Little Syam, Oh&Ah by Sweii, RAW by Lina and Ummi Junid
Material Matters celebrates artisanal craftsmanship of four Malaysian artists, working in a rich variety of materials, including natural dye textiles and upcycled as well as bespoke furnishing. The four creators : Samsiah Jendol (Little Syam), Redzlina Abdul Wahab (RAW), Sweii Chong (Oh&Ah), and Ummi Junid, follow traditional craft techniques reworked to a contemporary context. The works speak to each other, placed within the open interiors of Gallery Residence, as testaments to expertise, function and beauty.
‘Where many images are possessed, there is always implicit narrative to be elucidated.’
Shalini Ganendra Advisory is delighted to present ‘Trincomalee – My Father’s Stories and the Lost Photographs’, an exhibition of highly acclaimed work by award-winning fine artist and photographer Liz Fernando.
Recently acquired for the private collection of the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C., Liz Fernando’s major work ‘Trincomalee’ comprises lost images reconstructed from Sri Lanka’s collective memory and oral histories relayed to the artist by her father. Fernando engages with historical narratives at a personal level, extending her academic research surrounding the role of photography in South Asia into highly sophisticated and descriptive images.
Tricomalee is a growing installation built around the original piece, a handmade eponymous art book by the artist, that celebrates the image and written word, capturing memory both real and imagined. The exhibition grows, having been first shown in 2011 and then 2016 and now in 2018. New works extend the installation to photographic works and embossed prints by Liz Fernando and demonstrates several approaches to the medium of printing. In this exhibition Fernando creates and deconstructs an unfolding narrative that exposes the fragility of memories, explores the concept of nostalgia and establishes an underlying universal/personal vocabulary that invites the viewer to make narratives of their own memory and identity.
Liz Fernando is a graduate from the prestigious LCC BA Photography programme at the University of Arts, London. Her work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern in London and is showcased by Photoworks, Brighton. She is a nominee for the Sovereign Art Prize 2018, and lives and works in Berlin and Colombo.
Summer Vignettes 2018 featured a selection of dynamic Malaysian artists and designers, in a celebration of inter-disciplinary skill. Established and emerging Malaysian artists: Haris Abadi, Azliza Ayob, Al-Khuzairie Ali, Shaq Koyok, Zac Lee, Zulkifli Lee, Kim Ng, Zelin Seah, Elias Yamani Bin Ismail, and newcomer, VinSze Yong, (recently returned from UK graduate art study) – presented new works in a mixture of mediums, including works on paper, canvas, wall sculpture, and ceramic. Malaysian designers Super Struxture, SND, and DAPO showcased wool yarn lighting, elegant tableware, and funky furniture design. Combined elements of art and design created a wonderfully symbiotic aesthetic that compliments and enhances the SGA ethos of living with art.
The developing and distinct art practices of three young Malaysian talents, Alena Murang, Shaq Kyok and Afiq Aziz featured in ROOTS. Each artist presented different processes and materiality, including ceramic, batik block, fabric painting, and portraits on handwoven leaf ‘canvases’. The works were united by an exploration of ‘roots’, whether this was through a focus on personal ethnicity, traditional craft (batik) and weaving (pandanus) techniques, or more familiar mediums (ceramic and painting).
“Life is short, the art is long.”So wrote Hippocrates. Life is now longer thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, some of which have been created by Sir Roy Calne. Calne, an award-winning transplant surgeon, has contributed to life as well as art – making both longer and fuller. In addition to numerous international accolades – including two Nobel Prize nominations – Calne is a consummate artist. He is a fearless explorer, invigorated by challenge. When Calne first started to experiment in transplant surgery, he was breaking new ground: surgical kidney transplants had been attempted but very few successful. His successes in such surgeries revolutionised the field.
As a child, Calne was fascinated by drawing and by colour. Whilst going on to excel in the field of medicine, he continued to paint. In 1988, famed Scottish painter, John Bellany became a patient after receiving a successful liver transplant executed by Calne. The artist gave the surgeon art lessons and through this exchange, Calne realized more fully the connection offered through painting. “I thought as a surgeon – painting patients- nobody has done this before, and that’s really what got me. I like to do new things; I have always been stimulated by being told you can’t do it or it’s difficult and you shouldn’t do it, or that other people haven’t done it.” Bellany and Calne became life-long friends.
