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ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW

1
#00
Sometimes I feel,
you treating me
like game
But I am so
fawn of you!
>50 years of
Balai Seni Lukis Negara
>Timelines: Time to think,
or, some thoughts on Susurmasa
>2nd International Art Expo
Malaysia 2008
>Singapore Biennale 2008
Launching Issue Nov / Dec 2008
Malaysian art now
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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PUBLISHER
Balai Seni Lukis Negara
National Art Gallery Malaysia
No 2, Jalan Temerloh
Off Jalan Tun Razak
53200 Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA
Phone : 603 4026 7000
Fax : 603 4025 4987
website : http://www.artgallery.gov.my
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dr. Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa
MANAGING EDITOR
Chng Huck Theng
EDITOR
Zanita Anuar
DEPUTY EDITOR
Wening Cheah
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS
Hashimah Nyok
Tan Sei Hon

CONTRIBUTORS / WRITERS
Rachel Jenagaratnam
Roopesh Sitharan
Simon Soon
Daniel Chong
Faizal Sidik
Alizam Hassan
Usnita Nasir
Shamsul Bahari Mohamad Yusof
DISTRIBUTION
Osmihamidy Osman
PHOTOGRAPHY
Mohd. Noorhisyam Amir Nazarullah
DESIGN
Norhaslina Ahmad Kamsin
Nuzaihan Mustapa
CONTENTS
4 50 tahun Balai Seni Lukis Negara
4-6 Timelines:Time to think, or, some
thoughts on Susurmasa
7 Program Kesinambungan
Hayat:Klirieng
8 Wajah Jati Malaysia
9 2
nd
International Art Expo
Malaysia 2008
10 Review of Singapore Biennale 2008
11 Relocations
12 SeniArt.Info: Suara Baru Seni
Kontemporari di Lembah Klang
13 Anderson & Low
13-14 Icons: Zulkifi Yusoff
14-15 Program BSLN
15 Artist:Marvin Chan
16 Activities
18 The Passing of a Giant of Modern
Malaysian Art
19 Whats on?
For the frst time in 50 years, we vow to be your popular newsprint
medium for reading about the art practice of today .
We are indeed challenged in this unusual task. The , besides
communicating about the latest happenings of this institution, will
present updates on events run by other groups and organizations,
shall showcase selected exhibitions, with commentaries on particular
aspects of the show or artists. is grateful to the artists , friends
and peers who have given input on what they hope to fnd in this
venture , and especially to Marvin Chan who gave us the idea about
featuring an artist , who may host-design the cover of each issue. This
Launching Issue presents Simon Soon citing the signifcance of the
Singapore Biennale , Roopesh Sitharan locating electronic art , Faizal
Sidik introducing SeniArt. Info, Daniel Chong fascinated by the iconic
Zulkifi Yusoff, and the Opinion section features Rachel Jenagaratnams
experience of being deluged by Timelines.
Dr. Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa
Editor-In-Chief
Editorinc.
Cover Artist:Marvin Chan
The cover artwork is a parody on
how easy it is to misunderstand
each other when we dont see
eye to eye, perhaps senikini will
provide an eye on things.
Sometimes I feel,
you treating me
like game
But I am so
fawn of you!
Any feedback and comments please email to us at:
wening@artgallery.gov.my
The publisher, National Art Gallery Malaysia,
hold copyright of all editorial content in the Malaysia and abroad.
SENIKINI (ISSN: 1985 - 7233) is published six times
a year by National Art Gallery Malaysia.
All Rights Reserverd.
Copyright 2008 SENIKINI Malaysia Art Now
Printed in Malaysia.
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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2009-2011
SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00
Art produces and refects the
spirit and characteristics of the
people that shape a nation.
Malaya has many artists to
be proud of, but it is only at
art galleries that the general
public are able to see and
enjoy their artworks. Unless
the best artworks by our local
artists are purveyed for the
National Collection, these
works will rarely be seen.
1
O
ur National Art Gallerys
(NAG) offcial duties were
laid out succinctly in the
exhibition catalogue that accompanied
their frst ever exhibition in 1958.
2
In
essence, the national collection belongs
to all Malaysians. It is likely, however,
that more than half the population have
not yet visited the gallery. The need
to develop a gallery-going culture
amongst the general populous is, in my
opinion, a must. It is, however, a big
challenge and remains one of the NAGs
biggest hurdles. So, on the occasion
of its fftieth anniversary, and, in an
attempt to reserve this predicament,
the NAG hits back with a blockbuster
exhibition: Susurmasa or, Timelines.
The exhibition spans the entire building
and appears to pay homage to one of
the NAGs earlier exhibitions, RUPA
MALAYSIA: Meninjau Seni Lukis Moden
Malaysia. Held in 2001 and curated by
the late Redza Piyadasa, the exhibition
marked the gallerys move to its current
premise on Jalan Temerloh. The scale
of Susurmasa is far larger than its
predecessor; works span across vast
temporal and cultural differences,
mediums are varied, and the number of
possibilities for intellectual discourse,
limitless. Indeed, these elements could
lend to some striking critiques on
Malaysian art, thereby adding to the
growing corpus of Malaysian art history.
However, my essay takes a slight detour
from more conventional academic
routes. I divert from pure analysis of
artworks to the gallery experience
itself and touch on general arguments
pertaining to the exhibition. This is
not to be seen as a cop-out of any
sort there are reasons to justify this
approach. In research for this essay, I
hoped to make a comparison between
RUPA MALAYSIA and the present
exhibition, but found this to be very
diffcult; I did not attend the exhibition
seven years ago and my understanding
of the exhibition was based primarily
on its catalogue. Academically, the
publication served a fne purpose, but
it wasnt enough to formulate a proper
comparison. Moreover, I was seeking an
honest frst-account of the exhibition,
which its catalogue did not offer.
As such, I hope this essay will serve as a
brief document entailing a
contemporaneous experience of
Susurmasa. My arguments are not an
attempt to depreciate the artworks or the
gallery in any way; reversibly, I hope
my points could add to its future value.
Points that I will cover are the viability
of a thematic approach for an exhibition
of this scale, the importance of
literature and contextualization, and the
shortcomings of gender generalizations,
as found in their section titled Malayan
Beauty. I contend that if the context
isnt laid out coherently, this could slow
or stagnate discourse at both academic
and grassroots level.
Thematic Grounds
Despite the chronological hinted in
the exhibitions title, curators have
decided upon a thematic approach. It
spans six central subjects - Prehistoric
and Indigenous, Maritime Empire
and The Age of Commerce, The
Illustrated News, Malayan Beauty,
Iconic Works, and Contemporary
and Beyond. With the exception of
one gallery, individual artworks are
clustered into sub-categories, again,
ignoring sequential development.
3
Thematic approaches are paradoxical
and prone to complications, as proven
by the case of Tate Moderns hanging
in 2001. Western art historys stringent
stylistic developments, -isms so easily
separated by dates, were disregarded.
Artists and critics were critical, as were
academics that lamented the diffculty
in teaching with the haphazard layout.
4
Where does Susurmasa stand in relation
to this? For one, despite this not being
the NAGs permanent hanging, it
functions very much like one for the
breadth of its exhibits and the fact that
no space is left artless. The ground
foor itself is overwhelming. At the
Prehistoric and Indigenous section,
you are greeted by Burung Kenyalang
on plinths and a wood-carved Ulu tribe
dining set, which has been juxtaposed
Timelines: Time to think, or, some thoughts
on Susurmasa I Rachel Jenagaratnam
OPINION
Sempena ulang tahun ke 50 Balai Seni
Lukis Negara (BSLN), Khazanah Visual
Seni Negara melangkah kesatu tahap
atau konteks yang lebih jauh lagi.
Satu penghargaan buat BSLN untuk
merealisasikan buat pertama kalinya
karya tiga pelukis tersohor diabadikan
sebagai setem Khazanah Seni Visual
Negara dengan kerjasama Pos Malaysia
Berhad menjadikan satu koleksi setem
seni visual yang akan menjelajah ke
seluruh pelusok dunia.
28 Ogos 2008 dipilih sebagai hari
pelancaran sempena menyambut hari
kelahiran BSLN yang ke 50. Dalam
tempoh 50 tahun penubuhan BSLN,
terdapat 3,700 buah karya yang telah
terhimpun. Khazanah Seni Visual
Negara adalah koleksi catan pelukis-
pelukis terkenal Malaysia yang menjadi
peneraju dan pengasas kepada seni lukis
moden di Malaysia. Hasil karya yang
dipilih adalah berdasarkan perwakilan
kepada tema fguratif dan landskap yang
dipersembahkan dalam gaya seperti
realisme, eksperisionisme, kubisme
dan seni moden yang berilhamkan seni
tradisi.
