A Space For The Other

By Veronica Shunmugam The regular gallery visitor setting foot in Galeri Petronas today will be, first of all, roused into curiosity by the colour of its now jet black walls. It’s never been anything but white, made pearly by genteel lighting. Then again, it’s never quite had a show like “The Independence Project”, now six […]

Malaysia at First Sight

By Gina Fairley “Selamat Datang ke Malaysia” is a cultural expo of sorts … on one hand playing off the clichés and truisms in how we are asked to present and think of ourselves, and on the other dismantling the structure of such prescriptions to reveal the fault-lines in such a presentation.” Valentine Willie Fine […]

Rabbits’ Eyes and Seascapes

By Gabrielle Low On January 28th, 2007, the art world’s luminaries and big-spenders converged on the Kuang estate of the architect Hijjas Kasturi and his wife Angela Hijjas. They were there to view and appraise the work of two young artists, the past year’s Rimbun Dahan artists-in-residence. The Rimbun Dahan residency programme provides its artists […]

Crossing the River

By Benjamin McKay An emerging visual artist whose work has been exhibited both in Malaysia and abroad, Yap Sau Bin represents an emerging generation of artist who attempt to fuse their local experience with a broader global understanding of contemporary visual arts practice. Having studied at the Birmingham Institute of Arts and Design at the […]

Drawing Water

By Gabrielle Low An Indonesian artist once pointed out to me the pervasiveness of visual clichés. He said that Indonesian schoolchildren, whether from Aceh or Irian Jaya, always draw the same landscape in art class: A rectangular sheet of paper, divided lengthwise by a horizon line. Rising from this horizon are two green hills, roughly […]

Protocol 101

By Gina Fairley Censorship is a contemporary issue. It is mitigated by a new set of protocols that we are negotiating globally. Goenawan Mohamad’s recent piece on Kakiseni speaks about the recent reactions to Prophet Muhammed’s cartoon representation in the popular press and I raised it recently in relation to biennales. I also discovered, cruising […]

Playing With History

By Beverly Yong As children we are told the names of things – naming is one of the earliest tools we adopt to negotiate our world. We put pictures and sounds and feelings to words, they define people and places near and far. As we grow up things named grow associations, take on deeper and […]

Fun on the Night Shift

By Lydia Chai Chapter 1: Ikat Batu at Gudang – a warehouse tucked away in suburban Damansara Jaya – was an art event instead of an art exhibition. It lasted only one night (25 November 2005) and had a festive air about it, what with a musical trio, night-long ice-sculpting, and lip-smacking kenduri complete with […]

To Dye For

By Dr Zakaria Ali [This paper was first presented at “Batik Paintings – Public Talk by Dr. Zakaria Ali” organised by Galeri PETRONAS, on the 14 December 2005.] This talk is centred on three artists: Yeong Seak Ling, Dr. Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa, and Abdul Rashid bin Abdul Razak. Through different paths they have […]

Rise From The Ruins

By John McCarry It was a lovely evening (17 Sep 2005) in Kuala Lumpur – a bit steamy, but it was the kind of steaminess that only added to my sense of anticipation. It was my first trip to Malaysia, and I am embarrassed to admit that my knowledge of Malaysian life up to that […]

In Flying Spaghetti Monster We Trust

By Zedeck Siew Zedeck Siew the Kakiseni Scatterbot trawls the internet to find interesting art and culture beyond our shores, virtual or otherwise. Flying Spaghetti Monsterism Exactly a week ago the Association of Christian Schools International filed a civil rights lawsuit against the University of California, alleging that university admissions officials are refusing to certify […]

Plug and Play

By Gabrielle Low The first part in a series documenting young Malaysian artists and their work. Gan Siong King was giving me a guided viewing of his work, which was at once a guided tour of his house because his paintings are in his kitchen, his stairwell, his living room. To exhibit the paintings to […]

Don’t Rain On My Painting

By Lydia Chai It was a very wet afternoon. Not the ideal time for a visit to the National Art Gallery. My Kiwi husband was in town and I thought I would show him the livelier side of our Balai, dropping by the Laman Seni art fair held every first Saturday of the month. There […]

Artists Without Borders

By Gina Fairley The idea of exchange is an interesting one in today’s world where technology, the internet, cheap air travel and satellite-cams deliver news directly into our Ikea-clad lounge-rooms, remove all sense of borders or isolation. As we meld together in a kind of culture-mash, gradually becoming ‘international’, what is it that remains significant […]

Return to Nature

By Dr. Zakaria Ali The newly established Alpha Utara Gallery, 83 China Street, Penang has just opened its Inaugural Exhibition, beginning the 28th of May, running to the 10th of July 2005. Khoo Sui-Ho owns the gallery, and has invited Chong Hip Seng, Eric Quah, James Sum, Tan Lye Hoe and Tang Hon Yin to […]

Bangsar Fight Club

By Tan Sei Hon Someone asked me how the latest works by Noor Azizan Rahman Paiman @ Paiman and Roslisham Ismail @ Ise at Galeri Seni Maya, Bangsar, would look like. I answered, from my recollection of past encounters, that they would probably be the usual Dadaist, Rauschenberg-like stuff or imitations of Saatchi’s stable of […]

What’s That Balai?

