Veteran Malaysian artist heads online as MCO forces cancellation of his exhibition


When veteran artist Prof Datuk Tajuddin Ismail tells you that “art is a very lonely profession”, you got to take him at his word.

The Negri Sembilan-born abstract painter has been an active practitioner for nearly 50 years, with more than 20 solo exhibitions and more than 200 groups shows locally and abroad.

In a recent online video series In Conversation, Tajuddin, 72, adds that for an artist “it is only you and the canvas. There is no audience, really.”

The movement control order (MCO) might have disrupted Tajuddin's latest exhibition Mosaic at Petaling Jaya-based art gallery G13 Gallery, but art enthusiasts can stay home and still enjoy the gallery’s digital outreach for this artist's show.

The exhibition, which opened on Jan 9, features a collection of 16 works made by Tajuddin in the last five years (2015-2020).

In the video, Tajuddin, known for using nature and natural landscapes as his inspirations, talks about what inspires him as an artist and how to create order from chaos.

“The last 50 years was hectic for me because I was doing so many things... painting, designing and teaching, ” reveals the KL-based Tajuddin.

“But it has been an interesting journey, ” he adds.

Mosaic, says Tajuddin, is an ongoing journey.

“It’s really a mosaic of all the different kinds of things that I have done. In that respect, it’s not a series really.

“It is a continuation, a progression of thought that stemmed up almost 50 years ago. And it continuously evolves, changes and finds its own direction to what it is right now, ” offers Tajuddin.

He also draws parallels between music and abstract art.

“For me as an artist, the bottom line is of course to create a work that may look chaotic but there’s a sense of tranquility within all of this, there’s a sense of calmness, a sense of meditativeness in the work which I'm looking for, ” he explains.

Due to the MCO, the exhibition, originally slated to end on Jan 30, has been shelved and gallery co-founder Kenny Teng confirms that its run will not be extended.

“Instead, the focus is on adding more digital content and videos for this exhibition. Since visitors cannot attend this show physically, we have to bring the exhibition to them via digital platforms, ” says Teng.

Besides the Youtube video, Tajuddin’s artworks can be viewed on the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram page in addition to its website, where you can download the e-catalogue.

“Planning a show is becoming quite challenging these days but we need to learn to quickly adapt to all situations, ” says Teng.

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