Sebagai pengisian ulangtahun ke 50
Balai Seni Lukis Negara juga telah
berjaya menjalankan beberapa aktiviti
sama ada di dalam mahupun di luar
BSLN. Antaranya adalah pameran
koleksi karya seni visual terbesar yang
mempamerkan himpunan tetap negara
iaitu Pameran Susurmasa atau Timelines,
penerbitan Direktori Galeri-Galeri
Seni, Kids World Longest Underwater
Painting di Pulau Mabul, Sabah,
Simposium Konservasi Antarabangsa,
Rantau Budaya Merdeka : Pencarian
Wajah Jati Malaysia, Pameran SEMESTA,
Pertemuan dan Dialog dengan penggiat
seni, Sidang Seni : SINI 08 kerjasama
BSLN bersama Kementerian Pelajaran
Malaysia dan Persatuan Seni Visual,
Koleksi Saya: Rahime Harun dan yang
akan datang Pameran TENG: Satu
Penghargaan yang mempamerkan karya
terbaik oleh Mendiang Datuk Chuah
Thean Teng seorang pelukis terpenting
negara.
Setem Khazanah Seni Visual Negara
ini telah dilancarkan oleh Y. Bhg. Dato
Seri Hj. Mohd Shafe Hj. Apdal, Menteri
Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Kesenian
dan Warisan Malaysia (KEKKWA).
Bersama-sama pelancaran ini juga
telah dirasmikan katalog bagi pameran
SUSURMASA versi Bahasa Inggeris
juga sambutan harijadi warganegara
Malaysia yang bertuah dan terpilih yang
sama tarikh lahirnya dengan BSLN.
SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008
with the industrial installation of Zulkifi
Yusofs Hikayat Pelayaran Abdullah. The
latter occupies center-stage, but there is
little about it that is either prehistoric or
indigenous: old advertisements for Swan
condensed milk, Jeyes hygienic toilet
paper, Lux soap, and Gillette blades, are
printed onto the crude metal material;
they are emblematic of the dawn of
consumerism and contrast with the text
that forms the backdrop to the artwork,
pages from Hikayat Abdullah that was
completed in 1843.
The enigma is the inclusion of works
like this and others, such as Ahmad
Zuraimi Abdul Rahims Confrontation-
Power (2006) or Fadzul Yusris oil
paintings, such as the very recently
completed Grey (2008). In Grey,
childlike scrawls of alphabets foat
across the canvas that also contains
a crassly drawn fgure and bicycle.
Ultimately, it lacks the precision of
realist representation, but surely stylistic
grounds are not enough to warrant the
heading of Prehistoric and Indigenous?
Whilst it is good to see the NAG
representing contemporaneous
artists, these loose interpretations and
classifcations could easily be misread.
5

Is the curator saying prehistoric or
indigenous works are primitive and
childlike? Are certain subjects, for
example elephants in Ahmad Zuraimis
work, worthy of this classifcation? I
am certain the curator does not intend
for these conclusions, but grouping
historically disparate artworks leaves
gaps for these arguments. It also
diminishes the religious and secular
functions of the items on display. For
example, the function of ceremonial
masks, of which there are an abundant
number, lose signifcance due to the
lack of historical focus.
Maritime Empire and The Age of
Commerce narrowly escapes this
predicament. This section is split into
seven sub-categories and artworks
from the mid-twentieth-century to the
noughties intermingle. Understandably,
it is a tall order to juggle so many
different elements, but the exhibition
handout proposes a reading in
conjunction with the larger narrative
of empire; the hanging is meant
to be indicative of the responses of
contemporary artists to this theme.
6

Marvin Chans portrait of a girl in a
Japanese schoolgirl uniform does not
necessarily hint at this, but there are
some gems in this section. Landscapes,
for example, form a large portion of
the overall artworks. They highlight
the changes in our landscape and it
is a treat to see rare works, such as
the unassuming watercolours by A.B.
Ibrahim and A.B. Kecik.
The deluge of artworks here can be a
little intimidating. The frst time, I do
not fully comprehend the organization
and am unable to take in everything.
A second visit, however, reveals
many interesting facets. And, whilst I
cautioned certain aspects of Prehistoric
and Indigenous, there is an example
in this section that defes my criticism
of Susurmasas thematic approach.
In a section on pastoral landscapes,
Tan Vooi Yams terracotta sculpture
Conversation of Object 2007 (2003-07)
splits the space in half. It looks very
much like a distorted human spine; it
curves forcibly at the start, and as you
go along, appears more horizontal,
fnally ending in a pile of individual
bones amidst rubble. My exhibition
notes reveal my exact frst thoughts: I
honestly dont know what this is doing
there.
The exhibition handout answers
my question - in the context of this
exhibition, Tans sculpture functions
as a strait that separates the images of
sea and land.
7
This is a very thoughtful
curatorial move, but it must be
noted that the artworks are not given
individual explanations. The exhibition
catalogue and handout are the only
sources of information for viewers - both
are available only in Bahasa Malaysia.
Literature and Contextualization
There is no information on the
Burung Kenyalang to inform viewers
of its signifcance to the Iban tribe,
who regard it as their God of War,
or its centrality to the Ibans Gawai
Kenyalang festival. American Pop artist,
Robert Rauschenbergs Yang Teragung
(1989) hangs surreptitiously in the
second gallery without any mention
of his stint in Kuala Lumpur. O. Don
Peris painting, Portrait of My Wife In
Wedding Dress (1933), the oldest and
most valuable artwork in the National
Collection placed at Malayan Beauty
and not at Iconic Works as one
would imagine is not given further
explanation. Information is also sorely
missed at The Illustrated News, as
it would offer viewers the historical
context to better appreciate the works
on display.
Susurmasas exhibition catalogue may
clear much of the confusion faced with
a thematic approach or the lack of
supplementary literature; understanding
Malaysian art would be a much easier
task. However, the fact remains that the
publication isnt likely to be purchased
by every gallery-goer. Priced at RM100,
it isnt a cheap souvenir for the average
person. This is not a setback, but it does
refect the importance of concise and
Hasnul Jamal Saidon. The Smiling Van Gogh And Gauguin Interactive Computer Art, 1995 BSLN 1997-005
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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accessible handouts and wall-texts. It
would be worthwhile for the NAG to
consider printing handouts in different
languages, or at least an English version,
so information is available to everyone.
English translations in the form of
wall-texts have been made available
at the beginning of each section, but
it is nonsensical to expect visitors to
continually return to the start to refer to
information; the portable handout saves
the trouble.
Again, the importance of good general
literature must be stressed. The NAG
plays an important role in educating
the general public of our nations art,
its origins, intricacies, and context in
relation to society. Which is why I was
taken aback by the text accompanying
the section on Malayan Beauty.
No Place For Beauty Pageants
So as to serve as intuitive pleasure
to the eyes, we would like to
share whatever we have in our
collection works of diverse visual
media and idioms uniquely
produced by creators called
men. If any of our guests or the
neighbours are interested in
the beauty we put on display,
we offer our apology. Perhaps
we shall keep your betrothal
request in our fond memories.
The fowers in our vase are
not for sale, they are simply for
visual delight. We are indeed
glad you could take pleasure in
the beautiful scenery in various
courteous and respectful manners
let be enthralled and fascinated
by them. But theyre full of
meanings. Thus are created
women for the world.
8
An entire section devoted to images
of women already borders on being
distasteful and disrespectful, but
accompanied by such blatantly
sexist text, fails in being objective or
historically conscious. The line, creators
called men, solidifes patriarchal
dominance in society; I do not think
female artists, such as Katherine Sim
whose portrait of Salmah (1949) hangs
here would be proud. Salmah lies in
between portraits of women by Robert
Lau, Mohd Hoessein Enas, and Haji
Mohd Aris bin Atan, and, it is ironic
that she is the only female encased
behind the protective plastic shield; it
accentuates her difference and seems to
say the female artists work is not worthy
of being seen in the fesh.
This section houses some seminal
works: Redza Piyadasas portrait of
Two Nyonya Women (1982) from his
Malaysia Series, works by Seah Kim
Joo and Cheong Laitong, an entire wall
devoted to the theme of Mother and
Child, and Suhaida Razis painting of
the iconic image of women training as
home guards during the Darurat (2001-
02). Themes explored in this section
include the role of women in society,
heritage, and cultural identity, but they
disappear with the curatorial direction
that demands visual exploitation of the
subject matter; the important social
context is overshadowed by the biased
projections of sexpot and vixen.
As educators and keepers of national
art treasures, propagating the ideology
that women are fowers in a vase is
disheartening; it is objectifcation and
this is not why women were created
for the world. The late-twentieth-
century saw a pivotal paradigm shift
in art history with the introduction of a
feminist slant, a strand of thought that
sought to reclaim the many gender
__________________________
1
My translation. Seni lukis melahir dan
mencerminkan semangat dan keperibadian rakyat
yang membangunkan sesuatu bangsa. Malaya
mempunyai ramai pelukis yang sewajarnya menjadi
kebanggaannya, tetapi hanya di galeri seni lukis jua
orang ramai dapat melihat dan menikmati karaya
mereka, dan, kecualilah karya-karya terbaik pelukis
kita dibeli sebagai Koleksi Negara, karya-karya ini
jarangkali dapat dilihat. BSLNs frst exh. cat., Kuala
Lumpur, 1958, as quoted by R. Piyadasa, RUPA
MALAYSIA: Meninjau Seni Lukis Moden Malaysia,
BSLN, Kuala Lumpur, 2001.