As an artist, he has challenged himself to work in a variety of mediums, including bronze and digital prints. For his much anticipated 2017 solo, Bloom, he created 10 digital images as signed prints. He studied and painted scenes from the Calnes’ private garden, an exquisitely landscaped space in Cambridge, home to his family for over 50 years. It was appropriate that he revisited this important and natural influence, into which his studios peer, not only in literal meaning but as analogy for his illustrious career and life, filled with Bloom. He has exhibited at SGFA since 1998 and his work has also been featured at the Barbican Gallery, UK.
Celebrated and established Malaysian artist Bibi Chew’s first solo exhibition in her career of over thirty years, What if …explored the impact of geography on individual and community.
New works in a variety of mediums explored this phenomenon, including The MAP is upside down, The RIVER is floating, and Landed.
In, The RIVER is floating, Chew used a mastered technique of layered cut-outs to explore the appearance, impact, and more subtle meanings of land and its tributaries. “How do we see land, how do we experience it? Are we entitled to the emotions that we project on it? Can we possibly preserve it?”were all questions that inspired the artist’s creative impulse.
In Landed, she used acrylic washes to highlight images that, with their organic sensibilities, could not only represent Malaysia’s territories, but also the leaves, bark, and soil within them.
The Map, an overhead, mobile, and grounded installation, invited audience participation to discover effects of altered territory placement and the view of land overhead.
Chew’s works have a wonderfully deceptive simplicity, drawing the viewer into a meditation on what they might have come to expect from nature while also considering alternatives: “What if the land or water is above us? What if we could view the map from opposite angle? What if we are able to view the interior/inside of the land or water from above our eye level? What if the land or water is lighter than what we think?” How would these changes in perspective, interaction and experience impact the way we live?
Very Image,curated by Sean C. S. Hu, featured seven of the founding members of renowned artist cooperative, VT Artsalon: Jui-Chung Yao, Wen-Chi Chen, Wei-Cheng Tu, Chun-Hao Chen, Dar-Kuen Wu, Hui-Yu Su and Isa Ho. Hu himself is the eighth founder of the cooperative. Through this two-month exhibition, with accompanying educational components, VT Artsalon introduced the works of these artists and also their views on the development of contemporary art in Taiwan, international markets, art practise generally, and collector development. Included in the itinerary were talks at local universities and the National Visual Gallery, as well as portfolio reviews and exhibition tours.
Following VT Artsalon’s founding philosophy and based on its members’ magnum opuses, Very Image fostered artistic and cultural exchange. The title of this exhibition refers not only to the shown images, but also to the personal, cultural imagery they evoked through the variety of mediums used.
The Designer Glaze project celebrated ceramic as a fine art and design material. SGA commissioned students of the local university, KBU Design School, to create the permanent installation on the facade of SGA’s award winning Gallery Residence. The project explored, through a number of processes, the meanings of art and craft, the execution of design commissions, and the dynamics between client and creator.
SGA regularly develops explorative commissions as part of the organisation’s capacity-building focus.
Brian Robinson has literally carved a distinctive presence within the remarkably talented generation of Indigenous Australian artists who have come to the fore in recent years. His graphic prints and contemporary sculptures read as episodes in an intriguing narrative, revealing the strong tradition of storytelling within his community of Zenadh Kes and his connection to the contemporary world.
Robinson’s experience in the art world extends well beyond his practice as an artist, having worked in a curatorial role spanning fifteen years at Cairns Regional Gallery as well as residing on numerous local, state and national visual arts boards. A prolific artist whose work includes the planar surface and three-dimensional forms, Robinson works to extend the paradigm of contemporary Torres Strait Islander art to embrace artistic classicism from numerous points.
His approach to his printmaking practice is linear and often playful. The exhibition’s collection illustrated Robinson’s depth of connection to his heritage, paired with his aesthetic and intellectual exploration of Western iconography. References that spring from the artist’s childhood fascination with the artistic appurtenances of Catholic Mass and Hero worship, whether it is of biblical, Greek or Torres Strait Islander derivation, are repeated themes and these grand narratives are peppered with more prosaic symbolism and stylistic influences such as comic book characters, everyday objects, and graffiti art.