New Straits Times, 24 December 2010
Absolut-ly fascinating
by Zuhaila Sedek

Working on glass instead of canvas brings a new dimension to an annual art event, writes ZUHAILA SEDEK
ART is lovely because there are no defined boundaries. What matters is the creativity expressed so almost anything can be turned into something beautiful and worthy enough to be called an art piece. Absolut 18@8 art exhibition is an example.

It showcases 20 vodka bottles from the already popular brand Absolut, which were all given an artsy facelift by 14 local artists.

These bottles were also auctioned off and some of the proceeds — RM53,850 — will go to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

A bottle by Wong Chee Meng sold at RM10,000. The other artists involved in Absolut 18@8 were Ivan Lam, Anurendra Jegadeva, Wong Chee Meng, Hamidi Hadi, Annabelle Ng, Mohd Al Khuzairie Ali, Chee Eng Hong, Chee Way, Cheng Yeng Pheng, Cheong Tuck Wai, Choy Chun Wei, Chin Kong Yee, Faizal Suhif, Gan Tee Sheng, Stephen Menon, Yau Bee Ling and Yim Yen Sum.

Absolut 18@8 is a collaboration between The Gardens Mall, Wei-Ling Gallery and Absolut Vodka. The exhibition is Wei-Ling Gallery’s annual event and this is the sixth edition.

Wei-Ling Gallery director Lim Wei-Ling is excited about the artworks. The SPCA, she says, is a great choice. “Not a lot of people pay heed to the well-being of animals. It is our responsibility to help them in whatever way necessary,” says Lim, who is an animal lover.

Each artist was given three bottles to work with and she was surprised by all the creativity.

“I reckoned that bottles would be a fresh and exciting take for the exhibition, instead of canvas. The artists are serious about their art. I’m not doing the exhibition to generate sales, but, more importantly, to feature local talents” says Lim.

Contemporary artists Lam and Anurendra were thrilled to do their bit for charity.

“I spent seven days on my design,” says Lam. “Instead of painting on the bottle, I decided to do something inside the bottle. I used resin infused with colours and created seven layers inside the bottle. They represent the rainbow and the seven flavours of Absolut Vodka.” Each layer needed seven hours to dry.

Anurendra put a lot of love into his design. Acrylic paint was used to draw pink heart shapes and he complemented the concept of the design with the iconic Absolut Vodka logo.

“There is also a picture of an airplane on the bottle, which I always use on my artwork. In this case, the airplane represents the airport, where a lot of people can buy vodka.” His career as a painter spans over 25 years. “I do drink a lot of Absolut Vodka but it was my first time painting on its bottle,” he says with a smile.

Catch the exhibition at The Gardens Mall concourse. The exhibition ends Jan 2. There are also other artworks by the artists being showcased at Wei-Ling Gallery in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.