2
As I have written this text in English, I shall
retain the abbreviation of NAG throughout. However,
it appears as BSLN in bibliographic references,
respecting the offcial publication titles of the gallery.
3
In the Iconic Works gallery, works are arranged
according to date. Painted columns separate the
works according to decades, allowing viewers the
opportunity to view works according to chronological
development.
4
For a concise account of this, refer to J.Jones,
Where have you been all my life? The Guardian,
May 2, 2006. Available at http://arts.guardian.co.uk/
features/story/0,1765512,00.html
5
I refer to a comment made by Farouk Khan
(Institutional curators) would rather stick to
the preapproved artists of the pioneer era as
reported by Suzieana Uda Nagu in Culture: Unseen
Contemporary Art Scene, New Straits Times, Feb 24,
2008.
6
Setiap segmen atau tema-tema kecil dalam
pameran ini dikaitkan dengan naratif besar empayar.
Susunan dan gantungan karya-karya terpilih adalah
respon pelukis moden terhadap isu dan peristiwa
yang ada kaitannya dengan naratif besar. Susurmasa
handout, BSLN, Kuala Lumpur, 2008.
7
Manakala dinding bersebelahan yang dipisahkan
oleh lorong umpama selat kecil yang menempatkan
keperluan hidup yang terdiri daripada sumber
makanan dan ternakan yang menjadi komoditi dan
bahan dagangan. Susurmasa handout, BSLN, Kuala
Lumpur, 2008.
8
Translation provided by NAG. The text was
reproduced on the wall leading to the Malayan
Beauty gallery.
9
G. Pollock, Feminist Interventions in the
Histories of Art (1988), as reproduced in E. Fernie,
Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology,
London, 1995, p300.
10
As quoted in Malaysian Tatler, April 2008, p222.
11
J. Jones, Where have you been all my life? The
Guardian, May 2, 2006.
Zulkifi Mohd. Dahlan, Kedai-kedai - Shops
BSLN 2006.082
injustices espoused by the dominance of
modernism. One of the main exponents
of feminist art history, Griselda Pollock,
noted, What we learn about the world
and its people is ideologically patterned
in conformity with the social order
within which it is produced.
9
The
Director of the NAG, Dr Mohamed
Najib Ahmad Dawa, echoes this
sentiment in a recent statement given
to a media, as he paid tribute to our
frst PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman, for
founding the NAG, which functions
as a refection of the cultural values
of a nation. But, why encourage these
inequalities? Why air dirty linen in
public? Are these the values wed like
our young to learn? To the NAG, I offer
my apologies: I simply cannot mask my
disappointment.
Conclusion
I do sympathise. A lot of responsibility
has fallen on the NAG in the absence
of other more focused institutions,
for example, a space dedicated to
contemporary or indigenous arts. As a
result, the NAG is forced to negotiate
a much wider selection of artworks
than necessarily practical. And, as is
expected, fnancial restraints are an
issue. In a magazine interview, Dr
Mohamed Najib stated, the main
challenge is how to accomplish so
much with so little (funds) and to do it
now! We are ffty years old this year
we are accountable for our report
card, at the same time NAG must
inspire and instil accountability in others
to be able to uphold the fying colours
of Malaysian art.
10

The fying colours of Malaysian art are
indeed brilliant, as exemplifed by the
many artworks on display at Susurmasa.
But, the non-issue of chronological
development at Susurmasa does make
it diffcult to trace a linear history of art
in Malaysia. Refering to Tate Moderns
2001 hanging, the British art critic,
Jonathan Jones, made a sly comparison
to a much earlier and frowned-upon
example, the Nazis Degenerate Art
exhibit of 1937: As with that brutish
predecessor, people could go around
and laugh at everything without being
enabled to understand.
11
The pertinence of enabling viewers
to understand is what sums up my
thoughts of Susurmasa. With the
thematic approach, the juxtaposition
of artworks does encourage viewers
to think independently, but these links
arent immediately noticeable how
many viewers take the trouble to visit an
exhibition more than once? Hence lies
the importance of ample and accessible
information. And, from an educational
perspective, erring on the side of
caution and avoiding generalizations
would be benefcial.
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
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B
alai Seni Lukis Negara atas kesedaran dan keperihatinan untuk mengekalkan
wadah warisan generasi terdahulu, telah mengangkat sebuah Program
Kesinambungan Hayat bersempena Pameran SUSURMASA dan Sambutan
Kelahiran yang Ke 50 Tahun dengan mengukir motif-motif paku-pakis, tali, topeng
hantu ke atas dua batang balak Cengal Batu berukurlilit dua pemeluk. Adiguru iaitu
Bapak Jelan Asoh berumur 70 tahun dibawakan khas dari Rumah Panjang Kajaman,
Long Segaham, Belaga, Sarawak bersama pembantu-pembantunya iaitu Bapak
Pagang Tinyam, Bapak Shafee Harun dan Encik Hamdani Louis. Mereka juga
dibantu oleh dua orang pelatih aperantis, saudara Anwar Ghawi dan Azli Abdul
Ghani.
Program telah berlangsung dari 07 April hingga 10 Mei 2008.
Klirieng merupakan binaan ukiran ke atas kayu belian oleh masyarakat etnik
Orang Ulu di Sarawak yang terdiri lebih daripada 25 etnik. Ianya berfungsi sebagai
kuburan golongan bangsawan atau raja-raja. Klirieng diukir sedemikian rupa adalah
sebagai ritual dan menghormati kematian raja-raja mereka. Motif-motif ukiran
adalah seperti tumbuh-tumbuhan, paku-pakis, bentuk-bentuk binatang, buaya,
naga, gong, tali, topeng orang dan fgura hantu. Kayu Belian yang berukurlilit
dua hingga empat pemeluk dan berketinggian di antara 20 hingga 35 kaki adalah
ukuran kebiasaan bagi sesebuah klirieng. Hal ini boleh dirujuk kepada binaan
klirieng yang telah melebihi umur seratus tahun di Rumah Panjang Punan Bah,
Rumah Panjang Kajaman Lasah, Long Segaham, Sungai Rejang, Sarawak. Juga
boleh dilawati di Muzium Negara, Kuala Lumpur dan di Muzium Tun Razak,
Kuching, Sarawak.
Tulang belulang golongan bangsawan atau raja yang telah meninggal dunia akan
dipisahkan dari daging si mati dan akan dimasukkan ke dalam tajau (pasu) dan
kemudiannya diletakkan ke dalam lubang kayu di bahagian atas / puncak klirieng
dan ditutupi dengan batu hampar berketebalan setengah kaki. Upacara meletakkan
tajau ini dibuat setelah proses mengukir dan menegakkan klirieng siap diusahakan
secara gotong royong. Klirieng yang akan ditanam ke dalam tanah perlu juga
ditanam bersama-sama hamba perempuan atau lelaki kepada raja tersebut.
Mutakhir ini, pembuatan klirieng tidak diusahakan secara ritual seperti asalnya
kerana didepani oleh arus pemodenan iaitu keyakinan beragama (Islamisasi dan
kristianiti) oleh masyarakat Orang Ulu.
Adiguru, Bapak Jelan Asoh dibawakan
khas dari Rumah Panjang Kajaman, Long
Segaham, Belaga, Sarawak.
Program Kesinambungan Hayat:
Klirieng I Alizam Hassan
7
SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
8
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00
S
etiap bulan September sempena
perayaan Bulan Kemerdekaan
seperti tahun-tahun yang lalu,
pertandingan Seni Lukis Kanak-kanak
ExxonMobil pasti menjadi rebutan
golongan berkenaan. Manakan tidak,
aktiviti ini seringkali menghidangkan
habuan yang lumayan.
Justeru, bagi memulakan momentum
dimensi baru tahun ini, Balai Seni Lukis
Negara (BSLN) dengan penaja utama,
Exxon Mobil bersama-sama Nikon (M)
Sdn. Bhd. dan Epson Trading (Malaysia)
telah menganjurkan satu program julung
kalinya iaitu Pertandingan Senifoto
Kanak-Kanak: Wajah Jati Malaysia.
Bertemakan Wajah Jati Malaysia,
pertandingan ini bertujuan memberi
penerapan nilai-nilai murni dengan
tiupan jiwa patriotik di kalangan
peserta dan khalayak. Program ini
menekankan konsep potret fotograf.
Ia merupakan antara pengkhususan
dalam disiplin fotograf. Terlebih dahulu
peserta diberi pendedahan berkaitan
konsep asas potret fotograf dan cara
penggunaan kamera digital model
Nikon Coolpix. Apa yang menarik
di dalam pertandingan ini, wajah
penduduk tempatan tanpa mengira
lapisan usia menjadi objek untuk
dirakam. Sesuai dengan wujudnya
teknologi rakaman digital, maka wajah
jati yang menjadi tema ini dapat
dijadikan satu garapan nostalgia pada
masa akan datang.
