Weekend for the arts: Rukun Negara gone digital, theatre 'journey' to Kabul


New media artist Abdul Shakir is exhibiting 'Atma Kirana' - a site-specific digital art installation - at the National Art Gallery (NAG) in Kuala Lumpur. It is the latest addition to the ongoing 'Single' showcase series located at the entry hall of NAG. Photo: Handout

EXHIBITION: ABDUL SHAKIR’S ‘ATMA KIRANA’

Venue: National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Oct 30

New media artist Abdul Shakir is setting the Merdeka mood at the National Art Gallery (NAG) in Kuala Lumpur with his site-specific digital art installation titled Atma Kirana. It is the latest addition in NAG's ongoing "Single" showcase series located at the entry hall of the gallery.

Abdul Shakir, also known as Grasshopper, is also the co-founder of Filamen, a digital art collective.

His new artwork Atma Kirana offers the masses an imaginative exploration of digital and interactive elements, while also encouraging visitors to reflect on the meaning of the Rukun Negara (or National Principles).

The digital art installation features an assemblage of five distinct flower motifs - each capturing the essence of the guiding principles, namely Faith (Percaya), Loyalty (Setia), Good Governance (Luhur), Rules of Law (Adil) and Kindness (Baik). The work comes to life with 100 LED panels, which suspended in mid-air and intricately choreographed.

With a blend of colours, lights and form, Atma Kirana turns into a vibrant spectacle that invites visitors to explore and enjoy the diverse viewpoints of the installation.

Atma Kirana, which incorporates a sustainable design, also features repurposed LED panels, formerly fixtures on roadside billboards that once adorned Kuala Lumpur’s cityscape.

Admission is free to the National Art Gallery.

More info here.

Parastoo Theater's new production 'Red Soil of Kabul' is a play that focuses on human crisis and human rights especially the rights of children and the oppressed. Photo: Parastoo Theater Parastoo Theater's new production 'Red Soil of Kabul' is a play that focuses on human crisis and human rights especially the rights of children and the oppressed. Photo: Parastoo Theater

THEATRE: RED SOIL OF KABUL

Venue: DPAC, Petaling Jaya

Date: Aug 11-13

THIS weekend, KL-based refugee arts group Parastoo Theater is returning to the stage with its latest play, Red Soil Of Kabul, written and directed by Saleh Sepas.

The show will play at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) in Petaling Jaya.

In this new play, Saleh, an Afghan refugee living in Malaysia, offers a multi-layered story from Kabul after the fall of the government in Afghanistan.

Despite the play being in Persian, the director says the local audience will still understand what is happening on stage, especially with the subtitles – in English and Bahasa Malaysia – will be projected during the show.

In Saleh’s Red Soil Of Kabul, one of Parastoo’s biggest projects, the stage will feature an eclectic ensemble telling a compelling story of children in war.

The cast includes a total of 16 actors and out of those, 14 of them are acting in a play for the first time.

Red Soil Of Kabul narrates the beginning of a disaster that led to a crisis for millions of people. Based on real events and experiences, it is a unique theatrical experience that tackles the topics of human rights, child protection, education, migration and refugee issues,” reads the production notes.

Tickets for Red Soil Of Kabul at DPAC are RM35, RM65 and RM150 (the golden ticket to help support Parastoo Theater and the show). There is also the “pay it forward” option where you can help Parastoo give away tickets to refugee, migrant, students, B40 and other underprivileged communities. For the “pay it forward” tickets, contact: 012-202-6384.

More info here.

In 'Eating The Hills', YONGL presents a series that looks into the devastating impact caused by quarrying activities on the mountains of Kinta Valley in Perak. Photo: Suma Orientalis Fine ArtIn 'Eating The Hills', YONGL presents a series that looks into the devastating impact caused by quarrying activities on the mountains of Kinta Valley in Perak. Photo: Suma Orientalis Fine Art

EXHIBITION: YONGL’S ‘EATING THE HILLS’

Venue: Suma Orientalis Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Aug 31

This month, Suma Orientalis Fine Art is exhibiting Eating The Hills by YONGL, an emerging visual artist from Kuala Lumpur. The show also features Kinta Valley Watch, a community-based conservation group from Ipoh.

In his work, YONGL transforms his surroundings into captivating - and though-provoking - pieces. His digital photo montage work and keen eye in capturing fast-changing Malaysian landscapes has given him a sizeable bank of images.

In his first ever solo exhibition at Suma Orientalis Fine Art, the artist goes beyond the mere aesthetic appeal of his creations and delves into pressing environmental issues in Malaysia.

In Eating The Hills, YONGL presents a series that looks into the devastating impact caused by quarrying activities on the mountains of Kinta Valley in Perak.

"Everyday gestures and actions are projected on an immense scale, where rock beds and trees turn into fine patisseries ready for serving. The artist invites us to re-examine the situation with a refreshing perspective," reads the exhibition notes.

For contextual background, this exhibition features the Kinta Valley Watch group, which supplies its community research and study material alongside the artist's images.

More info here.

Installation view of '(M)othered Meat' by Kara Inez, featuring the works 'Sp-lit' (2023) on the left and 'Bum Bug' (2023) on the right. Photo: @kenta.worksInstallation view of '(M)othered Meat' by Kara Inez, featuring the works 'Sp-lit' (2023) on the left and 'Bum Bug' (2023) on the right. Photo: @kenta.works

EXHIBITION: KARA INEZ’S ‘(M)OTHERED MEAT’

Venue: The Back Room, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Aug 13

It’s the last weekend to catch (M)othered Meat, which is the debut solo exhibition by Malaysian visual artist Kara Inez, who is currently based in Melbourne.

