Snippets: Q3 2013

The NAFAS art residency program offers a platform for young artists to exchange ideas, and develop their maturity within a regional art practice. Indonesians Anton Subiyanto and Rocka Radipa present interesting projects, of dream-like paintings and brass portrait etchings, respectively. Malaysian Syahbandi Samat excels in his pencil and ballpoint drawings, infusing folklore into figurative illustrations that present  contemporary concerns.

Syahbandi Samat - Sehingga (2012)

Hidden in the shadows of Petronas Twin Towers, the MIA Art Centre hosted "Theatre of Absurdities", a solo exhibition by Filipino artist Jason Montinola that features dream characters painted in a Spanish Renaissance manner. Surreal and dramatic, but confined within an academic style, Jason's dream inspirations culminate in the larger paintings of 'The Rite of Passage' and 'The Specialist'. Christian imagery and medieval horror combine in the former; In the latter - insects, demons, and the all-seeing eye, are grouped harmoniously in a small area to produce a disconcerting effect.

Jason Montinola - The Specialist (2013)

Curated by prominent film director and art collector U-wei Hj Saari, "Wajah M50 Kini" exhibits a good snapshot of a distinct demographic among Malaysian art collectors. Hossein Enas portraiture, Redza Piyadasa in-your-face, historical Syed Thajudeen, or Rosli Zakaria's bizarre metal sculpture - pick your poison. Mad Anuar Ismail's magnificent 'Perentas Ribut No.19' greets the visitor, its raw texture and forceful gesture overshadowing the Raja Shahriman erected beside it. Beyond these sculptures are plain works, which unfortunately include the heart-shaped constructs by Zulkifli Yusoff that recall Jeff Koons. Among the boredom, expert brushwork by veteran painter Raphael Scott Ahbeng draws an expressionist portrait, its garishness toned down by a lovely turquoise & maroon background.

Raphael Scott Ahbeng - Toyang (2013)

Commissioned by a German liberal foundation, "Never Ending Struggle" features actress-homeless author Mislina Mustaffa, mural and performance artist Aisyah Baharuddin, and Iman, whose delightful 6-feet hammer made of nails comment on the orthodoxy of binaries. Aisyah's 13-year output covers the entire gallery wall, an attractive arrangement of drawings, murals, and installation pieces. The sum of these parts are a sight to behold, as this retrospective of sorts narrates an artist with a feminist inclination and democratic beliefs.

Installation view of Aisyah Baharuddin's works