Orderly and controlled, Soh’s gestural expressions are calculated and organised in time – like an orchestra. His overall composition is highly distinctive – fluid splotches, organic brushstrokes and thoughtful drips mark his canvases in fluorescent orange, pink, and yellow with dark nuances of blue, green and red. Echoing the sounds of life, his paintings illustrate layers of quiet solitude, upbeat stride and then returning to tranquil peacefulness.

Guided by the 19th century French standard sizes for paintings, Soh’s ten artworks in The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong come in three dimensions: large (193cm by 130cm); medium (130cm by 130cm) and small (116.6cm by 91cm). Such attentiveness to detail reveals Soh’s personalities: organised, strategic and practical.

Colourful bliss
Encountering Soh’s new body of work for the first time, I am captivated by the application of colours – corresponding light and dark, thin and thick, smooth and rough. Such juxtaposition harmonises his contrasting palette with different form and shape well, resulting in fantastic treatment of space and surface.

For example, “The Fragrance of Mid-Autumn” depicts the rich autumnal colours of fall foliage in shades of yellow, orange, brown, purple, blue, red and magenta. One is able to experience the season and envisage breathing the crisp fresh air just by looking at this painting.

Portraying his oriental soul, Soh’s painting is a bridge between cultures. By incorporating Eastern sensibilities with Western artistic technique, Soh creates unique visual sanctuary that relaxes the mind and soul.

“I like to take my time when completing an artwork. I am optimistic about life and it shows in my paintings,” explains Soh.

Indeed, Soh’s positive outlook on life is aptly interpreted on canvas. Over the years, Soh’s artistic style has progressed reflecting the natural evolution in life. From softer pastel hues that characterise gentleness to richer and more intense colours to depict complexity and maturity embody this latest series of work.

In “In Praise of Elegance”, Soh combines the best of both elements seen in his past series and presently. Every gesture is premeditated in order to achieve the desired effect. For instance, if the pastel blue blobs are absent, in Soh’s mind, this painting is deemed inadequate and does not fulfil its purposes.

“My paintings may look spontaneous but they are highly organised. Even though I use dark colours in my new series, that does not convey tragedy… ,” describes Soh.

Universal painter
A multi-talented artist with international presence, Soh has been honing his craft since living and studying in Paris, France between 1988 and 1993. In 1998, he made Amagasaki, Japan his home, building a family of four with his wife and two children. Since then, he has established studios in Japan and Malaysia.

Soh’s exposure in different continents has enabled him to converse in five languages: Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Japanese, English and French. His flair for linguistics allows him to illustrate a universal language through his visual expressions.

From 2010 to 2014, Soh was a Resident Artist at the prestigious University of Malaya by the invitation of former Vice-Chancellor, Tan Sri Dr. Ghauth Jasmon. During his residency, Soh created colossal paintings that are currently hanging at the lobby of penthouse floor, Wisma R&D, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

“The Fragrance of Harmony, May – November 2011”, 2011, Acrylic on canvas, 200cm by 1000cm at the entrance lobby of the Chancellery Building, University of Malaya in 2011.

In 2018, Soh’s painting entitled The Intermingling Notes was fleetingly featured in a scene in “Crazy Rich Asians”, an American movie starring Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Constance Wu, Ronny Chieng and Ken Jeong.

In the scene “What About Your Cousin Eddie?”, Soh’s painting adorns the wall of Eddie Cheng’s (played by Ronny Chieng) penthouse in Hong Kong. This piece of information may seem insignificant. But for Soh, the experience of signing a consent letter by one of Hollywood’s biggest production companies, Warner Bros Pictures, to loan his artwork for “the highest-grossing romantic comedy film in a decade” is an honour that is rarely granted to Malaysian artists.

What comes next for Soh? His future is certainly as bright as his artworks in “The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong”. And a partnership with PINKGUY gallery will certainly enhance his profile in the Malaysian contemporary art scene.

Sarah Abu Bakar, November 2019

The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong is on display at PinkGuy Gallery in Bangsar from December 7 to 21, 2019.

Link to The Painted Rhapsody of Soh Boon Kiong‘s exhibition invitation

Drawings Matter?

Date: October 19 – November 2, 2019
Venue: HOM Art Trans, 6A, Jalan Cempaka 16, Taman Cempaka, 68000 Ampang, Selangor

Do drawings matter? This group show by 12 contemporary artists celebrates the importance of drawing as a form of artistic expression.

