Showing posts from March, 2016

Buang Bayi @ KerbauWorks

Shika/ Shieko Reto’s art output follows a simple approach. Draw the under-represented – a transwoman’s experience of living in Malaysia, in this case – to counter prejudice. In this cosy space, Shika’s output covers the walls from floor to ceiling, and various paraphernalia accumulated over the past years are put on sale. Her illustrations draw one into a world of constant anxiety, yet the motifs carry a positive, even joyful, connotation. There is the mak ‘yam feeding her anak ikan , pills & syringes, the stool, the police & the more sinister moral police, the backs of waiting prostitutes, flying objects such as jet packs & butterflies, the unicorn, the spliced open figures of a coming-out transgender person, and the ubiquitous (and personal favourite) ‘TEBABO!’ Installation snapshot At a time when identity is a favourite subject matter among artists, Shieko’s works posit a fundamental challenge to a less common identity crisis – the one about gender . Age-ol

Siapa dia Tong Sam Pah? 我的名字哈苏丹。 You Look F**king Funny-lah! @ Richard Koh Fine Art

Looking at the tri-lingual exhibition title stuck on the shop window, one cannot accuse Liew Kwai Fei as a contemporary Malaysian artist who fails to engage his audience. There is something for everyone – written word for those illiterate to visual art, grotesque body parts for those susceptible to beauty, socio-political commentary for Facebook activists, odd-shaped canvases and frames for the art traditionalist, Velcro-d flaps for those with itchy fingers, wonderful colour contrasts for painters, clever use of positive/ negative space for illustrators, oedipal references for those philosophically inclined, art world jibes for the local art enthusiast, and even a bouncing artwork to distract passer-bys! On a console table, children can entertain themselves with Lego blocks.  Installation snapshot of Jangan Ketawa (2015) On the surface of things, the artist provides many signs aiming to subvert. Two colourful paintings hanging outside are titled ‘Shopping Class’ and ‘Working

Mapping, Khabar dan Angin @ NVAG

Balai’s ground floor galleries get refreshed with two new exhibitions – a selection of its modern art collection hangs at Galeri 1A, while Projek Dialog presents a show subtitled Excurses on Faith in Kelantan at Galeri Reka. In the former space, “Mapping” aims “…to examine the development of Malaysian art…” and is split into two parts that will continue into 2017. Typical of Balai-organised shows, its curator/ial team is not stated anywhere, as questions about re-visiting the Malaysian art canon remain unresolved. Segregated by art groups (e.g. Penang Art Group, Nanyang artists, Equator Art Society, etc.) where two works by one artist represent each group, the chronological hang echoes the approach of National Gallery Singapore’s “Siapa Nama Kamu?” , albeit in a smaller scale.  Khoo Sui Hoe – Mandi di Sungai (1965) Such mnemonic triggers, however, immediately highlight the exhibition’s inadequacies. Although the gallery opened its doors in February, some exhibits will not b

Young Malaysian Artists: New Object(ion) III @ Galeri Petronas

In this edition of Galeri Petronas’ bi-annual platform for emerging artists, the found object as art medium is associated with the experimental nature of youthful art-making , an unsophisticated assumption in this day and age. Featuring a line-up of local art school graduates, a number of exhibits fail to attract due to the individualised notions that artists assign to their medium. Meaning-making is sacrificed for immediate visual impact – one young lady is portrayed with thread and acrylic on a large canvas, a Malaysian map is constructed using sandalwood blocks, colourful cable ties make up a pair of large ears, black cloth is laid over a chair, presidents are depicted using corrugated cardboard or chicken wire, a reptilian form is arranged from parquet swatches…   [foreground] Installation snapshot of Fatin Shamira Nor Azmi - Overreact (2015)  More engaging are visual triggers that lead to current issues, such as Yau Sir Meng’s oft-exhibited education system commentary