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Published: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 3:11:49 PM

Inspiration from traditional motifs

Ethnic: ‘Not for novices’ by Aliza.

Ethnic: ‘Not for novices’ by Aliza.

To artist-cum-lecturer Aliza, each has its own meaning which she hopes to portray through her work.

ARTIST-cum-lecturer Aliza Anthony Abet draws inspiration from traditional motifs of Sarawak’s various ethnic communities for her contemporary paintings.

To her, each motif has its own meaning which she hopes to portray through her artwork.

“All my ideas come from traditional motifs. It might come from songket, pua kumbu, baskets, batik or wood carvings.

“I want to show the audience that there is meaning in the motif. The motifs are originally applied on traditional crafts like a basket, but I want to bring them into the form of a painting,” she said.

Artist-cum-lecturer Aliza Anthony Abet with her painting
One piece: Aliza with her painting ‘Berlaga’.

Aliza, a Melanau from Dalat, is one of three artists from the Rejang Fine Artists Group whose work is being exhibited at the Sarawak Art Museum here until Dec 21.

Pointing to one of her paintings titled “Berlaga”, she said it was inspired by a wood carving of a fighting cock.

“It depicts the Malay philosophy of not acting like a fighting cock, which solves problems through a fight,” she said.

She also explained why the painting was done on three panels instead of a single canvas, saying it was partly for practical reasons as it would be easier to transport three smaller pieces than one large piece.

“I also wanted to make it different from an ordinary painting, so that you can see it separately but it is still one painting. And finally, the painting will not be perfect if the panels are not together, so they need each other,” she told The Star recently.

She added that she had been painting since her student days at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), where she took fine arts.

State museum director Ipoi Datan (second right) unveiling a painting to open the exhibition. From left are the participating artists Augustine Mapang Raoh, Aliza Anthony Abet and Leonard Darimi.
Public display: Ipoi (second from right) unveiling a painting to open the exhibition. Looking on are (from left) Augustine, Aliza and Leonard.

A lecturer at the Teachers Education Institute (IPG) Rajang Campus in Bintangor, she co-founded the group with fellow artist Leonard Darimi last year.

“We have only just started holding exhibitions. The first one we did last year was only the two of us. Then more members joined the group and this is the biggest exhibition we have done so far,” she said, referring to the ongoing show at the Art Museum.

About 24 paintings are displayed in the exhibition, including nine by Aliza. The others are by Leonard, a visual arts teacher at SMK Bandar Bintangor, and Augustine Mapang Raoh, who also lectures at IPG Rajang Campus.

According to Aliza, the group hoped to expose their work to a bigger audience through the exhibition.

“We want to share our knowledge with the public. If we just do it in school, we can only share it with the students,” she said.

Meanwhile, Leonard said the group currently has six members, all teachers or lecturers in the central region of Sarawak.

“We would like to increase our membership and we encourage young talents to join us, including fine arts students. You don’t have to be a teacher or lecturer,” he said.

He added that the group was formed to bring together teachers who were also artists and to promote fine arts to the public through exhibitions.

State museum director Ipoi Datan, who opened the exhibition, said it would help to establish fine arts as a prestigious field as in developed countries.

He said the museum would continue to work together with similar groups and provide space for art exhibitions.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, East Malaysia, artist, painting, exhibition, Rejang Fine Artists Group, Aliza Anthony Abet, Sarawak Art Museum

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