Drawings Matter? focuses on the technique of “drawing” as a mean of artistic expression. Expanding from the conventional sense of “drawing” – typically understood by many as pencil doodles on paper – this exhibiti on aims to gather artists to interpret its significance.

By reassessing their approach, the selected artists offer a myriad of aesthetic exploration to offer their methodical aspects of drawing. The traditional notion of “drawing” that is composed of pen, paper and lines now seem archaic yet pertinent.

Abdullah Jones

Abdullah Jones’ abstract works are witty and are a reflection of current times. A multi- media artist, Abdullah Jones is also known for his contemporary batik paintings. His solo exhibitions included Lolong (2018) and Blues Malaya (2017) at ArtCube Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions namely Batik: Evolution of Identity – A Travelling Exhibition (2019) at University of Malaya Art Gallery; Morphosis (2018) at Galeri Prima, Kuala Lumpur; Amal Insani (2017) at Balai Seni Lukis Negara, Kuala Lumpur; and Love Me and My Batik (2016) at Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, to name but a few.

Hantu Lawan Hantu #2
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #3
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #4
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #5
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #6
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #7
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #8
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Hantu Lawan Hantu #9
Pen on canvas
64 x 64 cm
2019
RM 2,800

Afiq Faris

Afiq Faris explores unconventional materials and techniques such as dry medium drawing on tissue paper, inkjet print, washed and re-fix using graphite, colour pencil, marker and acrylic on tissue paper. Each of the two artworks from his Currency series is then coated with resin on wood and canvas producing a delicate drawing yet with an everlasting quality of a sculpture.

Gaya (Balut)
Paper towel, rice paper, mixed dry drawing media, resin & paint on plywood
92 x 92 cm
2019
RM 4,000

Mutu (Menthol)
Inkjet on paper towel, acrylic, colour pencil, resin, marker & paint on plywood
92 x 92 cm
2019
RM 4,000

Keunggulan (King size)
Inkjet on paper towel, acrylic, resin & paint on plywood
92 x 92 cm
2019
RM 4,000

Agnes Lau

Agnes Lau’s concern for artmaking is process-oriented. A work with endless repetition to force the audience to experience his or her own creation of time and space. As the repeated movements have no specific definition to the audience, they can engage the works freely. However, the true meaning intended by the artist lies in the creation itself, a feeling of satisfaction when Agnes completes the task.

It is a physical ceremony in which Agnes puts visuals of lines on a surface; uses a minimum repertoire of visual elements aiming for maximum visual intensity. Language is now unnecessary. The stress in her works begins to form when she engages the pencil onto the canvas; the lines begin to create rhythmic textures – a system of its own. The endless repetition performs a ceremonial passage, which subconsciously moves forward but consciously knowing its heights and widths in relation to the surroundings.

After completing her studies at Dasein Academy of Art, Kuala Lumpur in 2015, Agnes delves into her art practice which involves the search of harmony in everyday life. The ordinary yet ignored objects or activities from daily life plays a role in her study and she tries to stimulate a reflection through art making processes. Her work lies between systematic and non-systematic processes within a determined time and space. Incorporating both the conscious and unconscious mind, she allows various forms to take place in her work, juggling between drawing, painting and printmaking on different materials.

Black Lines on White Plane
Mixed media on plywood
100 x 100 cm
2019
RM 5,600

Anas Afandi

Anas Afandi graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur in 2015. His artistic practice includes drawing, collage and painting inspired by his emotions, perspectives and experiences. Since graduating, Anas has been involved in a wide range of creative discipline such as artmaking, curating, writing, furniture making and music.

In 2019, Anas participated in a group show entitled SH/FT – A Contemporary Visual Art Exhibition by Cendana at White Box and Black Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur. In 2017, Anas worked as an assistant for Shooshie Sulaiman, who participated in the Yokohama Triennale at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan.

Analogi Alam Semulajadi
Pencil, colour pencil, ink, collage on paper
21 x 29.7cm (each)
2019
RM 2,500

Anwar Suhaimi

Multi-disciplinary artist Anwar Suhaimi obtained a Master’s degree in Fine Arts & Technology from University of Technology Mara in 2014. He is the recipient of the Jury Award, Bakat Muda Sezaman 2019 (Young Contemporary Award 2019) organised by the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.

In his practice, Anwar Suhaimi experiments with natural and artificial materials “to be in awe of the elemental nature and sciences, and to become the light itself”.

His ink on paper artwork entitled Skematik Delan Masa I,II,III was created with a clock timer instrument, picturing the anti-clockwise movement of time.

