06 December 2013

Fabrics of Society revisit @ Sasana Kijang

8 months have passed since I last visited the year-long "Fabrics of Society" exhibition, a duration coinciding with an ongoing endeavour to understand Malaysian art. A better appreciation for Khalil Ibrahim's batik emerges, his figures' sensual contours and rippling muscles drawing a vitality rarely seen in works by student Ismail Mat Hussin. 'They are Singing Hujan Tengahari at Meridien' by Ismail Zain explores repeated patterns and colour juxtapositions, its perfect symmetry invigorated by a painted waterfall gushing through the middle. Mentioned a number of times in Reactions – New Critical Strategies, pioneer photographer HRH Sultan Ismail displays a great sense of framing, best appreciated in a recently released monograph. 'Trade Tricycle' captures a scene still seen today outside Bidor's famous Pun Chun 品珍 noodle house, as the taste of wu gok and sight of petai bunches drift into mind momentarily. Photography, history; Memory, sensibility.

HRH Sultan Ismail - Trade Tricycle (1957)

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