Program
yang bermula
pada Julai hingga
Ogos 2008 ini telah
melibatkan negeri
Terengganu, Perlis dan
Sabah. Dianggarkan seramai
400 orang pelajar dari 60 buah
sekolah merangkumi pelajar
sekolah menengah dan rendah
telah menyertai pertandingan
ini. Kesemua peserta-peserta
ini mendapat panduan daripada
mentor yang terdiri daripada
kakitangan BSLN dan tunjuk
ajar daripada beberapa jurufoto
profesional.
Sepanjang program
berlangsung, RTM dan TV9
telah membuat liputan
melalui rancangan Panorama
di siaran TV1 dan Adik di 9
terbitan TV9. Program ini telah
dirasmikan oleh Datuk Zabar
Bin Dato Mohd Adib, Pengerusi
Jawatankuasa Pelancongan
Negeri Terengganu. Manakala
majlis perasmian penutup
pertandingan ini akan
berlangsung pada 9 Oktober
2008 di Lobi Utama, Balai Seni
Lukis Negara.
Pertandingan Seni Foto Kanak-Kanak:
Wajah Jati Malaysia I Shamsul Bahari Mohamad Yusof
Menciptakan
hasil karya sebuah
fotograf, dengan
mata dan dirasakan
melalui hati
- Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa.
1 Kategori C Siti Nurul Aida Jusuh
2 Kategori C Nur Fazira Mohd Amin
3 Kategori C Yazlan Hasan
4 Kategori A Abd Hayat Moi
5 Kategori A Faezah
6 Kategori B Nur Ain Nabillah Yusoff
7 Kategori B Nur Asyikin
8 Kategori A Nor Farahana
1 2 3 4 5
7
8
6
SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
9
The 2
nd
International Art Expo Malaysia
2008 promises to be a bigger and grander
affair.
It held at the Matrade Exhibition and
Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur from
November 26 to November 30.
It has attracted artists, art galleries and
art entrepreneurs from 23 countries
displaying some 3,000 artworks taking
up 140 booths. This is new record for an
international art exposition in the country.
Some 350 artists and 49 galleries will be
among the exhibition. The largest foreign
contingent, as was last years, is from
South Korea, who will have 51 artists
from the International Art Cooperative
Organisation.
The countries taking part are Britain,
Cambodia, China, France, Hong Kong,
Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland,
South Korea, Macedonia, Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand,
Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Art Expo Malaysia is only the second
such exposition in
South-east Asia, the other being Art
Singapore.
Several events have been planned to
make the AEM 08 more memorable.
The Patrons and Organising Chairmanxis
touring the art fair on VIP Preview.
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008
For further details, please
contact:
03 7728 3677
012 2016 245
or visit:
www.artexpomalaysia.com
To mark this special occasion, a 360-page commemorative
book is published.
The Art Expo Malaysia is under the patronage of DYTM
Tuanku Raja Puan Muda Perlis, Hajjah Lailatul Shahreen
Akashah Khalil.
The 10 highlights are:
1. Susurmasa (Timelines) 50

anniversary exhibition by the
National Art Gallery Malaysia.
2. Grandmaster Pavilion, featuring museum-class pieces by
world renown Zao Wouki, Li Keran, LiHaisu and Malaysias
own Yong Mun Sen.
3. Advisers Arcade - Special solo exhibitions by AEM advisers
Professor Chung Chen Sun, Cheak Yew Saik, Choong Kam
Kow and Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa.
4. Tribute Pavilion Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal.
5. Henry Butcher Charity Auction Preview. A charity dinner
auction to raise funds for the National Cancer Society
Malaysia and the Tabung Leukaemia Lions Lyfe-Line.
6. Launch of Documentary on the 888 Feet Precious Artwork
to wish the Beijing Olympics 2008 Success, a Special
Project of the AEM.
7. Visualising Rukunegara - An interactive collaboration
between visitors both local and foreign with selected artists
on the fve principle tenets underpinning Malaysian
everyday practices.
8. HeArt Club - Art by a group of children artistic talents.
9. Malaysia Sculpture Now - An exhibition of the fnest of
Malaysian 4-D works.
10. Art talks and demonstrations. Talk on art collecting by Datuk
Dr Tan Chee Khuan and Ooi Kok Chuen, and demonstration
by Macedonian artist Ilina Arsova.
Raja Muda Perlis DYTM Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra
Jamalullail.
From front left: Mary Tang, Vincent Sim
(Organising Chairman), Raja Muda.
Mr. Vincent Sim Tlak Choo is giving speech
during VIP Preview Night.
International
Art Expo Malaysia
2
nd
2008
140 booths taken by art galleries, artists and art media from 23 countries.
9
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
10
T
o enter into conversation with a thematic
statement as concise and as multivalent as
Wonder for a biennale in Singapore, one is
hard pressed to ignore the over-riding ethos that have
shaped and governed a country like Singapore and
how it can delimit the range of responses to a notion
that is as innocent and open.
Rem Koolhaas hints that this is the result of exhaustive
and far-reaching developmental programming, known
as Asian modernity, which has produced a nation
based on a systematic constructedness, one in which
newness and progress is so totalising that even its
sense of history is inevitably articulated in these
deterministic terms as artifce.
Thus to programmatically read Wonder as an
experience that could potentially introduce an
element of indeterminacy into a cultural space such
as Singapore, in which randomness is completely
eradicated, one cannot but feel that what is offered
as wonder in this latest incarnation of the Singapore
Biennale might be a calculated experience, safely
elicited from the concepts association with chance or
probability, ft for general consumption.
It is not surprising that quite a number of selected
works are purely optical tease, almost like magic tricks
or sleight of the hand productions, designed to elicit a
sense of amazement and just that. Some examples: The
pretension and posturing of a foating Wittgenstein text
in an aquarium tank flled with water. A sandy feld
stuck with little black cut outs resembling a forest of
trees that was painted with colour on its fip side. The
mis-translation of a light projection Beware of God,
almost irrelevant in a country that (still Asian) cannot,
by large, appreciate the artworks postmodern irony. Of
course the Biennale claims to offer more.
What I am interested in is an alternative reading of
Wonder, which the curatorial statement invokes,
promising a thematic radicalism. Reading wonder as
a verb, could suggest a provocative agency, suggesting
curiosity or the ability to doubt thus to wonder aloud
is a questioning response.
Interestingly enough, Malaysian works chosen for
the Biennale do indeed push the envelop in this
direction a little further than many of the other works.
Perhaps in choosing these works, a form of curatorial
displacement is unconsciously articulated, from the
apolitical Singapore to the socially engaged neighbour.
Positioned in close proximity, artworks by Nadiah
Bamadhaj, Liew Kung Yu and Sherman Ong formed
an axis that was engaging enough to challenge the
prevalent lull of the apolitical aestheticism at work in
the City Hall, a historical building designated for the
new National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2013.
Nadiah Bamadhajs works included her video Beyond
Recognition as well as a number of her paper collages
from her recent solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur,
Surveillance. From the conscription of landscape as a
textual tabula rasa through which colonial discourses
are written upon (in Beyond Recognition) to the
examination of Malaysian built environments as a
programmatic structure that delimits the formation of
specifc identities (from Surveillance), Nadiahs works
vigilantly probe at the discursive labour of man upon
his environment on the assumption that neutral spaces,
even in nature, do not exist. Wonder in this instance
is a disciplined examination of the cracks and anxiety
that allows us to expose the artifce that governs our
limited subjectivities.
Sherman Ong, who resides in Singapore permanently,
presented a video narrative, Banjir Kemarau (Flooding
in the Time of Drought), which comprises of vignettes
revealing a not too distant dystopian future when
foreigners make up forty percent of Singapores
population and the nation is faced with an imminent
drought as water supply is running out. Structuring
the conversations amongst his subjects (who never
meet and whose stories develop within their own
ethnic boundaries) along the formula of a patient
singular static shot, he creates a theatrical stage in
which the banal and the quotidian dramas are given
weight. Through this gravity, he manages to weave
these different strands of concerns into an absorbing
account of the fuidity as well as the impasse of human
relationship, as a common threat looms across the
minds of the individual characters struggling to cope
with living in a foreign country.
Liew Kung Yu recycles his practices affectation
of Malaysian cultural signifers towards a cynical
replication, in Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang, of a
kitsch aesthetic that sought not only to amuse but also
to expose the excessive garishness of our national
visual language. Drawing elements of the Malaysiana
into a constructed image plane, the installation
regurgitates our nations limiting vocabulary of the
spectacular in a pronouncement that intensifes the
absurdity and vulgarity of such designs and through
its spectacle, its wonder, exposes the ideological
underpinnings of our visual culture.
But this awareness of the social and the curiosity of
Malaysian artists that led them towards articulating
such concerns in their art are nothing new to
Malaysian contemporary art. In fact one could argue
that to some extent, certain methodologies and
models within this discourse have already exhausted
themselves in the two decade long history in local art
development. But what could be its signifcance in the
Singapore Biennale?
