I had a solo exhibiton in Melaka, one of the places i have grown up. The show is called ' Balik Kampung' or Going back home.
Here is some pics and text from the exhibition.
Going back Home
Balai Seni Lukis Melaka
1 December 2015 - 31 January 2016
I spent part of my life growing up in Melaka and still go back to Melaka when I am in Malaysia, because of my mother who still lives there. When I was invited by the government of Melaka to have an exhibition at the Balai Seni Melaka, Balik kampong or Going Back Home seemed to be the most natural title for a show. I am going back home - to my roots.
My occupation by the concept of home and looking for my roots has grown out of my personal history.
Balai Seni Lukis Melaka is located close to the ‘kampung’ where I grew up. One of the places we used to live was at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, close to the historical building Stadhuys, which was built by the Dutch occupants in 1650. So the area around Balai Seni Lukis is filled of my childhood memories.
Due to my mother’s employment, my brother, sisters and I lived in several different places. When I was three years old, we moved from Johor to Kelantan and by the time I was eight we moved back to Muar to live with my grandparents. After that we moved back to Melaka to live with my mother.
In Melaka alone we moved several times living and moving from Matakuching to Tun Tan Cheng Lock to Garden City to Ayer Molek and to Kandang.
After completing my High school, I moved to Perak to further my studies at the Polytechnic Ungku Omar. I stayed in there for 2 ½ years before starting a new job working in Agro Bank in Kuala Lumpur.
The bank job didn't suit me. After the minimum requirement of my working contract, I left to USA to continue my studies. I spent one and a half year in Conway Arkansas and then to Kansas City for over three years before moving back to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 27.
After hopping from one job to another, I ended up working with advertising in a public relations branches.
Feeling frustrated with my life and work, I quit my fulltime job after some years in search for a new way of life. I met the late Malaysian Pop artist Jeri Azhari the same year, and fell in love with painting. I also started to express myself by writing.
The change of ‘profession’ came as a big surprise to my family and friends. The pressure of being ‘successful’ and the competition for material gain is high in Malaysia. The expectation, such as; Who can come back ‘home’ with a bigger car during Hari Raya led me to distance myself from my own family. This distance has also brought me to question Who is my real ‘family’?
I moved to live and work in the Perhentian Island in 1998, moving back and forth to Kuala Lumpur for a period of three years. After this period I became a residence artist at Jaguar Motors Art Space in Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur in 2000.
Coming back from a few month stay at the Perhentian islands, I realized that I had lost everything that I owned in the studio, including personal belongings and all my artwork from paintings, drawings, prints, collages, assemblages, old photographs and writings. The owner had rent out the space to a businessman and they had moved all my belongings by the roadside. It went missing after 3 days being left outside. This event more or less erased my historical past and symbolized another new beginning for me.
I moved back to live with my mum in Melaka for a few months and back to Kuala Lumpur after that.
In 2002, I met my Danish wife Pia in Jogyakarta during a visit to Indonesia. We got married in Melaka a few months later, and moved to Copenhagen where we have been based since.
These constant moves - physically and mentally have made me think and question where and what is home?
When in Denmark I am longing to come back home to Malaysia, but when in Malaysia I also miss my new home in Denmark!
Closely related to the concept of ‘Home’, are the two themes; identity and power. These issues occupies me, looking at my home country from the distance.
The artworks Batu Api and Duit Kopi are from my Malay idiom series. In search for my Malay identity I realized that these old Malay idioms can still be used until the present day.
The installation Batu api, is a community based art project involving local children and students from UITM in Melaka.
Duit Kopi reminds us, that power can be bought or gained by giving presents in a form of money.
The‘Migration’ reflects the issue surrounding migration globally. People from different places would risk their lives to seek for refuge and better life in another place.
Moving from one place to another, I had to deal with the authorities looking for a new home in another country. Denmark is one of the most difficult places to migrate to, due to the strict laws on migration. Conditions for getting a PR are given separately due to your background and profession. It took me 13 years living in Denmark before I was given a permanent resident ship. During that time I felt powerless and my fate to continue living with my family were reassessed every two years at the immigration office.
The Keris/Cricket series are sculptures and is taken from a historical perspective which refers to the colonial and post colonial issues. Cricket is a ball game which was introduced to Malaya when the british was ruling the country.
Keris is an ancient malay weapon used for fighting. In this artwork, the cricket bat is sculpted partly into a shape of a keris and logos from as Nike and Twitter.
Since Malaysia’s independent in 1957, the country tried to reestablish their national cultural identity based on malay values. These values however are challenged by big global corporations and social medias .
In ‘Portrait currencies’, current Malaysian Prime Minister is portrayed using real paper currencies such as ringgit, us dollars, Indonesian rupee, Thai bath etc.
A series of artwork called ‘ 5 cents portrait ‘ is ‘painted’ with oil using Malaysian 5 cents coins. These portraits are taken from paper currencies such as Benjamin Franklin from US dollar, Queen Elizabeth from Pound Sterling, The Japanese Emperor from yen etc.
These works question the global monetary system where the gap between the rich and the poor is seen growing all over the world due to corruptions and abused of power.
The artworks I am showing include installations, assemblage, drawings, video and sound installation. Some of the works such as ‘ The migration’ and Batu Api are collaborated with UITM Lendu Melaka.
Monday, December 7, 2015
I took part in the Melaka Art Performance festival 7 in Malaysia recently. I have invited the public to participate in a performance called ' Everybody must get stoned' - A one click art performance`. The work is inspired by a malay proverb called ' batu api' or fire stone in english which means a person who likes to incite other people to fight with each other. in this performance i have invited the public to paint ' fire on the stone and then make a little performance by placing the stone to a place they have chosen. the performance ends with a click/s on my camera.
There was also a couple of musicians who happily entertained those participated in the performance with their light and happy music.
By end of the festival, a few of the stones that were placed on the site were found missing. The rest of the stones were collected and exhibited later in a gallery.