Art Caged/Uncaged
Group Show

This July, Wei-Ling Contemporary hosts Art Caged/Uncaged, a group exhibition where artworks literally hang off the rafters, audiences walk on artificial grass, and the sounds of bird calls draw you in.

Featuring 10 Malaysian artists, the exhibition was inspired by classic Southeast Asian bird singing competitions, the kind once often seen at neighbourhood padangs (fields).

These competitions still enjoy notoriety in certain parts of Southeast Asia, but with rapid growth and development, the practice is rapidly losing its prominence. On the other hand, you have contemporary art, which is growing exponentially.

How are these two linked?

Bird singing competitions entail small groups of enthusiasts and they gather in fields to display their prized objects (their birds), pitting pit them against others in competitions in an environment that isn’t so dissimilar with artists and their art.

Both small communities come together with a shared interest; it’s often a group that is exclusive (and reclusive), leaving the bulk of the general public unaware of the intricacies of their passion; and, like an open field, the gallery provides a setting that mimics the environment of bird singing competitions, where bird owners (artists) display their birds (artworks).

What’s most discernable about these two groups is that they both seem to have an impenetrable force field around them. People outside their immediate community are usually forced to play the role of spectator alone and little exchange is noted between the enthusiasts and its audience.

Art Caged/Uncaged is a bid to remove this invisible barrier by recreating the outdoors inside the gallery space and by providing an interactive experience with the artworks of Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Jeganathan Ramachandran, Lim Kok Yoong, Kojek, Khairul Azmir Shoib @ Meme, Shia Yih Yiing, Tiong Chai Heing, Umibaizurah Mahir, Wong Chee Meng, and Yap Sau Bin.

Artworks will hang from the gallery’s ceiling or beams, providing a unique viewing experience that’s arguably less intimidating than a conventional wall-hanging exhibition, and sound works enhance the viewing of the cages created by the artists.

A public event will also be held during the exhibition to further replicate the experience of an actual bird singing competition.

Members of the public are invited to participate in the exhibition like judges in a real bird singing competition, and to vote for their favourite ‘birdsong’. The best slogan submitted by a member of the public and the artwork with the most votes receives a prize from CzipLee (

Entrance to the exhibition is free and audience members are invited to visit the portion of the gallery, which will be turned into a padang, take off their shoes to feel the grass beneath their feet, and interact with the artworks.

Pack a picnic basket if you will.

Art Caged/Uncaged will be held at Wei-Ling Contemporary from July 2 – 30 and is curated by Rachel Jenagaratnam.