2/16 Musings about Negaraku @ NAG

With 5 curators working within 5 broad themes, one can look past incoherent curatorship, especially when the “Negaraku” exhibition is part of a larger patriotism project. Apart from works that feature political slogans, most exhibits present little correlation to the idea of nation-states, which is a good thing. For the casual visitor, visiting the exhibition is a pleasant affair, apart from the occasional irritation felt when reading wall placards. The decision to state the age of the artist on a separate placard is odd, notwithstanding theoretical debates on when an artwork is completed. Translation is the real bugbear, as the task to render all titles into Bahasa Melayu, looked like it was done by an intern and reviewed by no one. Typos and illegible texts abound. If the presentation of art is the responsibility of the curators, then this one’s on them.

Wall text for a 1971 painting by Ibrahim Hussein – title is ‘Unknown’? Mesonit bod? Bahasa or English to name the collection it came from? Why not reveal that this is a restored mural from the sports center of Universiti Malaya?