Skematic Delan Masa I,II & III
Ink on paper
69 x 58 cm (each)
2019
RM 1,200 (each)

Kua Chia Chi

Kua Chia Chi also known as CC Kua held her first solo exhibition entitled Mosquito Bite at Lostgens’ Contemporary Art Space, Kuala Lumpur in 2016. She held her second solo show wittily entitled Left a Bit, Right a Bit, Up a Bit, Down a Bit at the same venue in June 2019.

In 2019, CC Kua graduated with a Master of Fine Art from the Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of The Arts, Taiwan. She obtained her BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and Illustration from The One Academy (degree conferred by the University of Hertfordshire, UK) in 2013.

She has also participated in several group shows namely SH/FT – A Contemporary Visual Art Exhibition by Cendana at White Box and Black Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur in 2019; Walking, Road Curve, Speaking, Peeing at Whitestone Gallery, Zhongxiao, Taipei in 2018; Taipei Free Art Fair at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Taipei in 2018; Di Mana (Where Are) YOUng at National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 2017; and Conjoin: Spontaneous #1 supported by Artemis Art at Publika, Kuala Lumpur in 2014.

Escalator
Ink & colour pencil on paper
31 x 23.5 cm
2019
RM 250

December 31 in Southeast Asia
Ink & colour pencil on paper
31 x 23.5 cm
2019
RM 250

I Am Sure This Is Not That Digi Guy
Acrylic on paper
21 x 29.7cm
2016
RM 200

Frolicking
Pastel on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2016
RM 200

My Line is Not Closed
Coloured pencil on paper
35 x 50 cm
2019
RM 400

Brushing Teeth
Watercolour on paper
27 x 39 cm
2016
RM 400

Sliding Through
Ink & pastel on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 200

Human Train
Oil on canvas
20.5 x 61 cm
2019
RM 1,800

Small Banana and Big Banana
Oil on canvas
61 x 45.5 cm
2019
RM 2,500

Significant Others
Pencil & watercolour on paper
61 x 45.5 cm
2019
RM 1,800

Ho Mei Kei

Ho Mei Kei’s whimsical paintings draw inspiration from her experience teaching art and music to young children. Her playful take on the local education system is incorporated through the repetitive miniature doodles and artwork title such as Gariskan Mata Pelajaran Yang Paling Anda Gemari (10 Markah).

Mei Kei completed her Diploma in Fine Art at Dasein Academy of Art in 2016 and decided to become a full-time following her graduation. Mei Kei has been exhibiting her work locally and internationally such as in Indonesia (2017), The Philippines (2018) and Taiwan (2018). She held her first solo exhibition entitled 100 Markah = A+? at Taksu Gallery in 2018. She is also the co- founder of Studios Sama Sama, a studio space for fresh graduates to pursue their dream in becoming a professional artist. Apart from winning the Jury’s Prize for the Bakat Muda Sezaman competition (2017) and being selected again for the same competition in 2019, Mei Kei was also awarded twice for the Tanjong Heritage National Art Competition (2015 and 2016) and shortlisted twice for the UOB Painting of the Year Competition (2016 and 2017).

Skyline
Colour pencil on paper
43 x 60 cm
2019
RM 2,000

Izat Arif

Izat Arif obtained a Bachelor (Hons) in Drawing from Camberwell College of Art, London in 2012. In November 2019, his artworks will be exhibited at Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in an exhibition called Domestic Bliss alongside Vietnamese artist, Hoang Minh Duc, organised and sponsored by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Izat has also participated in numerous group exhibitions that include recent shows in 2019 such as an intimacy that allies us…. organised by Sikap Group, Singapore; Genset by Gajah Gallery at Whitebox, Publika, Kuala Lumpur; Awan & Tanah (Sisters in Islam charity show) at Cult Gallery, Bukit Tunku, and more. Izat was an Artist in Residence at the NTU-CCA Singapore from October to December 2018.

When I Die, Please Remember That I Have Done My Best, And I Would Like To Be Celebrated Every 5 Years For My Contributions
Graphite on digital print
20 cm x 28 cm (each)
2019
RM 4,200

John Lim

John Lim graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur in 2015. His work investigates cultural identity, the stereotypes of being Malaysian Chinese and his predicament on not being able to converse in his mother tongue.

John’s artwork entitled Tentang Cina (About Chinese) is a series of 23 repetitive inscription in Chinese characters that offer no meaning. It is a phonetic expression that translates as Cina belajar Cina or Chinese learning Chinese when read out loud.