By Sharon Chin Shopping malls are the truly remarkable spaces of this nation. In one multi-storey complex you can get your car washed, dump your kids at daycare, take a shit, exercise at the gym, buy groceries, bring home an exotic iguana, and eat anything from nasi kandar to Seremban siew pau. And it doesn’t […]

Arts Worldwide | 2

By The Special Bunch This monthly column brings you news of arts happenings around the world. We called it ‘Cool Stuff last month. This month we are trying out ‘Arts Worldwide’.  Let us know what you think. Long and Uncut by Amir Muhammad The longest feature film ever made might just be Evolution of a […]

The Political Artist

By Carmen Nge If Wong Hoy Cheong’s exhibition at the National Art Gallery had kept to its original opening date – September 2003 – his response to the sacking and arrest of Anwar and the judicial misconduct that followed would have taken on an entirely different tone. Anwar would still be in jail; it would […]

Nakhoda Tergoda

By Hasmi Hashim Katakanlah, pameran Bakat Muda Sezaman, macam nyanyian merdu dewi laut itu. Kerana tidak mahu tergoda, demi cinta Penelope, Ulysses mengarahkan kelasinya, mengikat dia ke tiang agung. Nyanyian merdu dewi laut akan terus memerangkap setiap kapal yang lalu, dan kepada nakhoda yang tergoda akan lekas-lekas pula mengembangkan layar menuju ke arah suara. Akhirnya […]

Public Hangings

By Yelena Gluzman Galeri Petronas Many people I have spoken to say that the Malaysian art scene is in some or all ways “lacking”, and this perceived lack interests me. I am a foreigner and, as such, I view and react to Malaysian art with the tentativeness of an outsider. But I think it is […]

Koran Nyamuk

By Hasmi Hashim Katakanlah, kita akan membubuhkan nama untuk lapangan seni lukis nasional hari ini, sudah tentu ia bukan medan “Kurusetre.” Ya! Kurusetre: sebuah medan atau lapangan perang antara pasukan Pendawa lawan Kurawa, dalam puncak kisah Mahabrata – penuh tipu muslihat, kemahiran guna senjata, sebuah tragedi, busur yang melepaskan anak panah, akan hujung kisah cinta…  […]

Animal Instinct in Eden

By Tan Sei Hon “Man is categorically not the crown of all creation: every creature stands at his side, at the same stage of perfection.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Hammer of the Gods, compiled, translated and edited by Stephen Metcalf An observation put forth by an old friend some years ago: an artist who consciously works […]

The Bomoh’s Stare

By Adeline Ooi Take a journey into the primeval Malay heartland of myths, supernatural beliefs and superstitions with artist Jalaini Abu Hassan. His latest series of drawings, Mantera, is showing at Valentine Willie Fine Art until Saturday June 12. The Malay word mantera is derived from the Sanskrit mantra which translates as “a special word […]

Menacing Forms

By Adeline Ooi Walking into the side entrance of the new Westin Hotel down at Jalan Bukit Bintang, you will find yourself intimidated – and attracted – by what appears to be a large and ancient torture device perched onto the wall. Black, mettalic, and organic, with a centre that spreads out in slinky waves […]

Trash & The City

By Tan Sei Hon “This should be listed in the Malaysian book of records!” exclaimed the headwaiter of a fancy bistro located just beside Lot 10 shopping mall. He was referring to the performance art late last year by young visual artist Nuriman Amri bin Abdul Manap, a participant of Sonneratia, a youth art camp […]

Autonomy in Setapak

By Tan Sei Hon In 1997, a few Malaysian artists took over a spacious single-storey house in Setapak and turned it into their personal studio. Not just as a place to find their muse, but also their rice bowl. When not working on their art pieces, these struggling artists would be constructing bulky items for […]

They inspired Picasso, will they inspire you?

By Kakiseni You may have seen them in interior design shops around Kuala Lumpur. Slick, unusual, primitive and very contemporary at the same time, they are sculptures from Zimbabwe introduced to Malaysia by a Zimbabwean couple, Mary Jane and Charles Cormack, who wanted to share their love for their country. They are also the sculptures […]

A Survival Course For Creativity in a Hostile Environment

By Tan Sei Hon Last September, twenty five arts students met in the woods of Taman Alam in Kuala Selangor for a five day workshop entitled “sonneratia”. As a botanical aside, sonneratia is the scientific name for the ‘Berembang’ trees that grows in the wild in the mangrove forests of Kuala Selangor. It produces an […]

Life From A Child’s Perspective

By Lizzie Yeoh Recently in Galeri Petronas, an exhibition of selected photographs of Malaysia was curated by renowned Malaysian photographer, Eric Peris. The exhibition, Through the Eyes of a Child, had unknowingly become one of the most notable exhibitions of year 2003, winning praises from distinguished individuals and leading newspapers in the country. There was […]