Ahmad Shukri Mohamed & Umibaizurah Mahir

What comes to mind when you think of “TOYS”? One instinctively thinks of the carefree days of our childhood, the light-hearted, fun times we spent as a child. However, as adults, we also have ‘toys‘. These are the things we use to relax our bodies and close our minds from the ‘real’ world. Just as we, as children, fantasized about being soldiers when we played with tanks and guns, or princesses when we played with castles and dolls, adults use toys to take them away from their dull, humdrum lives. Toys are used by humans as a form of escapism.

Conversely, as with anything within society, toys are used to shape and mold us to fit into that society. Parents use toys as tools to subconsciously brainwash children towards what they aspire for them to become. Ironically, toys, in all their innocence, actually have an agenda to fulfill!

Umibaizurah Mahir and Ahmad Shukri Mohamed examine the multi-faceted functions of these seemingly innocent objects, from their role as objects of escapism, to their function as tools to shape the young mind. A husband and wife team, both artists bring to the board their own interpretations of the subject matter, one through ceramics and clay, the other through paint and canvas.

Born in Kelantan in 1969, Ahmad Shukri was one of the co-founders of the non-conformist MATAHATI group, which has since become the voice of the future of Malaysian Art. Having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from MARA (UiTM) in 1992, Shukri is today one of the leaders in ground-breaking contemporary art in Malaysia, and has exhibited extensively world-wide. Not confined by style, material or subject matter, he revels in forming multi-layered collages with oil paint, industrial crate plank, aluminium foil, canvas, paint and paper. Shukri maintains that the only constant in his art is CHANGE.

Ceramic artist Umibaizurah Mahir was born in Johor in 1975. She received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Ceramics from MARA (UITM) in 2000. Umi’s clay pieces, adorned with unusual objects found around the environment, seem simple. In fact, they penetrate deep beyond the superficial layer of experience and explore complicated issues that relate to human perceptions. Whatever the subject matter, they belie a feminine touch that conveys the message in it’s own subtle manner.

Toys runs from 8th May 2006 until 31st May 2006 at Wei-Ling Gallery.