John describes, “the improper translation is purposeful, it illustrates the contradiction present in my thought process.”

Tentang Cina
Ink on paper
13 x 23 cm and 14 x 24cm (set of 23)
2019
RM 500 (each)

Paiman

The social historical context of Paiman’s artworks are conveyed through various media such as installation, performance as well as documentation with illustrations. An example is his “installation drawings” exhibition titled Malaysia-365 days of 2008 at Wei-Ling Gallery in 2009.

For Drawings Matter?, Paiman presents a collage work on paper entitled Sarjan[A] Ekonomi 80+, which illustrates a whimsical portrait donning a striped Santa-like hat, a pair of spectacles with a finely trimmed mustache and a stylish “chin strap” beard. The figure is also wearing a superhero cape with a newspaper clipping as his uniform.

The artwork recounts a recent history, in which an economist who has helped the country through his experience was eventually awarded the highest university degree at the age of 81. The title “sarjan” (sergeant) indicates the subject as a leader, who is a scholar (sarjana) at the same time.

Paiman is the Minor Award recipient of the Bakat Muda Sezaman (The Young Contemporaries Award) organised by National Visual Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2002. In 1999, he was a resident artist for the Art Exchange Program at the First Fukuoka Asian Art, Japan.

sarjan[A] Ekonomi 80+
Collage on paper
21 x 14 cm
2019
RM 2,000

Noor Mahnun Mohamed

German-educated Noor Mahnun Mohamed creates tranquil figurative and still-life paintings with domestic objects to represent symbolism and geometric patterns to depict routine and discipline.

For Drawings Matter?, Noor Mahnun produces still-life drawings in watercolour and graphite featuring a citrus reamer, a colander, a glass bottle, a three-hole dressings dispenser bottle and a garden pressure sprayer. Also on display is a study of the Phalaenopsis Blume or moth orchids, depicting Noor Mahnun’s current preoccupation on botanical illustrations.

Her eleventh solo exhibition entitled Disco Lombok Still Life by Noor Mahnun at The Edge Galerie in 2017 was highly successful – propelling the demand for her artworks.

A painter, curator, writer and educationist, Noor Mahnun graduated with a Master of Fine Art from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Braunschweig, Germany in 1996.

Garden Pump & Spray Study i
Watercolour on paper
30 x 23.5 cm
2019
RM 1,800

Colander Study i
Watercolour on paper
24 x 34 cm
2019
RM 1,500

Sarsi Study i
Watercolour on paper
30 x 23.5 cm
2019
RM 1,200

Squeeze Bottle Study i
Watercolour on paper
25 x 19.5 cm
2019
RM 1,200

Squeeze Bottle Study ii
Graphite on paper
30 x 21 cm
2019
RM 750

Squeeze Bottle Study iii
Chalk on paper
30 x 21 cm
2019
RM 750

Lemon Squeezer Study i
Watercolour on paper
25 x 20 cm
2019
RM 1,200

Lemon Squeezer Study ii
Graphite on paper
30 x 21 cm
2019
RM 750

Lemon Squeezer Study iii
Graphite on paper
30 x 21 cm
2019
RM 750

Botanical Drawing Assignment 1 (Phalaenopsis O)
Watercolour on paper
30 x 23.5 cm
2019
RM 1,800

Yew Jun Ken

Yew Jun Ken graduated with a Diploma in Illustration from the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur in 2015. An independent artist seeking clarity of the mind and body, Jun Ken uses art as his main mode of expression and form of experimentation.

Jun Ken aims to create worlds out of concepts that range from the introspective philosophic to the outward-facing corporal through a variety of structures and processes. Mediums such as experimental drawings, installation, photography, sound and video collage, function as studies for these abstract complex themes.

Currently, Jun Ken also produces audio recordings under multiple aliases, incorporating his deep interest towards digital production and sampling techniques in music, serving as an extension of his artistic exploration.

pluto: and look at the infinite; citric incalculable; endless
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

mouth/hollow
Pen on paper
21 x 14.8 cm
2019
RM 400

vertebrae: a coiled policy; stop; ruminate
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

Untitled
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

quicksand
Pen on paper
21 x 14.8 cm
2019
RM 400

mantra: a cyclic cascade; always will be; in clotting
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

body/memory: I saw the shaped decoration; my generation; mourning the variable
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

atom: slight spin shivering; murmuring complexity; helix sings
Pen on paper
21 x 29.7 cm
2019
RM 700

Link to pdf