Published: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 7:33:16 AM

Deep imagination

Ancient mythologies: Anowarkowa, Yuli’s take on Native American culture, with the Thunderbird and Dreamcatchers

Ancient mythologies: Anowarkowa, Yuli’s take on Native American culture, with the Thunderbird and Dreamcatchers

One artist’s fascination with mythologies takes centre stage at the latest exhibition in Artemis Art.

FROM the bowels of the earth, out of the dark oceans, arose the monsters of the deep. Terrifying sea dragons, monstrous crabs and evil spirits, all bent on wreaking havoc and terror on humans.

The earth quaked, the seas were raging and the thunder roared. But braving the deadly elements and marine horrors was a man, a warrior, wielding his sword.

Armed with his bravery, he ventured in search of these monsters, to slay them once and for all.

Nothing is more fascinating to a storyteller than a hero who risks his life to save the world.

But for Yuli, he was just warming up.

His main act brims with demons and gods and spirits and pyramids and dreamcatchers and even Korean pop stars.

Through his experience learning about art and living with Asperger syndrome, Yuli has a unique vision when it comes to his paintings.

Kyoon hyeong koa jo hwa [balance and harmony]
Kyoon Hyeong Koa Jo Hwa (Balance & Harmony) with Psy in the foreground.

And like the master storyteller that he is, the 27-year-old has conjured worlds familiar and yet bizarre in his second solo exhibition at Artemis Art, Publika in Kuala Lumpur.

Called Mythologies, the exhibition features 15 of Yuli’s artworks inspired mainly by Japanese myths and culture.

The artist, an ardent fan of ancient civilisations and myths, also drew inspiration from the other cultures of the ancient world, including Chinese and Norse.

Dabbling in the arts since he was a young boy, Yuli spent more than half a year to complete all 15 pieces and with the liberty and artistic freedom bestowed on him by the gallery, the artist had created rather outstanding pieces of art infused with mythologies.

However, Yuli did not limit himself to ancient myths alone.

Riding on the wave of popular culture, he juxtaposed modern and ancient cultural icons in some of his pieces.

This is most evident in the piece called Kyoon Hyeong Koa Jo Hwa (Balance & Harmony).

Crowding most of the artworks are South Korean masks, the Korean Turtle Ship, drums, food and the Korean traditional dress. But at the foreground, in his most famous dance move, is singer Psy.

Imbued in all of the artworks exhibited are graffiti elements and Yuli reasoned that this mixture of the “modern and the traditional is so that the artworks will look more diverse.”

In fact, he steered away from the conventional medium of acrylics and used art markers instead to give his pieces “a more comic-book like feel.”

Shibuyaka shows the street culture of modern day Japan
Shibuyaka shows the street culture of modern day Japan.

One such piece, which could pass for a cover of a manga, shows four fearsome beasts, a tiger, a phoenix, a dragon and a black tortoise. Named Shijin – The 4 Guardians Of The Compass, the piece is rich with cultural significance and historicity as all four of the animals represent something in Oriental culture.

These animals, said Yuli, “have always been important symbols in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese culture.”

It was their symbolism that intrigued him.

And it is this symbolism and history, whether derived from ages past or our very own time, that lends a sense of familiarity to Mythologies.

You may not be well versed with this realm but upon setting your eyes on these figures and cultural icons, it will be like meeting an old friend after a very long time.

> Mythologies is on daily till Dec 17 at Artemis Art (Lot 21 & 22, Level G4, Block C5, Publika Solaris Dutamas, Selangor). Admission is free. For more information, call 03-6211 1891 or visit

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Entertainment, Mythologies, Artemis Art, Yuli, art exhibition, contemporary art


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