New Straits Times, 14 June 2007
Merging familiar with unknown
BAYU Utomo Radjikin holds his first solo exhibition since his return from a two-year stint in Britain at Wei-Ling Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.
Titled “Mind the Gap”, the exhibition opens on June 21 and features a total of 25 pieces of Bayu Utomo’s works — 15 of which were created during his time in London and another 10 produced after he returned to Kuala Lumpur.
An artist who is profoundly affected by his surroundings, there is a distinct difference between these two bodies of work.
From the first few pieces he created in London, the shift was already evident.
“Angel” and “All Saints”, which were painted in reaction to the terrorist attacks on the London transport system in July 2005, display the deep impact the incident had on him.
These two paintings and the others that followed are introspective yet possess a freedom that is indicative of the way the artist felt as a Malaysian in Europe — questioning his identity, integrating into a new society and weighing up the differences between the familiar and the unknown.
Settling back into life at home had its fair share of ups and downs for the artist. Within his comfort zone again, Bayu’s new works are akin to the rediscovery of an old ‘friend’, with references drawn from some of his earlier experiences and works.
Born in Tawau, Sabah in 1969, Bayu Utomo is a graduate of UiTM’s School of Art and Design.
In 1991, his rebellious sculpture, “Bujang Berani” won him the Young Contemporary award, which led to the reintroduction of figurative art into the Malaysian art curriculum.
Having participated in group exhibitions since the late 80s, it wasn’t until 1996 that Bayu Utomo had his first solo exhibition. Bayu is also the co-founder of MataHati, a group consisting of highly-respected local artists.
“Mind the Gap” runs at Wei-Ling Gallery (8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur) till July 14.
Viewing hours: noon to 7pm (Monday-Friday) and from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. The gallery is closed on Sundays. Admission is free.
For details, call 03-2260-1106 or visit www.weiling-gallery.com.