The launch plat­form

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ART -

PROMIS­ING home­grown artists Sabi­his Mohd Pandi, 25, Ong Xiang Ru, 27, Shafiq Nordin, 26, Cheong Tuck Wai, 34, and Hi­lal Ma­zlan, 26, now look to have their ca­reers ac­cel­er­ated.

They have each picked up hon­ours in the Malaysian Emerg­ing Artist Award 2013 (MEA award), which re­cently con­cluded its third edi­tion with a prize­giv­ing cer­e­mony at the White Box, MAP, Pub­lika in Kuala Lumpur.

The bi­en­nial com­pe­ti­tion, or­gan­ised by lo­cal art gal­leries Ga­leri Chan­dan and HOM Art Trans, ran from last Novem­ber to early Jan­uary. This in­de­pen­dent ini­tia­tive aims to recog­nise tal­ents who are rel­a­tively un­known (artists be­low the age of 35). Also, their art­works must have been pro­duced be­tween 2012 and 2013, and never ex­hib­ited lo­cally be­fore.

“There are many com­pe­ti­tions pro­mot­ing the arts in Malaysia. But what makes the MEA award dif­fer­ent is the art­works are judged by the opin­ion of the in­dus­try,” said Mo­ham­mad Nazli Ab­dul Aziz, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ga­leri Chan­dan.

“What bet­ter way when the stake­hold­ers of the in­dus­try (art pro­fes­sion­als, cu­ra­tors, col­lec­tors, aca­demi­cians) are given the op­por­tu­nity to hon­our the tal­ents and eval­u­ate the ma­tu­rity of new en­trants into the in­dus­try?” he added.

An in­de­pen­dent group of (anony­mous) judges were tasked to look through the en­tries, make a short­list and pick the top five artists for MEA 2013. For the com­pe­ti­tion, 41 fi­nal­ists were short­listed out of a to­tal of 178 art­works sub­mit­ted. Back in 2009, 36 fi­nal­ists were cho­sen, while in 2011, 75 en­tries were re­ceived and 39 fi­nal­ists short­listed.

The MEA 2013 win­ners each re­ceived a cash prize, vouch­ers for art ma­te­ri­als, a 10-day travel grant to a city in South-East Asia and a show­case for all five win­ners (this Au­gust) and a solo ex­hi­bi­tion in 2015, which will give them cru­cial ex­po­sure in the Malaysian con­tem­po­rary art scene.

“Th­ese five win­ners now have a plat­form to work cre­atively, to gain knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence by trav­el­ling, to ex­hibit a col­lec­tive show­case and this time around, a solo show. It’s a se­ries of pro­grammes that lay the foun­da­tion for pro­fes­sional ca­reer de­vel­op­ment in the vis­ual arts,” said Nazli.

The Kuan­tan-born Cheong, who sub­mit­ted a trip­tych for the com­pe­ti­tion, cen­tres his emo­tive work on the melan­choly of mem­ory and dis­tant long­ing.

“My cre­ativ­ity is all about mem­ory, in which peo­ple, scenes and ob­jects are de­scribed and de­fined. I cre­ate im­ages and ef­fects of de­serted, aban­doned or dis­carded things through var­i­ous mixed ma­te­ri­als,” said Cheong.

Hi­lal, from Kuala Kangsar, re­vealed that he took two years to cre­ate his me­chan­i­cal Fly­ing Fleet se­ries.

“I don’t have an engineering back­ground. This se­ries came purely from my own artis­tic im­pres­sions with a fair amount of im­pro­vi­sa­tion,” said Hi­lal.

Ex­pec­ta­tions to de­liver will be high for each MEA 2013 win­ner, es­pe­cially since they are now part of an alumni that in­cludes 2009 win­ners like Gan Chin Lee, Mohd Al-Khuzairie Ali, Mohd Bakit Ba­harom, Sam­sudin Wa­hab and Poo­d­ien (Shai­fud­din Ma­mat). For MEA 2011, Chong Ai Lei, Si­und Tan, Sun Kang Jye, Ng Swee Keat and Syah­bandi picked up the top prizes.

The five Malaysian emerg­ing artist award win­ners (from left) Sabi­his Mohd Pandi, Ong Xiang ru, Shafiq nordin, Cheong Tuck Wai and Hi­lal Ma­zlan have a busy year ahead with a group ex­hi­bi­tion and a res­i­dency pro­gramme in the re­gion as part of the art award’s main prize.

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