Punk pas­sion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ART - By DArYL GOH star2@ thes­tar. com. my

DON’T judge an ex­hi­bi­tion by its provoca­tive promo art­work. That seems to be the case with the Se­berang Laut ex­hi­bi­tion, which is a punk- cen­tred art show fea­tur­ing a group of DIY artists, at the re­launched Run Amok gallery ( within Hin Bus De­pot Art Cen­tre) in Ge­orge Town in Pe­nang.

“There is def­i­nitely a lot of punk en­ergy on the walls. Di­rect ac­tion and art – as a ba­sic con­cept – can be a pow­er­ful force even if it orig­i­nates from marginal com­mu­ni­ties. This is the thrust of the ex­hi­bi­tion,” says cu­ra­tor Hasanul Isyraf Se­berang Laut ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tres on punk ac­tivism and DIY art cul­ture. Idris, 37, a full- time artist based in Pe­nang. ties,” he adds about the con­tent of the Run

“But the gallery vis­i­tor doesn’t have to be a Amok col­lec­tive’s first show of the year. punk mu­sic fan, or even a gig- go­ing reg­u­lar, “This art is punk’s con­nec­tion to the broadto see that th­ese works – and their themes – er world of ac­tivism. By ex­hibit­ing, the art­can ex­ist out­side their orig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ists them­selves can sharpen their views and see how their art can get a con­ver­sa­tion go­ing within the art com­mu­nity and be­yond.”

Se­berang Laut, which fea­tures more than 60 works, meets at the in­ter­change of punk, mu­sic and pol­i­tics. Saba­han artists like Rizo Leong, Adam Ja­mal, Agus Sto and Mamink, and KL- based names like Alak, Amy Ham­dan and Rat Heist com­plete the line- up.

Each artist has a colour­ful back­ground, with day jobs such as art ac­tivist, mu­ral painter, il­lus­tra­tor and back­drop de­signer, DIY record store owner and stu­dent. They also ac­tively con­trib­ute to the lo­cal punk mu­sic scene’s need for hand­bills, record cov­ers, T- shirt de­signs and posters.

Be­yond a few prints ded­i­cated to hard- hit­ting home­grown punk band The Bol­locks, this show pushes fur­ther.

“Through the works of Agus Sto and Rizo Leong ( from Ranau- based arts col­lec­tive Pan­grok Su­lap), we get an in­ti­mate and close read­ing of cer­tain is­sues si­t­u­ated within the com­mu­ni­ties there. Yes, the con­text is lo­cal, but Saba­han is­sues about the en­vi­ron­ment, reck­less de­vel­op­ment, education, cor­rup­tion and poverty are uni­ver­sal enough for ev­ery­body to fig­ure out,” says Hasanul.

Hasanul, a for­mer art teacher, be­friended th­ese Saba­han artists in Se­berang Laut while he was posted in Keningau, Sabah in 2006.

“Th­ese artists have im­proved tremen­dously through the years, and you’ll see more of them now,” he says.

Leong’s wood­cut prints, some high­light­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity’s right to op­pose the Kaid­uan Dam pro­ject, have been ex­hib­ited in Tokyo. For this show, he con­trib­utes works like Ker­ana Manu­sia Kembali Ke Manu­sia and Jun­gle Of Hope, which ad­dress is­sues like il­le­gal log­ging and com­mu­nity dis­place­ment. Penampang- based Agus Sto, a farmer and DIY mer­chan­dise ven­dor, lends a grim mood to Se­berang Laut with his haunt­ing se­ries of black­ened an­i­mal skulls – mostly na­tive to Sabah – caused by wide­spread de­for­esta­tion.

For such a mod­est show, the artists, work­ing with ink on pa­per, silkscreen, water­colour and pa­per clay sculp­tures, have re­sponded with a wide ar­ray of themes and con­cerns. It could be said that the punk com­mu­nity has come a long way: this new gen­er­a­tion of open- minded punk artists sup­ports a truly in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment.

“Most of the artists in­volved in this show have never ex­hib­ited in a com­mer­cial gallery. That’s a start­ing point, I think, for them to ex­pose their works. The fact is they have been largely re­spon­si­ble for the art and vis­ual aes­thetic – DIY style – used within their non- main­stream com­mu­ni­ties, and they are open to a wider au­di­ence, too. Maybe, it’s time for the masses to take no­tice of them,” con­cludes Hasanul.

is on at run Amok gallery ( within Hin Bus De­pot Art Cen­tre), 59A, Jalan timah, Ge­orge town, Pe­nang till March 13. Open daily: noon to 7pm. Closed on Mon­day. Face­book: run Amok. Call 010- 461 7311. Email: info@ runamok. my.

Alak's ( silkscreen on can­vas, 2015).

Pho­tos: run Amok Gallery

Agus Sto’s

( ink on pa­per, 2015).

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