The exhibition presents several of Inez’s recent silicone sculptures and assemblages that comment on the taboos of female experience, showcased within a quasi-domestic exhibition layout meant to simulate a woman’s intimate sphere.

With (M)othered Meat, The Back Room has put together the first showcase of Inez’s recent works.

Over the past four years, Inez has come to be known for her use of silicone and dye which she casts within stockings to create soft sculptures that resemble organs, lumps of flesh, or other mysterious meats. In previous showings, the pieces have a reputation for making viewers recoil at their ambiguous, life-like appearance, accentuated by their glossy, rubbery surfaces, the addition of hair (human and synthetic), and the use of dye mixtures that give them the appearance of bruises or varicose veins.

"Feminine accessories such as holographic acrylic nails, a batik scrunchie, a porcelain vase, and a jasmine flower are uncanny embellishments on the meats; their attempt to dress up the fleshy sculpture’s abject appearance to make it pretty only doubles down on its abjection. The works push against viewer’s sense of disgust and challenge their capacity to embrace these grotesque forms as art. In doing so, her works serve as a vessel for viewers to have some closure with the more undignified aspects of human existence, like the realities of bodily fluids, ageing, disease and pain," reads the exhibition notes.

More info here.

At DPAC, Ishwar aims to shed light on dance items with historical and spiritual  significance, drawing connections to his master in Tanjore, India and the essence of bharatanatyam. Photo: Handout At DPAC, Ishwar aims to shed light on dance items with historical and spiritual significance, drawing connections to his master in Tanjore, India and the essence of bharatanatyam. Photo: Handout

PERFORMING ARTS: HONOURING THE TANJORE LEGACY OF BHARATANATYAM

Venue: DPAC, Petaling Jaya

Date: Aug 12 and 13

Ishwar Muthkumaran, a dancer with Malaysian and Sri Lankan heritage, is set to captivate audiences with his unique approach to bharatanatyam in his upcoming performance titled Dancing Through The Ages: Honouring The Tanjore Legacy Of Bharatanatyam.

His extensive training in Tanjore, India, and Malaysia encouraged a strong appreciation for the classical Indian dance form and its evolution through the ages. He believes that many view bharatanatyam as fast-paced and acrobatic, missing the context and subtext that makes it a spiritual and transformative experience.

By reformatting the traditional performances and offering insightful explanations throughout his performance, Ishwar hopes to bridge the gap and instill a renewed interest in this profound dance style.

"I want people to seek out bharatanatyam as a form to evoke creativity," says Ishwar.

"The emotional connection with the audience is what will evoke curiosity and a deeper appreciation for the art form."

More info here.

Timoteus' 'Phantoms' trilogy comprises two moving-image works 'Reversal' and 'Terra Incognita'. Photo: Handout Timoteus' 'Phantoms' trilogy comprises two moving-image works 'Reversal' and 'Terra Incognita'. Photo: Handout

EXHIBITION: TIMOTEUS ANGGAWAN KUSNO'S ‘PHANTOMS’

Venue: Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Nov 5

The intersection of art and film can happen in many ways, and Ilham Gallery's newly-opened exhibition Phantoms is worth an investigation if you are curious about such creative processes.The show, which features a series of video works, offers a glimpse of Indonesian multimedia artist and filmmaker Timoteus Anggawan Kusno's recent projects.

His work explores the lasting effects of colonialism through installations, drawn art, and moving images, examining the role of medium in narrative creation.

These videos showing at Ilham Gallery were produced as a result of Timoteus winning the Han Nefkens Foundation – Lop Barcelona Video Art Production Grant 2021, in collaboration with the Fundacio Joan Miro, Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing, MoCA Taipei, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneve, and Art Hub Copenhagen.

Timoteus' Phantoms trilogy comprises two moving-image works, Reversal and Terra Incognita. Both of these works share the same Indonesian title, Luka Dan Bisa Kubawa Berlari. Additionally, the series features a third part After Colossus, which is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

He created this series in collaboration with the jathilan trance dancer community in Java.

Through this project, Timoteus aims to provide new insights into the relationship between culture, time, and resistance.

The Phantoms exhibition is showing at Level 3, Ilham Gallery in KL. Free admission.

More info here.

At Wong Chee Meng's 'Rasa Sayang' exhibition, you need to whip out your smartphone to 'experience' the AR content in each painting. Photo: The Star/Azlina AbdullahAt Wong Chee Meng's 'Rasa Sayang' exhibition, you need to whip out your smartphone to 'experience' the AR content in each painting. Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

EXHIBITION: WONG CHEE MENG'S 'RASA SAYANG'

Venue: Wei-Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Aug 19

At Wei-Ling Gallery in KL, contemporary artist Wong Chee Meng's new solo exhibition Rasa Sayang delves into the very essence of what defines our country as "Malaysia" and why it is crucial to reflect upon these elements.

This exhibition stands as a visual cornerstone, honouring the splendour of traditions and the connecting threads that bind us as a nation, with a special focus on the significance of cultural preservation and adaptation.

With a keen focus on innovation, this exhibition seamlessly incorporates augmented reality (AR) to elevate and enhance the viewing experience, embracing the dynamic realm of modernity. As a friendly reminder, bring your smartphones with you to fully interact in the AR aspects that accompany the artworks.

The exhibition is open by appointment only. Contact: 03-2260-1106 or email: siewboon@weiling-gallery.com.

More info here.

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