I suspect that the impossibility of such agency in a
country like Singapore could very well have been
displaced curatorially, so that Malaysia could be the
neighbouring cousin onto which is projected the
possibilities of contestation, enactment, critique. They
perform what is promised but sorely lacking in the
2nd Singapore Biennale, wonder (to doubt, to wonder
aloud) as an aesthetic means to rethink and relook.
Review of Singapore Biennale I Simon Soon
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
11
of the specifcity of the video as a medium while at the same
time looks at the depth of the Malay psychic. This results dynamic
video works that could be located on several levels of reading and
critique. It subtlety invokes lessons for cultural re-examination of
Malay identity amidst the rapid technological change induced by
the wave of globalization and deals with the effects of cross-cultural
paradox with the introduction of telecommunication technology.
Meanwhile Niranjan Rajah is a conceptual artist that made a
trajectory to the Internet medium. He deals with sharp ideas of
representation by carefully relocating the mainstream art practice,
theory and history into the hypertext modes of representation.
Through the use of multimedia technology, he reiterates the ready
made iconic images from historical and cultural junctures to
question the meaning of art. This depth of questioning is strongly
rooted within his strength of knowledge in art history and theory,
adding layers of meaning and context to his works.
T
he initiative to present Niranjan
Rajah and Hasnul Jamal Saidon
as part of ISEA 08 derives from
the necessity to highlight the signifcant
contributions of these artists to the
development of electronic art in the
South East Asia at a time when ISEA is
making its debut in this region. Founded
in the Netherlands in 1990, the Inter-
Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA) is
an international nonproft organization
fostering interdisciplinary academic
discourse and exchange among
culturally diverse organizations and
individuals working with art, science
and emerging technologies.
This exhibition is conceived under
the sub-theme of locating media
of ISEA 08 as the curator attempts
to recall and relocate their works
amidst the evolving global discourse
of electronic and new media arts.
Indeed this exhibition highlights the
broad and concerted efforts of both
artists in constructing, deconstructing
and reconstructing the relationships of
art, culture and technology in order to
locate the emerging new media within
non-western art practice, and inversely,
to locate non-western electronic arts on
the global platform. This exhibition fts
coherently with the aims and ambitions
of ISEA in expanding to become a
meaningful global symposium that
engages with diverse perspectives
and narratives on electronic arts. The
exhibition is named relocations to
characterize the critical repositioning
in the works of these artists as well
as to symbolize the idea of curating
new media in the constant fux of
redefnitions and questioning that is
apparent contemporary electronic art.
Building upon the insights of visionary
Malaysian artist and theorist, Ismail
Zain, Hasnul and Niranjan endeavored
to explore, understand and locate new
media technology amidst the cultural
and social realities of Malaysia and
South East Asia in the mid 1990s. The
exhibition recalls the efforts of the artists
by relocating their contributions during
this period within the global narrative of
electronic art as well as presenting their
recent works.
Hasnul Jamal Saidon is a video artist
who explores his medium in terms of
contemporary Malay socio cultural
context. He displays an acute awareness
Left:
Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Fictional Dialogue
Computer Animation In Video Projection On Corner of
Gallery Wall
1997
Right:
Niranjan Rajah, Video Refux
Website/Installation
2007
Relocations I Roopesh Sitharan
The exhibition had online:
http://www.12as12.com/relocations and offine
(gallery space) presence. Although these two spaces
are paradoxical and contrast in nature to each other,
but these aspects are relevant in presenting the works
of the artists, both conceptually and logistically.
The online and offine exhibition conceived in an
interdependent format through the use of web-
cam and online video technology. The exhibition
successfully highlight the integrated efforts by
Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Niranjan Rajah as they laid
foundation for future New Media artist from the non-
western part of the world-be it in the form of artistic
practice or intellectual inquiry. For the exhibition
catalog, please get in touch with:
Gallery 12 at 03-4023 4128.
Electronic Art of Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Nirajan Rajah.
A partner exhibition of ISEA08, Singapore.
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
12
S
eni Lukis Kontemporari kini bukan
lagi hanya berpusat di bandar-
bandar besar dunia seni seperti
New York dan London yang dikatakan
art centre malah sejak sepuluh tahun
kebelakangan ini dengan meletusnya
ekonomi di Asia seperti di Asia Timur,
Asia Barat dan Asia Tenggara ia telah
menular apa yang dikatakan dunia
seni sebagai kawasan periphery atau
pinggiran seni. Malah menurut dari
sumber yang dikeluarkan oleh rumah
lelongan seni kontemporari Christies
dan Sotheby bandaraya pasaran seni
selepas New York dan London sebelum
ini di tempat ketiga terletak di Paris
kini telah bertukar arah ke Hong Kong
dimana Paris jatuh ditangga keempat.
Artworld kini telah melangkaui
sempadan geograf yang mana dahulu
dianggap sebagai seni orang Barat kini
lebih bersifat antarabangsa, dengan
kewujudan media baru seperti internet
dalam menyampaikan maklumat
perkembangan seni semasa.
Media atas talian atau online seperti
.com dan .net kini telah menjadi
budaya popular yang baru dalam
urbanisasi bagi masyarakat bandaran
yang mementingkan kepantasan
maklumat. Jika dahulu masyarakat
hanya boleh mencapai maklumat
selain berkomunikasi secara lisan,
kemudian menerusi media massa
secara cetak seperti suratkhabar dan
majalah sebelum munculnya media
elektronik secara visual dan verbal
seperti radio dan televisyen. Mungkin
inilah yang diperkatakan oleh Walter
Benjamin dalam esei yang mengegarkan
seni dan budaya pada zamannya iaitu
The Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproduction pada 1937 dimana
katanya Penyalinan semula dengan
penggunaan jentera terhadap karya seni,
walaubagaimanapun kini merupakan
sesuatu yang baru. Ia membuka sejarah
baru dan merupakan satu lompatan
ke satu era baru tetapi yang lebih
mempercepatkan dan melajukan
kegiatan seni.
Penulisan Benjamin dikatakan telah
melangkaui zamannya sehinggakan
idea-ideanya masih segar bersama seni
kontemporari yang masih hidup hingga
ke hari ini dengan pelbagai genre-
genre yang lahir dari bentuk baru seni
halus seperti seni persembahan, seni
pemasangan, seni video, seni digital.
Saya merasakan mungkin dari petikan di
atas tadi itu juga telah menjadi sumber
ilham dan insprasi bagi Warhol dalam
menggunakan teknik sutera saring
silksreen ke dalam hasil karya seninya
dengan menamakannya sebagai fast
painting. Walaupun begitu dalam
esei ini saya lebih berminat untuk
mempertemukan tentang bagaimana
penyalinan semula imej yang
diperkatakan oleh Benjamin tadi dan
bukannya untuk dieksploitasikan oleh
artis tetapi tujuannya ialah kepada
masyarakat atau khalayak seni dalam
melajukan kegiatan seni disini.
Bercakap tentang kelajuan kegiatan
seni kita tidak boleh mengelak daripada
membicarakan tentang perkongsian
maklumat secara atas talian di dalam
internet. Salah satu contoh enjin
pencari maklumat seni bervideo adalah
YouTube, disini adalah tidak perlu bagi
saya untuk memperincikan mengenai
siapa pengasas atau penciptanya tetapi
apa yang penting adalah fungsinya
dalam mendekatkan jarak melihat
pameran yang terletak diberibu-
ribu batu jauhnya dari tempat kita
disini. Walaupun cara persembahan
didalam paparan terutamanya dari
segi pergerakan kameranya dianggap
masih amatur tetapi menurut seorang
artis konseptual New York iaitu Lucas
Samaras yang menyatakan bahawa
walaupun ia iaitu kameranya bergerak
secara gerila tetapi ia lebih jujur dengan
apa yang diperlihatkan kepada audien.
Dalam memenuhi ketandusan media
cetak seni lukis dalam menyampaikan
maklumat seni terkini, ia telah
mendorong pelancaran sebuah laman
web info seni dalam bentuk video yang
berkonsepkan seperti YouTube iaitu
yang dinamakan sebagai SeniArt.Info
http://www.seniart.info. Laman web
yang berbentuk tv web ini memberi
fokusnya empat pemain yang utama
dalam dunia seni lukis itu sendiri iaitu
artis, galeri, kurator dan kolektor. Walau
dimanapun dunia seni itu muncul
namun pemain-pemain inilah yang telah
dan akan mengerakkan kitaran seni itu
sendiri terutamanya yang menghidupkan
enjin-enjin kegiatan dan program-
program yang berlaku di sekitar Lembah
Klang.
Selain pembukaan dan perasmian
pameran artis secara solo atau
berkumpulan, kandungan di dalam SeniArt.Info meliputi juga bicara seni dan
jelajah pameran bersama kurator, wacana dengan ahli akademik dan penyelidik
seni, koleksi kolektor. Tidak adil sekiranya fokus SeniArt.Info terhadap aktiviti artistik
seni lukis di Malaysia hanya berlegar-legar dibandaraya Kuala Lumpur dan tidak di
kawasan-kawasan lain jadi disini saya menggunakan nama yang sinonim dengannya
iaitu Lembah Klang iaitu kawasan bandar-bandar utama yang terletak di atas laluan
Sungai Kelang seperti Hulu Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah
Alam dan sehinggalah berakhir di muaranya iaitu Klang. Lembah Klang tidak boleh
disamakan dengan New York kerana mereka mempunyai pusat-pusat seni utama
seperti di kawasan Chelsea, SoHo, Lower East Side dan Broklyn jadi mereka perlu
kepada pembahagian-pembahagian itu.
