Patriots: by Malaysians for Malaysians
Wei-Ling Contemporary is pleased to announce ‘Patriots: by Malaysians for Malaysians’, a group show that reunites eight prominent Malaysian artists into one body of work, that seeks to reflect on the nation and interpret the roles of the artists as flag-wavers of the country. Steeped in cultural, historical, and socio-political references, the works in this exhibition are deeply considered, from the techniques and materials employed, to the issues and ideologies explored.
In many of the works, the land is depicted as ‘Tanah Air’, which by literal definition refers to Motherland, Homeland, Country, and Countryside. To these definitions lies the heart of the paintings by Chin Kong Yee and Chen Wei Meng. Referencing to the “kampong” (village) life, Chin Kong Yee’s oil painting series invites viewers to look through places or scenes that may be all too familiar to us, yet encourages us to see a new point of view of the scenes; to ponder, contemplate and question.
Meanwhile, Chen Wei Meng’s emotional connection with his land is evident as seen in his breath-taking canvases, that manage to capture the dramatic weather changes and mood of the country, but at the same time emanate with a pervasive sense of solitude and serenity. The beauty of the artist’s works has to be seen up close and personal as he painstakingly paints each blade of grass and every grain of sand, in a bid to take us to that place, to share with us the absolute purity of this glorious land. Reflection on the ’Tanah Air’ brings us back to the foundation of who we are and the ground upon which our feet rest.
In contrast to the countryside, Choy Chun Wei’s triptych City, Machine and Industry portrays the rapidly-changing way of life in the big city. Dealing with information and facts, while also examining the contemporary society, Choy Chun Wei envisages how humans tend to emulate machines, and how their identities are gradually transforming into codes. In these complex times we live in, the artist continually seeks peace and settlement through the process of making art. As the artist said, “I’m constructing my own organic in this society.”
His other work, Rebirth, captures the glory of the people as they celebrate the triumph of the new Malaysia, through a playful combination of the nation’s flag’s colours. In transcending the flag’s essential attributes, the artist skews the usual visual character of the flag, rendering it in different forms while still retaining its essential symbolic quality. Whereas this work underlines the act of looking forward, next to it, Kim Ng’s mixed media pieces emphasizes the importance of looking back as a way to review the nation’s past; reminiscing good memories while also learning from mistakes.
Artist Hamidi Hadi also explores the symbolic power of the flag as a means to reflect on and extend the rich and complex story of the ‘Jalur Gemilang’, as a potent symbol and a marker of identity, unity, belief, and division. As the presence of flags is omnipresent throughout the country, it is often seen, but not looked at or examined. In using the flag-as-art icon, the resultant works provoke a reexamination of this all too familiar image.
The meaning and emotional efficacy of the flags resonates with every citizen, and more than a symbol, it is a living entity, a sacred object that transcends its physical materiality. For artists Anurendra Jegadeva, Rajinder Singh and Sean Lean, the negotiation and investigation of ideas relating to identity, nationalism and citizenship are seen beyond the representation of the flag, but through the illustration of its people, and the way the Malaysian society upholds their distinguished and diversed culture.
As a whole, the exhibition, presented by Malaysians for Malaysians, features works that invite the public to think carefully, both symbolically and visually, about how art can be a means to express the artists’ sense of belonging, how they utilize their works to assert their identities and connectedness to the world around them, and how they avow their roles as patriots by capturing the times we live in, as part of the nation’s history.
‘Patriots: by Malaysians for Malaysians’ is featured at Wei-Ling Contemporary from 24th November 2018 to 6th January 2019.
Wei-Ling Contemporary is located at RT01 Sixth Floor, The Gardens Mall, 59200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm.
Please call +60322828323/ +60322601106 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.