Assembled from the seven countries of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam — each with differing histories and traditions, and each with distinct political, economic and cultural situations — the 13 curators of this project have collaborated on developing an exhibition questioning the nature of Media / Art today, which will further evolve through each of its presentations in the cities of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Bangkok.
At a time when under the banner of globalization all manner of information technology has transcended national borders to enter into people’s lives, and has no small effect on how those lives play out, today’s constantly updating media environment has generated unprecedented new spheres of economics and culture. While it could become the impetus for a major revolution, this situation also carries with it the risk of expanding new forms of oppression and disparity.
Moreover, between Japan and the constituent nations of ASEAN, as well as between the four cities hosting the exhibition, there are stark differences in social context and the positioning in those contexts of “media” and “art.” As suggested by the relationships that have developed between the curators and artists participating in this project, the exploration of mutual differences both large and small also brings with it the necessity of working together — and at times with exhibition visitors as well — to establish new standards of value.
A project addressing the status of media/art in the member countries of ASEAN, “Media/Art Kitchen” is comprised of three components: an “exhibition” that provides an overview of works; a “workshop” for generating deep and multifaceted understanding; and a “laboratory” where visitors are able to produce their own experimentation. The theme “Media/Art Kitchen” is inspired by and encapsulated in the image of a kitchen activated by daily invention and creativity. The subtitle, “Reality Distortion Field,” is meant to suggest the kitchen, as workshop or laboratory, as a space where reality is distorted and the impossible becomes possible; this is also the term that has been used to describe Apple-founder Steve Jobs’ talent for drawing out the maximum potential of the people around him.
Merata Suara is an art project organized by Projek Dialog where four contemporary artists collaborated with various marginalised communities in Malaysia.The project has produced 4 installations and 1 performance which highlighted the respective communities through the marginal narratives within Malaysia’s social-political terrain. The exhibition name ‘Merata Suara’ is derived from a wordplay in Malay which can mean “to spread voices” or “to even out the voices” both of which speak to democratic aspirations; a gesture that greatly reflects the core values of this project. In the words of the curator, Suzy Sulaiman. “Understandably, marginal narratives exist because the grand narratives are buttressed in place. Grand narratives that catapult a national identity can only succeed by suppressing other narratives and creating a “margin” by demarcating arbitrary boundaries and drawing up territorial lines to separate us.”
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NAFAS is a virtual exhibition that showcases 20 emerging women artists who occupy different intersections of the contemporary art scene. From video art to installations; the art mediums presented are as diverse as the artists’ backgrounds themselves. NAFAS offers a journey to the fertile frontiers of the Malaysian art scene where conventions and normative practices are blurred.
“Nafas” is the Malay word for “breathe”. It is a biological connection rather than a material one. Breath is also a unit to measure a particular space and time; a universal connector. “Nafas” is a life sustaining action that connects all living organisms; a biological reflex that we do unthinkingly. Extending from “nafas” is “nafas baru”; a phrase in Malay to denote an emergence, In this context, relations are drawn to the emerging women artists of this exhibition.
“Arus which means currents, movements, flow and circulation, captures two layers of interpretation. Arus implies both electrical currents and water currents. The former points to the virtual reality nature of this art exhibition; a show that exists inside computer servers across the world, while the latter water currents indicate the fluid territories of Southeast Asia."-Suzy Sulaiman, lead curator.
RRRAWRRR!!! 2022 is a three-part series to showcase diverse contemporary artworks of women artists from South East Asia with ARUS being the first in the trilogy. It is also the third Maybank Women Artists Exhibition series to be showcased in a virtual gallery space following the launch of the Maybank Virtual Art Gallery @ Balai Seni, in 2020.
Visitors to the ARUS exhibition will be immersed in a tranquil ambience and serenaded by calm music as they experience 29 unique artworks by 13 talented women artists from Southeast Asia, who are well-versed in various mediums. These include paint, pen & ink on tracing paper, digital photography & sound composition, silver gelatin prints on matte fibre-based paper, video, color and sound, collage in Ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence (UVIVF), mixed media on canvas, ink and acrylic on paper and wood, installations (variable dimensions), ink on paper & Augmented Reality and wood print on paper. The artworks focus on subject matters that showcases the intimate emotions and experiences of the participating women artists living in their respective countries and communities. It also provides a captivating contemporary artistic experience, showcasing the unrestricted creativity of women artists and offers an in-depth passage to the frontier of South East Asia’s undiscovered art talents.
The ARUS exhibition is a continuation of Maybank’s commitment in celebrating diversity, as well as the social, economic, cultural and political advancements of women and the interpretation of fine arts through the lens of women artists.
A community art project initiated and organized by Tourism Selangor, to celebrate the diversity and ingenuity of Selangor-based creatives through a public grants programme. Six grant winners were selected from 37 entries where each grantee were given RM 10.000 and six months to produce their design proposal. Their final products, that included textile, furniture, ceramics and art installations were exhibited at Shah Alam art gallery and FCM gallery at Multimedia University.