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Tuesday March 10, 2009

Five artists define printmaking anew

FIVE contemporary Malaysian printmakers are celebrating the different practices in printmaking in the country developed over time.

The artists – Juhari Said, Ng Kim Peow, Izan Tahir, Zulkifli Yusoff and Shahrul Jamili – explore the art as a dynamic and innovative medium by bringing the concept beyond just using ink, block, paper and stamping.

The underlying idea of their joint exhibition Go Block is to define printmaking in a new way, using everyday materials such as concrete, wood, soil and aluminium foil as a casting or moulding medium to shape the final desired artwork.

Ng’s pieces depict the changes he has seen in the city since his return from abroad in 2002.

The five artists: (From left) Juhairi Said, Shahrul Jamili, Izan Tahir, Zulkifli Yusoff and Ng Kim Peow have taken printmaking to new heights.

“I was away from Malaysia for more than 10 years and many things have changed – for instance, the old houses I used to lived in are no longer around; they have been replaced with modern houses,” said Ng.

Shahrul, who is a full-time artist, said he combined the art of communication and themes like religion, time and identity in a nutshell.

His piece entitled Making Sense Can Sometimes Get Out Of Hand uses cement casts of hands in various sizes to form the sentence in a sign language style, to bring art to his audience through the communication.

It was from watching old movies that Zulkifli Yusoff got his idea to form his piece entitled Merdeka 57.

Sand art: Juhairi Said’s sand sculptures ‘Untitled 2’.

“I enjoy watching old movies and observing how each character brings their role to life,” said Zulkifli.

The 47-year-old said he took time studying The Planter’s Wife, from which he learnt how the rich controlled the rubber estates while others worked hard to fend for their families in the days before our nation gained independence in 1957.

“Rubber flowers and coffee were an icon back then, which is why I have incorporated them into my piece, too,” Zulkifli said at the launch of the Go Block exhibition.

Viewing each piece of work by the different artists, one will see how each had brought the art of printmaking to a whole new level of their own.

Go Block is on display at Galeri Petronas in Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, until March 15. The gallery is open from 10am to 8pm daily except Mondays. For details, call 03-2051 1814.

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