Four artists spend six months to produce major works

ENTER the minds of Malaysia Young Contemporary artists Raja Lope Rasydidi, Faizal Suhif, Syam Asmawi and Ali Nurazmal, who spent six months to produce two major works each exhibited at the Core Design Gallery, a Malaysia contemporary art gallery in Subang Jaya.

With a theme like Cirque Du Freak, I expected some out-of-the-world, mind-boggling, and even weird paintings that only the artists could comprehend.

There were hints of eccentricity that we laymen could not comprehend.

Raja Lope is a self-professed movie buff who enjoys movies by Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro.

“I wanted to be a film-maker but I do not have the money to produce my own movie.

“Hence, drawing is the only way I could realise my dreams and present my storyboard or script to everyone,” he said.

A story unfolded as he explained the little details in his art, with each character having a background story; it seemed like he was narrating a movie instead of an art piece.

Bringing his childhood onto the canvas, he said: “I have always liked fantasy, mythical creatures and science-fiction.”

With The Long Vacation II, one could get lost in this fantasy world on canvas, with flying penguins, elongated dinosaurs and blue giants (they are gentle and friendly giants, according to Raja Lope) that look like elongated versions of the Na’vi in the movie Avatar.

You will see Raja Lope’s version of the dragonfly, which instead of the insect, is a dragon with the wings of a fly.

The realistic cracks on the carousel, drawn in detail, caught my attention.

“The carousel is cracked because the characters want to be free,” he said.

East meets West in his Glue and Bold, which is actually a word play on the words blue and gold.

Look closer and you will see that the “stars” in the background are actually small fairies.

“I want to show how the colours look on a dark background.

“It is my dream to have a fairy from the Western world meet an Eastern dragon,” he said, adding that this painting coincided with 2012’s Year of the Dragon.

Syam Asmawi’s Di Balik Cermin Mimpi was inspired by local singer M. Nasir’s lyrics.

It has a spiritual theme on self-discovery and purifying oneself.

“As a Muslim, one has to cleanse one’s soul of all negative feelings.

“Looking into the mirror, we see our reflection and cleanse our hearts,” he said.

The Thanks Bro oil-on-linen artworks are a homage to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs.

“The culture of getting rid of talented people (because of jealousy) is wrong.

“We should instead appreciate the knowledge and contribution these inspiring individuals brought to the world,” he said.

Of his portrait of Zuckerberg in Thanx Bro 1, he said.

“His creation transcended all layers of society. I drew a rope to signify how the social networking site binds the relationship between people, it is colourful to show that there are different characters who use Facebook,” he added.

Even though he has never used Apple products, he was impressed with the impact their inventions have on the community.

“The saying ilmu di dada is translated literally as I drew a row of books in place of his chest.

“The inverted spectacles symbolise that we can look at him at all angles,” he said of Thanx Bro 2 which featured the late Jobs.

He hoped to draw inspiring Malaysians as well.

Featured artist Ali Nurazmal’s two paintings are One in a Million and a self-portrait Supplier, of him smoking.

“There is a story to it, I imagine that one that I become a supplier of unique apples and the self-portrait shows me sitting back and just enjoying the profits while I have a smoke,” he said.

Many thoughts went through his mind as he drew the half-green half-red apple.

“I have been drawing apples since young. Even when we learn our ABCs, A is always for apple.

“When you see an apple, does one think about the processes involved such as harvest, export, packaging?” he said.

There are many ways one can interpret Supplier, is he a supplier of cancer via cigarette smoke?

“To some, I am a bad supplier but to me, I am just a supplier,” he said.

Curator Scarlette Lee wants to show everyone that Malaysian artists can go to the next level.

“Our Malaysian contemporary art has international standards,” she said.

Faizal Suhif’s Hijrah ke Tanah was created using roller print.

“Some images are created on purpose but some are accidental.

“As he comes from a family of farmers, he incorporates some elements of agriculture in his art works.

“Look closely and you can spot a banana plant in the corner,” Lee said of the absent artist’s work.

The same goes for his two other pieces Sebatas Siang and Sebatas Senja.

Core Design Gallery Sdn Bhd is located at 87, Jalan SS15/2A, Subang Jaya. For details, call 03-5612 1168 or visit

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