An Art Excursion

Today’s gallery hopping brought us to Ilham Gallery, me for the first time.

We get to visit Latif Mohidin’s Pago Pago exhibition and view the famous Pago Pago series as well as learn more about Pak Latif. I had only met the artist once at a Khazanag event where I got him to sign my Mekong River copy. I don’t have the best eye for art but I adore an artist’s life struggle (if any) and how they achieve their mileages. The Pago-Pago exhibition is until 30th December 2018.

We also get to visit the Two Mountains Photography Project 3.0 Exhibition at Level 3, Ilham Gallery as well. Great visual narratives with heartfelt anecdotes, notes from travel as well as sounds that emote the experience; featuring 3 Malaysian photographers who went to document Mount Fuji and 3 Japanese photographers who went to document Mount Kinabalu through their eyes and personal stories. Glad to see a familiar name, Nadirah Zakariya there. The Two Mountains Photography Project 3.0 Exhibition is until 27th January 2019.

Ilham Gallery is actually a compact space, I have imagined it to be bigger. But the gift shop has lovely stuff and I like the exhibition hall spaces. If you plan to go there, it is just a walk away from the Ampang Park LRT/MRT.

After that we went to the National Art Gallery, one of my favourite areas in Kuala Lumpur.

We get to visit Chang Yoong Chia’s Second Life Exhibition at Level 2. What an amazing application to different mediums and tools. I remember walking through Alami Belas exhibition and liking his shell stories the most. He applied narratives to different mediums – art is just one of the tools for storytelling but to Yoong Chia, it was as if a challenge to present these stories by using as many tools as possible. I wish I can share photos but hey, go and see it for yourself!

Chang Yoong Chia: Second Life is a survey solo exhibition showcasing the practice of a mid-career artist, whose work has quietly captivated audiences both in Malaysia and in the many places around the world that he has exhibited. Always working intuitively, Chang Yoong Chia (b. 1975, Kuala Lumpur) has used personal narrative and memory as a subjective space to explore the imaginative possibilities of painting and object-making. This exhibition comprises around 130 works, including those made in connection with artist residencies in different countries around Asia. The Chang Yoong Chia: Second Life exhibition is on until 31st January 2019.

We also get to visit The Wall: Dinding Bandar Exhibition at the Ground Floor. It’s great to see and know that there are so many people doing graffiti art right now in Malaysia. I remember back when I was 21-22, my brother Muid Latif will go out to bomb walls with Orkibal, Mica (now more known as Sona One), Ahmed Iwaz and many others and I would join them hangout after (or before) at Bestari Sri Hartamas. Love that the current graffiti artists uses mixed media in their presentation as well. The Wall: Dinding Bandar Exhibition is on until 17th March 2019.

I am not well verse in the arts world, I really don’t know who’s who and I feel pretty uncultured because I can’t tell which artwork belongs to who. But there are a few masters that I know and have grown to like – such as Redza Piyadasa, Latif Mohidin, Ibrahim Hussein, Syed Ahmad Jamal and Hasnul Saidon. And today I get to marvel again and again at their magical works of art.

The National Art Gallery is one of the earliest spaces for visual artists to display, present, exhibit and share their works. Located off Jalan Tun Razak, it is surrounded by the National Library, the Cultural Palace and the National Blood Centre. However to get there you may need to drive or take a Taxi/Grab.

I’m really really lucky to have someone so well informed, culturally exposed and artistically experienced within the creative industry to guide me around for today, even better when he is my brother.

The one thing that I learned from Muid is that he has always been so well rounded in making sure that he has exposure in many types of art. With a degree in fine art majoring in sculpture, he mastered the art of graphic design, becoming one of the first and well known web designers in Malaysia, one of the pioneers using Flash and Dreamweaver back in the days, he ventured into graffiti art and even poetry and dancing. He even performed a live photoshop design with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra playing on the stage with him.

