After the noughties- Focus Malaysia

Five artistic, groomed to fill the gap left by the noughties, showcase their work in Zaman Batu Contemporary

GLORIOUS hodgepodge of exhibits ranging from sculptures, installations and textured 2D paintings to pyrography prints are on display at the Core Design Gallery in Subang Jaya, Selangor. This spectacle of youthful creativity, called Zaman Batu Contemporary, showcases the talent of Malaysia’s upcoming artists who are interpreting traditional subject matter using new mediums, methods and styles.

A somewhat peculiar-looking globe, seven feet in diameter, lies rather obstructively in the covered section of what used to be the driveway of this double-storey terrace house that that has been turned into an art gallery. Looking like a rusty sea mine, Drawing X is the first of artist Azli Wahid’s set of us of the damage being done to earth by mankind. As his series progresses, we will see his representation of a badly polluted planet returning to its original pristine state of green and blue.

If Drawing X appears rather funereal, the second exhibit is a positively funky robot installation called AWAS or Anti-War, Anti-Strife by Ali Bebit. His composition of bolts, nuts and other leftover metal and scrap from the junkyard takes the shape of a mechanical warrior. “ My work is inspired by human curiosity and the wonderful mechanisms that curiosity drives. The from which I present emerged from a disordered mechanical history often revealed through a dystopian lens “, says the artist.

The star exhibits of the collection are the two pyrography pieces hung on the first floor which also serves as Core Design Gallery ‘s art director Scarlette Lee’s office. “Zaman Batu Contemporary is about developing a new generation of contemporary artists to fill the talent gap after the strong noughties “, says Lee. “ I started searching for a group of young artists who for the past two years have shown their commitment towards producing quality works when they exhibited in Core Design Gallery. This group of five artists has been narrowed down for their conceptual skills, technical research and effort level.

Previously, Core Design Gallery also took the initiative to bring some major painters together in the Cirque Du Freak show to produce all major paintings. Applying the same philosophy, I started discussion with the artists from the beginning of the year to gather this group of younger generation artists to study their capabilities to produce a major work like the senior artists.

“The main objective of Zaman Batu Contemporary is for the potential emerging artists to develop their levels to become mid-career artists. Each artist started conceptualising their ideas in March 2012 with constant updates and discussion about the way to push this art show to another level, proving themselves as important elements in the development of the Malaysia Contemporary Art”.

Her crew of five artists – Ali Bebit, Azli Wahid, Ashriq Sudin, Haafiz Shahimi and Jamil Zakaria – offers a treat of visual poetry. From the stark and dreary to the fluid and languid , the exhibits have their own stories to tell and, at the same time, they invite interpretation from viewers. The collection gives lifes to the artist’s vision, shows substance in their talent, and offers great hope for the new generation of Malaysian contemporary artists.

“Haafiz is an upcoming artist, he is eight years younger than the previous star [with Core Design Gallery] “, Says Lee. “ [He is] daring enough to attempt print-making using pyrography – it is possibly a first of its kind in Malaysia and also internationally. The only attempt at pyropgraphy art is through drawing using burner on wood. [Through] non-stop research and experimentation by burning metal and print on the canvas, [he] has brought print-making to a different level”.

The headstrong fine art graduate has thumbed his nose at convention, and has paid a small price for being too revolutionary in his approach. He failed in one of his papers as the lecturer couldn’t accept his approach to art. Haafiz stuck to his guns, earned his paper qualification, and has already made waves on the local art scene. His frustration and anger come across in his pyrography pieces.

“The beauty is how he used a traditional subject matter and contemporized it”, says Lee. “His works are visually appealing and conceptually very strong. Anger is truly a gift for someone who knows how to control it”.

The artworks by Haafiz and his contemporaries can be viewed at Core Design Gallery at 87, Jalan SS15/2A Subang Jaya, Selangor. The exhibition ends on Jan 31.

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