FIRST-TIME guest curator at Core Design Gallery in Subang Jaya, Ali Nurazmal Yusoff, will be leading 14 artists in his month-long art exhibition called Soya Cincau.
As its name suggests, the art exhibition features Malaysian Contemporary Art in black and white — be it paintings, sculptures or mixed media.
Painting in black and white is new to Ali and he decided upon this theme to challenge himself.
“I am a realist artist and I play with a lot of colours in my work but I got too comfortable with that and I felt it became too easy.
“I decided to challenge myself to create black-and-white artworks to understand it and it was not easy as I had limited tones to create a piece,” he said.
Ali has three artworks exhibited — The Glory, The Goodfather and A for Epal.
The Glory was inspired by his journey to the peak of Mount Kinabalu, which also reflects his journey as an artist.
Just like climbing a mountain, the journey to becoming an artist is plagued by challenges and after fighting through one, more come your way.
He explained that after a year-and-a-half of experimenting with black-and-white tones, his work this year was new, less rendering and more expression.
The Goodfather is a take from The Godfather, one of his favourite movies where the lead character is played by Marlon Brando, who he said reminds him of his father.
“The character is tough on the outside but inside, he’s a good father who looks out for his family’s security,” he said.
The theme of security transitioned into his third piece, A for Epal, where his painting of two kids, secured behind a wooden grille.
It marks the guarding of a child from hazards and negativity outside a home.
The artists selected for the exhibition are divided into three groups — young artists, mid-career and established artists — all of whom are local.
Some of the artists who have been in the industry for years are Husin Hourmain, Mohd Azlan Mohd Latib, and Raja Lope Rasydi Raja Roslan.
Husin Hourmain has been a full-time artist for 14 years.
The former graphic designer turned abstract and expressionist artist said when given the theme of the exhibition, what came close to his heart were Jawi characters.
“I remember back in the 1950s, Jawi characters were familiar to Malaysians, even the non-Muslim knew how to read the characters but today, it feels like the characters are forgotten,” he said.
For Soya Cincau, Husin exhibits his artworks entitled ‘Nota Baru’ and ‘Alif Lam Mim dalam Rahsia’, both showcasing Jawi letters.
Husin said his works these days will see some Jawi characters amongst the imagery, as a way to keep the characters alive.
In Alif Lam Mim dalam Rahsia, he was struck by the first 13 paragraphs with secret letters, which he said only God can decipher.
Contemporary artists’ work focuses on issues that are relevant to today’s society.
Mohd Azlan dwells on the destruction of life in his collection called Symphony of Destruction.
His triptych work, he explained, was about memories, the passage of time, life and death.
He said the primary idea of his work was to establish an effective way of creating narrative content through lucid articulation of elements and substances like paper, remnants of coffee, medical plaster, paper clips as a treatment device and paper collage and printmaking practice.
His artwork takes days, as it involves submerging paper in coffee for three to four days followed by hand rendering of coffee stains to form the shapes he has envisioned in his mind.
His triptych reflects the destruction of land and sea by man. It also reflects how mankind has upset Mother Nature and also invites viewers to recognise the severity of destruction to society and the deep sea.
Raja Lope Rasydi Raja Roslan reminds one of Peter Pan, a young boy at heart and full of imagination.
He is in love with fairy tales and science fiction and shares this in his artworks.
In Soya Cincau, he exhibits an artwork inspired by the legends of Chang Er and a 14-panel art installation.
In his artwork, he paints Chang Er as a female robot, who is stranded.
She is painted against the background of a starry night sky, with the jade rabbit on her left and a laurel tree in the distance.
As the story goes, Chang Er enlists the help of a jade rabbit, whose heart is painted green, to produce an elixir of immortality using leafs from the laurel tree, in hopes of reuniting with her husband.
Viewers will see robotic Chang Er with human emotions — desperate but patient and hopeful.
His art installation called Self-Portrait, Self Maintenance II, is part of an ongoing long-term project.
The installation reflects the work of the other artists and his fascination with films and science fiction.
While the artwork has a light-hearted air to it, the panels may be deceptively simple to create, requiring various techniques, found items and time to create.
Other artists who will be showcasing their artwork are Azrin Mohd, Shafarin Ghani, Haafiz Shahimi, Shaliza Juanna Alfred, Benedetta Segala Ghani, Muhammad Nazri Tahir, Chuah Shu Ruei, Jamil Zakaria, Husin Othman, and Annabelle Ng.
Soya Cincau will be held until Dec 15 and is open to the public on weekdays from 10am to 7pm and weekends by appointment.
Core Gallery is located at 87, Jalan SS15/2A, Subang Jaya, a double storey residence, in front of Subang Avenue.