Kemampuan suara baru di era digital ini mampu untuk melajukan kegiatan seni
terutamanya seni lukis kontemporari. Media digital ini bukan sekadar membuka
wadah baru dan diharap ia dapat mengimbangi media penyiaran arus perdana
yang lebih berminat dalam memberi ruang yang luas seluasnya kepada seni popular
seperti rancangan muzik di stesen-stesen mereka. Semoga media alternatif dalam
memprojekkan kegiatan seni kontemporari ini satu hari nanti akan menjadi satu siri
yang dinanti-nantikan seperti juga hiburan popular yang lain.
SeniArt.Info: Suara Baru
Seni Kontemporari di Lembah Klang I Faizal Sidik
http://www.seniart.info
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
13
ANDERSON & LOW
Anderson & Low are currently
working on a ground-breaking new body of
colour work around the concepts of
identity, culture, and costume
that explores a hybrid art-form
involving photography, graphics, and
calligraphy. This exciting new project, drawing
heavily on contemporary youth culture, was
conceived and photographed in Malaysia, and is being
curated and prepared for an exclusive premiere presentation
at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia (Balai
Seni Lukis Negara) in 2009.
T
he Icons exhibition at Wei-
Ling Gallery marks Zulkifi
Yusofs (b.1962) frst local solo
exhibition in eight years. Given his fame
for pioneering installation art or the
quality of his expressionistic painting
and sculptures, the National Art Gallery
has regularly featured his work in its
thematic exhibitions. For a younger
generation art audience like me, it was a
chance to fnally witness the full fnesse
of, what I would regard as, a tiger in
the jungles of Malaysian art.
Reading from the handsome hardback
tome launched in tandem with the
show, I was duly impressed with the fact
that even before graduating from UiTM,
this Kedahan had already captured top
prize for the National Art Galleries
Young Contemporaries Awards in 1988.
By 1997, Zulkifi was at his prime. His
magnum opus Dialogue 2: Dont Play
During Maghrib was a colossal 16 x 20
x 10 meters mixed media installation
that bought him to the prestigious 47
th

Venice Biennale and was shown as
part of the Modernities and Memories:
recent works from the Islamic world
exhibition.
It was at this pinnacle of his professional
international artistic career that Yusoff
made a long retreat into the gardens of
Academia. His dedication to teaching
at UPSI also led to another grand honor
as he became the frst person to be
awarded the National Academic Award
in the visual art category in 2007. As
such, Zulklif Yusof is a shining example
of the alpha artist who actively passes
on his proven skills to the younger
generation. This professional sacrifce
counters two major myths. One is the
negative adage that those who can, do;
and those who cannot, teach. The other
relates to the image of the avant garde
who has to constantly rebels against
any institutions and runs alone or in just
in small packs. His success refects the
possibilities of making positive changes
from within the system.
With this new production of 10
paintings and 6 hanging sculptures at
Wei-Ling Gallery, Yusoff fully re-emerges
into the savage felds of contemporary
art. Can he survive or thrive as
successfully as a decade before?
The intelligent tiger patiently observes
its prey before the kill. Over the years,
Zulkifi Yusof has moved on to develop a
systematic formula that follows the steps
of reading, thinking, and researching
before making the product (rTrP). His
Icons: Zulkifi Yusoff I Daniel Chong
(Details) Zulkifi Yusof, Different Culture
2008
(Details) Zulkifi Yusof, Dari Mata Turun Ke Hati I
2008
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
14
study of Frank Swettenhams Malays
Sketches (1895) forms the basis for a
series that features a variety of icons
salvaged from archival images. In their
original form, historical image, texts
and objects are usually left on their
own gathering dust. The artist here
thoroughly
revitalizes
them
through
various
juxtapositions that can lead to readings
that are both profound and comical
at the same time. The unique blend
of Pop, Expressionistic and modern
digital graphic aesthetic the artist has
concocted also explains the strong
energy the paintings exude. For an
art historical reference point, imagine
the Warholesque family portraits of
Redza Piyadasa charged with a high
dose of Nirmala Shanmughalingam or
Rauschenberg.
Despite the
muted
colours
and the
minimal
presence
of
painterly
gestures,
the series
can have
unsettling
effects when
viewed in one
sitting. Perhaps it is
the complexities of
the compositions, or
the way the silkscreened
photos of spears, banana
fower and other objects often
morphed into violent abstractions.
With the countrys current restless
political situation and the many
tumultuous effects of Industrialization
and Post-Colonialism still reverberating
throughout the world, it makes sense
then that these paintings will not make
easy living room decorations but
important contributions to a healthy
debate on Malaysian society and
culture.
Thankfully there are also the sculptures
to serve as vital counterpoints. Whereas
the different binaries states in the 2D
paintings and their rich meanings
require viewers to look actively for
a sense of balance and harmony, the
sculptures are calming in the simplicity
of their shapes and the way they
suspend in mid-air. As fascinating as
it was to rediscover the many images
Yusoff has uncovered, I eventually
realize that these sculptures are the
real icons of the show. As time moves
forward and leaves all famous people,
objects, events and places behind,
what is most easily passed on to the
future is the essence of our past. If the
2D paintings are powerful in the way
they stimulate questions on identity and
memory, the 3D works seem to quietly
call for us to see the world from all sides
and remind us to hold on to the basic
humanistic lessons of history.
In a work entitled Bobby, the text in
the catalogue states that the artist
regards this painting as a warning for
the Malaysian flm industry, a message
to wake up before history repeats itself.
On reading this, I realize that our tiger
is also facing such dangers of extinction
as the digital revolution and commercial
capitalistic graphics dominate our
current visual environment. As open to
internet research and digital media as
the brave Yusoff is, this tiger and many
others have not fully embraced new
media and are living in a fast shrinking
jungle. The google fact is that icons
today means tiny graphic symbols on
electronic devices. More ironic was
that his monumental 240 x 240 cm
canvas piece was still smaller than the
laser printed PVC canvas advertising
his exhibition outside the gallery. It is
thus clear to me that something urgent
must be done before our artists and art
become nothing but curiosities in a zoo.
Without abandoning the challenges of
reality, I hope Malaysians artists will
further explore the limitless planes of
cyberspace and the many opportunities
for a creative existence there.
Lokasi : Balai Seni Lukis Negara
Tarikh : 15 April 2008
Sejak ditubuhkan pada tahun 1958,
Balai Seni Lukis Negara (BSLN)
berperanan sebagai penyokong dan
pendukung kuat perkembangan
seni lukis moden Malaysia. Bukan
hanya menerusi program-program
yang dianjurkannya seperti
pameran dan pertandingan seni,
malah menerusi usaha mengumpul,
memulihara dan memperagakan
karya-karya seni lukis. Bersempena
dengan sambutan ulangtahun Jubli
Emas 50 tahun BSLN, telah di
adakan satu pameran mega iaitu
SUSURMASA yang julung-julung
kalinya di dalam lipatan sejarah
BSLN menampilkan sebanyak 3700
koleksi dari pelbagai bidang karya
untuk dipamerkan kepada khayalak.
Pameran ini dipaparkan mengikut
semasa iaitu era Prasejarah Dan
Peribumi, Empayar Pelayaran Dan
Perdagangan, Warkah Berlukis,
Jelita Malaya, Karya Ikonik dan
Kontemporari Dan Idea Baru.
Lokasi : Padang Merdeka,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tarikh : 1 Jun 2008
Perayaan Majlis Rumah Terbuka
Malaysia Tadau Kaamatan tahun
2008 mengetengahkan satu pesta
seni dan budaya yang berteraskan
perpaduan dan kebahagiaan
dalam satu suasana harmoni yang
kaya dengan pelbagai kesenian
tradisi masyarakat Sabah, dengan
dirai dan dinikmati oleh semua
lapisan masyarakat. Penglibatan
BSLN adalah menerusi aktiviti
Pertandingan Mewarna, Seni Kolaj
dan Seni Arca. Aktiviti ini, mendapat
sambutan yang menggalakkan dari
pengunjung yang hadir di kalangan
kanak-kanak, pelajar sekolah dan
ibubapa.
Lokasi : Potters Fields Park,
London & Galeri La
Gallaria, Pall Mall,
London
Tarikh : 30 Julai - 3 Ogos 2008
Penglibatan BSLN menerusi program
Minggu Malaysia 08 di Potters
Fields Park, London merupakan
suatu ruang dan peluang dalam
melonjakkan peranannya sebagai
institusi seni yang terunggul
dan sebagai satu penghormatan
kepada sambutan Jubli Emas 50
tahun BSLN. Kesempatan ini turut
memberi laluan kepada BSLN
mengadakan pameran bertemakan
SEMESTA di Galeri La Galleria Pall
Mall. Ternyata pameran ini telah
berupaya meletakkan hasil karya
pelukis tempatan di tahap yang
lebih berprestij.
