Dig­ging into the mo­ment

Fer­gana Art presents a dream­like se­quence of works to re­flect a na­tion in flux.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Culture - By DARYL GOH star2@thes­tar.com.my (mixed me­dia on can­vas, 2015). — Pho­tos: Fer­gana Art (inkjet on photo Mas­noor Ramli’s Sauda­gar An­gin 4 on raw alu­minium, 2017). (mixed me­dia, 2017). — RAY­MOND

THERE might not be any loud “Make art great again” ban­ners at Fer­gana Art’s up­com­ing group ex­hi­bi­tion Bukan Makan Di­tiup An­gin, set to open at Ga­leri Chan­dan in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 30. Yet, for this show, there is enough on board to sug­gest that art can calmly re­flect cer­tain truths.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, fea­tur­ing artists Alex Lee, Hawari Ber­ahim, Man­soor Ibrahim, Mas­noor Ramli Mah­mud and Tan Nan See, is un­doubt­edly loaded with satire and so­cial en­gage­ment, but there is no room for “static noise and com­mo­tion” as in­di­cated by Jaa­far Is­mail, Fer­gana’s founder.

“It’s a small show but it is a punchy one,” claims Jafaar, 60, in an in­ter­view in Pe­tal­ing Jaya ear­lier this week.

“The artists here aim to cre­ate an op­por­tu­nity for con­ver­sa­tion ... about the fu­ture of truth, the age of mis­in­for­ma­tion and the tragedy of dis­place­ment. It can be weighty top­ics, it can also be il­lu­mi­nat­ing. It’s about how to­day’s press­ing is­sues are be­ing han­dled by art, but it also de­pends on how you want to con­sume art th­ese days ... is the gallery ex­pe­ri­ence still im­por­tant, or is it just enough to view a show through a live Twit­ter stream?” he asks.

“At Fer­gana, the quest is to em­brace thought­ful and con­sid­ered artis­tic art­work. The gallery, more of­ten than not, is an im­por­tant place.”

The Bukan Makan Di­tiup An­gin ex­hi­bi­tion, cu­rated by Jafaar, which was orig­i­nally shown as part of the Ge­orge Town Fes­ti­val’s fringe pro­gramme in Au­gust, will also be shown in KL with added pro­gram­ming, in­clud­ing a book dis­cus­sion ses­sion on Nov 4.

Bukan Makan Di­tiup An­gin, even as a com­pact show, con­tains mixed me­dia works, photo col­lages, prints and an in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion, and it can be seen as an ex­ten­sion of Fer­gana’s Bound­aries Of [dis] Be­liefs ex­hi­bi­tion ear­lier this year, es­pe­cially with Lee and Mas­noor Ramli in the line-up.

“In this show, you will find sub­jects as di­verse as food, moral­ity, ethics and the state of the na­tion served up.”

Mas­noor Ramli’s Sauda­gar An­gin se­ries, a set of dig­i­tal prints, ex­am­ines the strug­gles of the na­tion­build­ing pro­cess, grand-scale lega­cies, wind­falls and waste­lands. The faded alu­minium shine from th­ese works, per­haps, makes this se­ries a haunt­ing episode.

Else­where, Man­soor, a vet­eran artist spe­cial­is­ing in print­mak­ing, con­trib­utes a set of paint­ing stud­ies to Bukan Makan Di­tiup An­gin. The con­cept of dis­place­ment rests heavy on his works, with Man­soor rec­on­cil­ing the frayed con­nec­tions be­tween art, cul­ture and the refugee cri­sis.

Tan’s Artist’s Menu se­ries (20122017) is a pho­tog­ra­phy project that in­vites the viewer to think about food’s role in shap­ing so­ci­ety and how it indi­cates one’s so­cial standing. She com­poses her works with tumeric rice, bread, In­dian sweets and also an­i­mal parts, while nav­i­gat­ing cul­tures and search­ing for a cer­tain spir­i­tu­al­ity in the shared food ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Th­ese days, peo­ple want to take own­er­ship of food dishes. Can a cer­tain com­mu­nity have spe­cific claim­ing rights over food? Tan’s pho­to­graphs – in a meta­phoric sense – is a wel­come ad­di­tion to this de­bate. But what is im­por­tant in her works is that food – in a Malaysian con­text – will al­ways be some­thing that unites us. Will food ever di­vide us? Let that day never come,” con­cludes Jaa­far.

Bukan Makan Di­tiup An­gin is on at Ga­leri Chan­dan, Lot 24 and 25, Pub­lika, Jalan Du­ta­mas 1 in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 30 to Nov 5. Open daily: 11am to 7pm. Visit: www.ga­lerichan­dan.com. Call 03-6201 5360. A book dis­cus­sion (on works from Sha­harud­din Maaruf and Muhammed Ab­dul Khalid) will take place at the gallery on Nov 4 at 3pm. Free ad­mis­sion. FB: Fer­gana Art.

(dig­i­tal print

Man­soor’s Colour Study

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