17 February 2013

Taman Nurani @ Galeri Petronas

Being a non-Muslim hence also a non-Malay, it is sometimes difficult to understand the difference in cultural / ethnic beauty and religious symbolism.  "Taman Nurani" i.e. the garden of Eden, exhibits its works based on 4 general groups defined in seni Islam: Imitation of nature, Conception, Stylisation, and Abstraction.

Latiff Mohidin - Voyage I

Heavyweights like Syed Ahmad Jamal, Ahmad Khalid Yusof, Ilse Noor, and Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir feature prominently in this exhibition.  A large Ramlan Abdullah steel construct laid on the floor, but I was more absorbed with the metal & glass displayed on nearby pedestals, stunning sculptures that utilise material and form to induce reflection of the immaterial, in its viewers.

Ramlan Abdullah - Minaret IX

The unexpected masterpiece is Raja Zahabuddin's green boxes in a mosque, interior markings in a place of worship, that facilitates a devout's prayer and inner peace.  This deeply spiritual work celebrates the beauty of religious architecture, but infers also the importance of human participation, in the existence of religion itself.  I wonder what green boxes will I mind-map in the many churches that I have been into.

Raja Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob - Keagungan Tuhan Yang Satu (1991)

My ignorance makes it difficult to appreciate Islamic art such as those that incorporate calligraphy, but it is an unquestionable fact that the pursuit of aesthetics is perhaps, part of the journey of one's pursuit of the divine.

Sulaiman Esa - Garden of Mystery 6 (1993)

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