Lokasi : Anjung Lepa,
Bandar Baru II,
Semporna, Sabah
Tarikh : 18 - 20 April 2008
Penyertaan Cawangan Promosi
dan Pemasaran menerusi Program
Merakyatkan Seni, sempena
Perayaan Regatta Lepa ke 15
dilihat sebagai satu mekanisme
yang terbaik dalam usaha untuk
mempromosikan BSLN ke segenap
rantau dan ragam masyarakat.
Pengisian seperti pameran lukisan
pelukis Sabah, permainan, interaktif
dan demonstrasi seni lukis telah
menjadi tarikan utama BSLN
dikunjungi ramai pelawat dari
pelbagai peringkat umur.
(Details) Zulkifi Yusof, Dari Mata Turun Ke Hati II
2008
Program BSLN I
Perasmian Susurmasa Program Majlis Rumah Terbuka
Malaysia Tadau Kaamatan
Program Minggu Malaysia 08 Program Merakyatkan Seni
Sempena Perayaan Regatta Lepa
Lokasi : Balai Seni Lukis Negara
Tarikh : 28 Ogos 2008
Himpunan tetap Balai Seni Lukis
Negara mengandungi karya terbaik
pelukis tempatan dan luar Negara
yang dihasilkan seawal abad ke-
19 hingga kini. Karya yang dipilih
untuk dijadikan setem berdasarkan
perwakilan kepada tema fgurative
dan landskap yang dipersembahkan
dalam gaya seperti realisme,
eksperesionisme dan kubisme.
Pelukis yang diberi penghormatan
untuk Majlis Pelancaran Setem
Khazanah Seni Visual Negara ini
adalah Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal
menerusi Karya Semangat Ledang,
Mendiang Datuk Chuah Thean Teng
menerusi Karya Musim Buah dan
Abdul Latiff Mohidin menerusi Karya
Pago-Pago. Majlis turut diserikan
dengan upacara memotong kek
ulang tahun Jubli Emas BSLN dan
pelancaran Buku SUSURMASA.
Perasmian Majlis Pelancaran
Setem Khazanah Seni Visual
Negara
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
15
I never really got down to write an artist statement
because there is always too much to say and explain
at any given time (I will much rather talk).
To paint is a lifes choice.
I think that if we were all responsible
enough to make life decisions we
should be able to justify our actions
with what drives us. Mine is painting.
For me, painting is my process of
making an experience either in an
emotion or a story. By placing images
together and reworking them to
assemble observations and thoughts on
the canvas.
It may not have much impact on
changing the way the world thinks with
the kind of exposure art can afford. But
I guess we will never know for sure
when, we can only plan against the
arbiter, Life.
In the absence of guilt, 2008
Marvin
Chan
Cover Artwork : Artist
Program Merakyatkan Seni (PMS)
Majlis Rumah Terbuka Malaysia
Gawai, Dayak 2008
Program Bersama Pelanggan, Kota
Bharu, Kelantan
Program Festival Flora 2008
Lokasi : Stadium Perpaduan,
Kuching, Sarawak
Tarikh : 14 Jun 2008
Mengambil pendekatan dengan
Konsep Rumah Ruai adalah
paparan kepada program PMS kali
ini. Program ini turut memberi
peluang kepada BSLN untuk
mengendalikan aktiviti pertandingan
Seni Arca menggunakan bahan-
bahan terbuang disamping aktiviti
pertandingan seni lukis untuk
kanak-kanak dan seni kolaj. Aktiviti
ini mendapat sambutan yang
menggalakkan daripada kanak-
kanak dan pelajar-pelajar sekolah
yang datang.
Lokasi : Padang Perdana,
Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Tarikh : 11 - 13 July 2008
Balai Seni Lukis Negara yang
diterajui oleh Bahagian Perhubungan
Korporat telah mengadakan Hari
Bertemu Pelanggan sempena
Program Jiranku Keluargaku yang
dianjurkan oleh Kementerian
Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Kesenian
dan Warisan. Bahagian Perhubungan
Awam BSLN mengambil peluang
ini, mendapatkan maklumbalas dari
pengunjung yang berminat tentang
seni, disamping menyediakan
borang soal-selidik kepada orang
ramai dan memberikan keterangan
serta pendedahan berkaitan dengan
BSLN.
Lokasi : Berjaya Times Square
Tarikh : 28 Jun - 14 Julai 2008
Bertemakan fora-fauna bermula
pada 28 Jun hingga 14 Julai 2008
bertempat di Berjaya Times Square.
Pameran ini turut didokongi dengan
kerjasama pelbagai pihak lain seperti
ASFON, FUJI FILM MALAYSIA dan
Tourism Malaysia.
Lokasi : Universiti Teknologi
Petronas
Tarikh : 4 - 5 Ogos 2008
BSLN turut memperluaskan
jaringan komunikasi ke pusat-
pusat pengajian tinggi menerusi
penyertaan di dalam Minggu
Apresiasi Seni dan Budaya yang
diadakan di Universiti Teknologi
Petronas, Tronoh. Usaha ini dilihat
sebagai satu pendekatan yang
positif kerana mempromosi dan
menyerlahkan peranan BSLN kepada
pelbagai kumpulan sasaran.
Program Apresiasi Seni dan
Budaya
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
16
Contemporary Art in Schools (CAIS) Project in Sekolah
Menengah Stella Maris, Jln Robertson, off Jln Pudu. Kuala
Lumpur. (30th Aug to 6th September 2008)
This project intends to open the door of contemporary art to students, by
allowing them to experience as well as to understand the creative imagination of
contemporary artists in a closer view. Ever since the popularity of Modern Art, art
has evolved into two major tendencies, that is the expanding of aesthetic context
(e.g. absurd, fashionable, favorable and etc) and the developing of art form (e.g.
photography, flm making, internet and etc) with especially the combination of
art with different disciplines such as psychology, mass communication, sociology
and so on, which results in the various
and diverse forms of arts in creative
connotation.
Hence the curatorial committee has
invited artists to participate in this
exhibition and organize several related
activities such as guided tours, artists
presentation and art talks during the
exhibition with the intention of creating
an environment that refects the
contemporary art scene and a journey
of humanities for the audience. The
objectives of this entire project are to
provide an educational platform for
contemporary art and artists. The second
is to create an audience participatory
exhibition space and fnally to encourage
exchange and interaction.
The signifcance of CAIS is valued in the
method in which the next generation is reached, informed and educated about the
importance of contemporary art. The project sets an atmosphere and experience
unlike that of traditional gallery, but rather a location where students get to coexists
with the artworks daily, allowing them to simply engaged with the artworks on a
regular basis in a familiar environment. In addition to that, a series of activities was
held to provide the audience insights into the identity of contemporary art. Artists
involved in this project are Ahmad Fuad Osman, Amanda Heng (Singapore) Au
Sow Yee, Chang Yong Chia & Teoh Ming Wah, Chuah Chong Yong, Dean Linguey
(Australia) Erica Eaton (USA), Fahmi Fadzil & Azmyl Yunor, Kok Siew Wai, Lim Kok
Yong, Low Yi Chin, Ooi Kooi Hin, Shia Yih Ying, Tengku Sabri & Mastura Abdul
Rahman, Vincent Leong, Wong Hoy Cheong and the Stella Maris secondary school
community.
Activities I
Pavilion KL Promotes Environmental Awareness through
Recycled Art Kuala Lumpur. (10 to 14 October 2008)
In an effort to promote
awareness of environmental
conservation, Pavilion Kuala
Lumpur (Pavilion KL), National
Art Gallery Malaysia and
The Star are proud to present
an art exhibition titled Art
With A Heart 2008 a
festival using Art as a form of
expression. Hence, this festival
is aptly themed, Re-creation:
Art and Sustainability. This
festival proves that we can
effectively communicate an
important message artistically
with a loving and caring
attitude. Artists who took part
include MistaWhy, They, Tan
Hui Koon, Nuriman Manap,
Khairul Shoib @ MEME,
Tan See Ling, Maslin Ramly,
Zila Zain, Lisa Foo and Mah
SuSim. The art exhibition
hosted at Bintang Circle (level
2), Pavilion KL from the 8 to
14 October 2008 features selected art pieces and sculptures of Malaysians artists
and art students from four local colleges using mainly recycled materials. Their
works prove that a piece of waste can be turned into something more meaningful
and priceless.
Art pieces displayed at the exhibition have been put on sale to help raise funds
for organisations and bodies which support nature conservation and sustainable
development. We would like to urge concerned organizations and individuals
to donate generously by purchasing these high quality art pieces. Most of the art
pieces are specially made for this festival.
There was also an art competition and a contest on October 11 for children from 7
to 12 years old using mainly recycled materials. These activities are meant to raise
the profle of artists in Malaysia and to promote both recycling and art development
in the country.
