Drawing inspiration from pre-civilisation


The space resembles a cave with drawings titled ‘Revenge Lyrics‘ on the left and up ahead, is ‘Luck Is The Only Justice‘, inspired by an ancient rune symbol Gibu Auja that symbolises good luck. — INTAN SYUHADA/The Star

THE art pieces by Malaysian artist James Ly and Belgian Andy Wauman take viewers on a journey as it explores religious, artistic and cultural exchanges.

They are currently on show at Minut Init Art Social in Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya.

At first glance, the space resembles a cave with wall paintings made up of ancient symbols in black and white.

Wauman explained that spiritual tagging, done by ancient people in caves, was the cultural representation of their ideas and beliefs.

“They are basically the first cultural representation of art.

“I see myself being an artist who embraces aesthetics.

“For me, ancient symbols contain so much beauty, knowledge and meaning in contrast to many of today’s symbols, which do not have soul or beauty,” Wauman said.

The exhibition, entitled “Soul Killers Don’t Quit”, showcases a total of five artworks, named Revenge Lyrics, Luck Is The Only Justice, Mantra Rays, Best! Best! Drums! and Tribes Yell.

Wauman said that these days, humans tend to lose spirituality and are disconnected from nature.

“They are connected and addicted to corporate and social media as well to become artificial and superficial.

“In the world we live in today, everything is labelled, especially it in Asia, which emphasises uniformity.

“We need luck in life. Nothing is wrong with bad luck and sadness. That’s all part of life.

“However, perfect life in social media only embraces the good side,” he said.

Mantra Rays, inspired by Buddhist teachings.
Mantra Rays, inspired by Buddhist teachings.

This exhibition aims to create dialogue and awareness for contemplating the moment.

Inspired by indigenous practices, extinct languages and religious symbols, the two artists are inviting people to experience the magical and primitive nature using their imagination.

Ancient symbols used in the art pieces are from tribes all around the world including tribes from Africa, South-East Asia, Europe and Middle East.

“This symbolises that all humans came from same place, we all were primitive once.

“We developed and became more civilised, then comes myriads of problems,” said Ly, who is also the co-founder of Minut Init Art Social.

He said some languages and cultures were lost with development.

Wauman says that these days, humans tend to lose spirituality and are disconnected from nature.
Wauman says that these days, humans tend to lose spirituality and are disconnected from nature.

“What we’re going through is globalisation which cause some people to lose their cultural identities,” he said.

He explained that they played with symbols and linguistic processes.

“Like the language we use in Malaysia, we learn from colonisation and we adapt it and make it our own.

“Most cultures now are experiencing this because of multiculturalism,” he said.

One of the paintings titled Mantra Rays, captures the essential elements of Buddhist teachings, the heart sutra and diamond sutra.

“We did it intuitively, it’s like we’re chanting, not so much about the techniques but the ritual process.

“The action is repeated but they all come out different.

Ly says globalisation has resulted in the loss of languages and cultural identities.
Ly says globalisation has resulted in the loss of languages and cultural identities.

“Each piece reflects that everything in reality is always moving,” Ly said.

These works were created using woodcutting, which is an ancient way of printing.

“We use old techniques on industrial material, the paper for the mass production.

“There is tension and conflict but it also creates the beauty,” said Ly.

“We want to provide authentic experience. It’s a discourse and a negotiation,” he said.

The exhibition is open for viewing by appointment from 7pm to 10pm on weekdays until March 24.

For details, visit the Facebook page Minut Init art social.

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