He started Digital Malaya and has put on its platforms many many creative geniuses who have spread their wings soaring high in their careers such as Shieko Reto, Fariz Hanapiah, Nadirah Zakariya, Prakash Daniel, Faiz Akhbar and many more. He never get to exhibit as much as his peers but he made sure that he shared enough knowledge by giving talks to design and art colleges. Although now he is part of Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery, he is indeed to me one of the most prominent artists in the 2000s.

Thank you for today. Adik really appreciate it. Love you.

Lumpur KL

Today we got to watch the second staging of MUDKL and the difference this time is that it’s acted by children from Enfiniti Academy and directed by Joanna Bessey.

It’s nice to see that the children are exposed to such professionalism on stage, making it an interactive show, engaging with the audience and their stage skills are amazing. A colleague was saying how she gives them credit cos they’re children but I have to say, some of them are way better than adult performers and I can actually give professional critic and review than just “but they’re children so it’s okay” kind of comment.

I believe that these kind of shows can be developed into a signature brand the likes of Lion King, Les Miserables and The Book of Mormon – although of course professional people from the industry wouldn’t take my word for it because I am not an industry practitioner. But I believe in potential and it has a great branding potential. Maybe JKKN should relook at reviving Panggung Bandaraya and awarding shows with great branding potential a full year run there like how MUDKL have proven themselves to be.

Whatever it is, please catch the show happening at Ken TTDI, bring your children, expose them to shows and culture AND PLEASE, BE A GOOD SPORT. I saw parents refusing to participate to stand up and dance so their children all sit when everyone else stood up to dance.

Hopefully next year I have more time in my hand to watch shows as a professional audience. Yes, I just gave it a professional standard, being an audience.

Vicky: Tell me, why won’t your father publish his poems?

Juan Antonio: Well because, he hates the world. And that’s his way of getting back at them. To create beautiful works and then to deny them to the public.

Vicky: What makes he so angry at the human race?

Juan Antonio: Because after thousands of years of civilisation, they still haven’t learn to love.

(From the movie ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’)

I have a love and hate relationship with my poetry. Like I love how much they represent my magical imaginative subconscious thoughts but I hate that they’re not what people want to read.

For example this particular line – “Aku Jantung, Kau Udara, Mari Kita Bernafas Bersama-sama” – I was given a hard time by a doctor who said people bernafas guna paru-paru so I’m wrong with using jantung and yada yada yada. So I can’t be proud of this line because all doctors will see this wrongly and not poetically.

I keep papers of my writings in some scrolls and shoeboxes. It will be in my will that someone will only publish it when I’m dead. Because they can’t wrong the dead and even if they do, I will not be disheartened by it (aku dah mati kot, and I don’t make a good ghost).

Thank you always to Publika for believing and choosing my words. I just hope one day someone proposed to their loved ones by my words.


Loud Navigation

Front back left right
Depan belakang kiri kanan
It’s easy to google and waze it
If life’s direction embedded in satellite transmission
But sometimes you thread carefully
And sometimes you take a leap of faith
What is uncertain is scary
What is certain is certainly terrifying
At the end of the day, you just go
Be who you want to be
Do what you got to do
You need to listen to your own voice
Even if you have to hold on to both mics
Before you can drop them.

Be Open

Be open to companionship
Be open to love
Be open to compromise
Be open to trust
When you feel scared to face the world
Do know that someone out there is meant to accompany you through it
So always always be open to vulnerability
Because it will lead you to reach out
And when you do, someone will take your hand
And walk with you.

Bag Lady

I am obsessed with how genius Erykah Badu is. She curates the entire look and feel of her performances until each moment is a great visual moment.

I really think the stage is a sacred space – that whenever you are on the stage and choose to be there, you need to craft your presence to capture attention, impress your audience and wow them with not just your content but delivery as well.

I think when you make conscious decision to be on stage as a performer, you need to benchmark amazing acts and you need to evolve creatively. And Erykah Badu sets this amazing standard that I will use as a benchmark whenever/ifever I choose to be on stage again.