In August 2011, Anurendra Jegadeva, one of the country’s leading contemporary artists presents ‘Finding Graceland’ a poignant series of 20 Malaysian landscapes which document places, people and events which resonate with all of us, yet possess a strong autobiographical undertone. Finding Graceland is the result of numerous road-trips and train rides with his father through their family’s home state of Perak. With this latest exhibition, the artist presents the traditional landscape as contemporary art objects, drawing inspiration from family stories, familiar myths, official histories, current events and of course, the iconic settings that define the Land of Grace.
It has been a year since his blockbuster exhibition ‘My God is my Truck’ and this body of smaller, poetic works were born of a car journey that Anurendra Jegadeva took with his father to the provincial towns in the North of Malaysia, where his father grew up. Although he has labeled them landscape paintings, the works are born of a strong juxtaposition of stories and events which have affected or touched all our lives. Each piece has been made in a small format and all 20 artworks will be the same size. This is a deliberate attempt by the artist to take us all closer to the canvas to look at the artwork.
Anurendra Jegadeva is a narrative artist, a painter of stories. He believes in the enduring power of the painted image, and has worked consistently to forge an effective narrative approach to contemporary and historical themes. His works stem from a personal response to or experience of his subject – whether the post-colonial realities of multi-cultural Malaysia, Asian immigrant life in Australia or the war in Iraq on his TV screen, weaving an autobiographical layer into the complex reality he seeks to capture.
In the process Anurendra employs a panoply of narrative tools – recurring motifs, colour symbolism, the framing devices of temple carvers and stain-glass makers and comic book artists – the vocabulary of a multifarious existence.
“Finding Graceland” is a collaborative work with my father”……..J.Anu
Over the last three months, my father and I drove or took the train through our family’s home state of Perak on a weekly basis. He regaled me with many stories about his childhood, his family, his courtship with my mother, early working life and later – while working in Kuala Lumpur – described his anticipation when coming home to Perak for the holidays, with his own family in tow.
His stories awakened in me my own memories of weddings, funerals, school holidays inevitably set against the constant backdrop of an iconic Perak, resplendent with her rich histories, big traffic lights, quirky legends and peculiar landscape
Finding Graceland – 22 precious rectangles of Perak in exaggerated technicolor miniature scale and ridiculous detail – is me and my father talking and listening with Elvis playing in the background.
About Wei-Ling Contemporary
Wei-Ling Contemporary is Wei-Ling Gallery’s new space at The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur.
Opened in April 2011, the gallery has already been busy with an exhibition calendar that has seen solo exhibitions like Ivan Lam’s Together Alone, Stewart MacFarlane’s Inheritance, and The Garden of Hidden Desires.
Wei-Ling Contemporary enriches the main gallery’s committed goal of reaching a wider public with contemporary art.
About Wei-Ling Gallery
Wei-Ling Gallery is housed in an award-winning building in the historic area of Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Formerly known as Townhouse Gallery, it was set up by Lim Wei-Ling and Yohan Rajan in 2002 to showcase the best of contemporary Malaysian art.
Since its inception, the gallery has mounted exciting exhibitions including solos by Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists and the gallery’s steadfast commitment to promoting contemporary Malaysia art to the wider public is shown in the numerous publications it has produced, as well as its participation in international art events such as Art Stage Singapore and the China International Gallery Exposition (CIGE).
Finding Graceland by Anurendra Jegadeva features at Wei-Ling Contemporary from the 9th August-30th August 2011.
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