05 October 2013

A Journey of Self Discovery @ Nalanda Buddhist Centre

A group of notable Malaysian artists contribute their works for a fund-raising event, with half the proceeds going to the making of a documentary film. Personal conflict is inevitable in one's search for better spiritual being, a sentiment evident in the evolution of two artists. Marvin Chan continues his use of the epoxy layer, this time depicting a child's face from his 2011 "Inconsequential Consequence of Hope" series. Windows of the soul are composed in triangles, framing a rule of three for universal representation. First seen in the 2010 "Intimate Collisions" series, Kow Leong Kiang's nude pairs endure a physical struggle within a confined space. Realistic and life-sized, the charcoal illustration draws the tension in human relationships, its interpretation dependant on the hanging configuration. I remember viewing both exhibitions and being awestruck, also the first time setting foot into the best KL contemporary art galleries at that time.

Bibi Chew - Secret Garden I, II, III, IV (2012)

Beautifully crafted by Chong Kit Leong, lotus flowers made of pewter entice the viewer into an aesthetic surprise perhaps unintended. Chong Siew Ying's large painting of fireflies and jungles are typically melancholic, its visual projection denoting a passive serenity. Meaning is found in simple designs of cut-out paper, which Bibi Chew's "Secret Garden" series depicts life as stemming from the earth beneath us. Clustered words from the Heart Sutra 般若波羅蜜多心經 occupy the bare canvas of Shia Yih Yiing, her red-dominant ideograms illustrating a soothing mantra. Colourful and mesmerizing, Noor Mahnun Mohamed's lady portrait gazes at heart-shaped flowers with a deer nearby, its cryptic Buddhist references slowly unveiling to the intentional viewer. Filled with great art, the gallery space accentuates a collective goodwill, only betrayed by the ridiculous high prices of Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir's works.

Noor Mahnun Mohamed - Lanterns (2013)

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