WHAT is the face of deception and exploitation? In Christopher Zamora’s solo exhibition, which opens today at HOM Art Trans in Kuala Lumpur, it is dark and brooding, and just a little creepy.
The eyes he paints gaze deep into your soul, searing it with an icy burn and leaving a mark that will not wash out.
How appropriate for this show, with its title, Every Breath You Take, borrowed from The Police’s 1980s hit single of the same name.
“It is a stalker song,” says the 38- year- old artist from the Philippines.
Despite it sounding very much like a love song, Zamora says, you have to delve deeper and you will see it for what it really is.
Echoing a similar sentiment, this collection of 12 works draws upon political and economic machinery and critiques profit accumulation systems. It is a metaphor for how colonisers “stalk their targets”.
“We are being deceived, but the manipulation is disguised as a something sweet and harmless,” explains Zamora.
To Zamora, who studied fine arts at the Philippine Women’s University, Every Breath You Take is a form of research, presented predominantly as oil on canvas works. It is, in a way, a narrative that explores the habits of contemporary colonial structures – as expressed by the individual, by institutions, and by a nation.
“There are three points that I want to explore,” he adds. “First is the illusion created by capitalism or the culture centered on commodities. Second, the manipulation, oppression and exploitation of imperialist aggression. Third, the breaking or shattering of the illusion and struggling against the exploitation.”
He believes that there is a pressing need for us to realise the exploitation and stop it.
“If we continue to see commodities as fetishes ( objects given great value more than their inherent value),” he cautions, “then we allow the exploitation to continue.”
The self- professed “punk and pedestrian” artist, who prefers being out and about on the streets to being within the convenient confines of structured spaces, shares that punk rock is a major influence in his life.
“I used to be very active in the underground scene, hanging out with friends and skateboarding in my youth,” he relates.
No surprise then, that it is when he is part of the great outdoors, living life unhindered, that he gets to best observe the “realities of the people”.
“It makes me grounded as a person and an artist, and helps me create works that reflect my observations and that people can relate to,” he concludes.
Every Breath You take is on at HOM Art trans ( 6A, Jalan Cempaka 16, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur) till March 27. Gallery opening hours: 11am to 6pm ( tuesday to Saturday). For more information, visit www. homarttrans. com or call 012- 373 6004.
( oil on canvas, 2016).
( rust and acrylic on paper, 2016).