Vivaldi-The four Seasons by Thota Tharani at Artspace,
The Gallery. (2008)
Art in India has always been
inspired, synthesized and presented
in classical, folk and contemporary
styles. ARTSPACE THE GALLERY
intends to exhibit the whole range
and richness of Indian art while also
hosting cultural activities in Malaysia
and other countries in the region,
including Australia and New Zealand.
This inaugural show brings to Kuala
Lumpur from Chennai the celebrated
Indian artist-director Thota Tharani.
His works allow artists, critics and
connoisseurs of Indian Art and south
Indian cinema and insight into the
creativity Thota Tharani has injected
onto the silver screen and canvas.
Palestine! Art exhibition
2008
Art is the expression of ideas of
an individual for the other. The
art works offer an opportunity to
enter into an exchange with the
viewer, a non verbal dialogue.
Art is communication beyond the
borders of language. Thus, this
exhibition offers the viewer the possibility to engage in a dialogue with the artists
on a particular subject, which is Palestine.
The Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI) hopes that this exhibition, as an
expression of Malaysian support on the International Day of Solidarity with the
Palestinian People on 29 Nov 2008, will resonate in the viewers minds and
translate into active support of the Palestinian cause in the search for justice and
peace. After 60 years of dispossession, bloodshed and suffering, after 40 years of
harsh Israeli military occupation, the Palestinians deserve to live as free citizens in
their own viable state of Palestine, and the frst step for this is an end of the Israeli
occupation and siege of the West Bank and Gaza.
Artists who took part are Avroco, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Azliza Ayob, Kamal Sabran,
Aisyah Baharuddin, RAT, Saiful Razman, Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Rahmat Haron
and many others.
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
17
1. TENG: Satu Penghargaan
TENG: An Appreciation
RM 70.00
2. SUSURMASA - Senilukis
Malaysia Bersama 50 Tahun
Balai Seni Lukis Negara
Timelines - Malaysian Art With
50 Years National Art Gallery
RM 100.00
3. KOLEKSI SAYA : Rahime Harun
RM 70.00
4. Masterpieces From The
National Art Gallery Of
Malaysia 2002
RM 150.00
5. Bapa Seni Lukis Moden
Malaysia
Father Of Modern Art In
Malaysia
Abdullah Ariff 1904-2004
RM 120.00
6. Antara Merdeka
RM 35.00
All publication can be purchased at
the Gallery Shop located at National
Art Gallery.
For enquiries please email to
osmi@artgallery.gov.my
National Art Gallery Publication
1
4
2
5
3
6
ARTIST MEMBERSHIP
Artist Membership is open to professional visual artists working in any media.
Coming
Soon..
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
Datuk Chuah Thean Teng or Teng as he is known the world over, passed away
peacefully on the 25th of November 2008 at his residence cum art gallery,
Yahong Gallery in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. Celebrated as the Father of Modern
Batik Painting, Teng shot to international prominence and put the then Malaya
on the map of the art world in the late 1950s when he single handedly
transformed Batik, an indigenous craft of this region into a new form of modern
fne art. Born in the province of Fujian, China in 1912, Teng came to Malaya
at the age of 18 and settled on the Isle of Penang. He dabbled in many trades
before deciding on becoming a visual artist. He formed the famous Penang
Art Studio (1960-61) with his illustrious contemporaries the late Kuo Ju Ping
and Tan Choon Ghee where they taught and shared ideas and skills with many
students who went on to become well known artists today.
He was honored with a rare solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery, Kuala
Lumpur in 1965 and was also the frst Malaysian to have his artwork entitled
Two of a kind 1965 selected by UNICEF to be printed as greeting cards in
1968. A pioneer of a new approach to a timeless medium, Teng was also well
known for his subject matters, which focuses exclusively on local peasants,
proletariat and the charming life of kampung living. His style of painting
was infuenced by Pablo Picasso and later by Paul Gauguin. Since his frst
successful solo exhibition of his unique batik paintings in Penang in 1955
followed by Singapore (1956) and later Kuala Lumpur (1957), he has exhibited
extensively oversea in countries like United Kingdom, the United States, Japan,
Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Vietnam and
numerous others.

The National Art Gallery of Malaysia is to honor him again as a gesture of
appreciation and mark of respect to his outstanding contributions to art and
culture with an exhibition entitled Teng: Malaysia, My Inspiration which will
showcase many of his early works in various mediums and his batik paintings.
The exhibition is open to the public from December 2008 till February 2009.
The National Art Gallery offers its deepest condolences to the family of the late
Datuk Chuah Thean Teng. May God bless his soul and may he rest in peace.
Malaysia has truly lost an extraordinary artist and an outstanding patriot whose
ingenuity forged a visual language that combines the best of east and west,
of craft and art, both indigenous and international, one that we and future
generations to come can proudly claim as truly Malaysian.
Datuk Chuah Thean Teng leaves behind three sons Chuah Siew Teng, Chuah
Seow Keng and Choy Siew Kek who are all established artists in their own right
and two daughters Eva Chuah Geh and Chuah Geh Bee. He was 96 years of
age.
The Passing
of a Giant
of Modern
Malaysian
Art
1912 - 2008
18
ISSUE #00 | NOV / DEC 2008 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
19
UTSAV 2008
Artspace, Bangsar
17 November - 31 December 2008
11pm - 7pm
DRAWING THE LINE:
SCULPTURES BY AMIN GULGEE
Galeri PETRONAS, KLCC
25 November 2008 - 18 January 2009
10am - 8pm (closed Monday)
LIMADANSATU
Kebun Mimpi Gallery, Bangsar
23 November - 21 December 2008
12noon - 8pm
(closed on Monday & Public Holidays)
CROSSING BY YEOH KEAN THAI
Shalini Ganendra Fine Art,
The Private Gallery
11 December - 21 December 2008
By Appointment Only
THE YEAR THAT WAS
Wei-Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
1 December - 29 December 2008
12pm - 7pm : Monday - Friday
10am-5pm : Saturday
By Appointment : Sunday
HERE AND NOW
Pace Gallery, Petaling Jaya
12 December - 26 December 2008
11am - 7pm
EXHIBITION OF SASARAN
INTERNATIONAL ART
WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
Exhibition Hall, Wisma SGM
21 December - 28 December 2008
11am - 6pm
LOCALS ONLY
Gallerie TAKSU, Kuala Lumpur
15 January - 29 January 2009
10am - 6pm : Monday - Saturday
By Appointment : Sunday
(Closed on Public Holidays)
RBS-MALIHOM ARTIST-IN-
RESIDENCE PROGRAMME
EXHIBITION
Royal Bank of Scotland Gallery, Penang
9 December - 18 December 2008
930am - 4.30pm : Monday - Friday
(Closed on weekends)
THE 2ND PUTRAJAYA
NATIONAL WATERCOLOUR
COMPETITION: 2007/08
The Annexe @ Central Market
26 November - 14 December 2008
11am - 7pm
Commonwealth
Foundation
Culture Programme
Commonwealth Foundaton
Marlborough House
Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HY
United Kingdom
Tel + 44(0) 207930 3783
Fax+44(0) 20 7839 8157
Email e.dcosta@commonwealth.int
Web www.commonwealthfoundaton.com
The residencies aim to increase mutual understanding between people from
diferent cultures through artstc exchange, and give up and coming artsts
opportunites to learn skills that help them develop their livehoods as artst.
In 2009 the Commonwealth Connectons residency programme (previously the
Commonwealth Arts and Crafs Awards) will enable promising visual artsts from
Commonwealth countries to spend tme developing their art and sharing their
practce in onother Commonwealth country.
All professional visual artsts from Commonwealth countries are eligble to apply
for the 2009 Commonwealth Connectons residency programme. For the frst
tme photography and performance art are eligible categories.
The dateline for receipt of applicatons is 1 march 2009 and six residencies,
worth up to 8,000 each, will be awarded for periods of between three and nine
months.
Commonwealth Foundaton
We are an intergovernmental organizaton supportng the work of charites, not
for proft and non-governmental organisatons, culture practtoners and other
part of civil society in the areas of human development, culture, communites
and livelihoods and governance and democracy. The Foundaton is supported
by Commonwealth governments, and raises additonal funds from insttutons,
corporate donors and individuals to support its growing work programme.
For further informaton, please visit:
www.commonwealthfoundaton.com/artresidencies
Commonwealth Connectons is part of the Culture Programme of the
Commonwealth Foundaton.
Commonwealth Foundaton Internatonal arts residency programme:
An opportunity for artsts from Commonwealth countries to develop
new skills, gain internatonal experience and share their culture.
Apply online or download an applicaton form at:
www.commonwealthfoundaton.com/artrecidency
Applicaton dateline 1st March 2009
Artworks by 2007 Awards winner: (top) Josaia McNamara, Mapfara, Bright Eke
(botom) Jignassha Ojha, Sadia Salim, Akuzuru
www.commonwealthfoundaton.com
Commonwealth
Foundation
NOV / DEC 2008 | ISSUE #00 SENIKINI MALAYSIA ARTNOW
20
A No 2, Jalan Temerloh, Off Jalan Tun Razak, 53200 Kuala Lumpur.
T 603 4026 7000
F 603 4025 4987
W www.artgallery.gov.my