Malaysian artists step into the limelight

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Apr 2019

Trailblazers: (From left) Anurendra, Zulkifli, Lam and Lim will represent the country’s first Malaysia pavilion in Venice next month.

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Malaysian contemporary artists are set to make history next month at the country’s first national pavilion at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy.

The works of Anurendra Jegade­va, 54, H.H. Lim, 65, Ivan Lam, 44, and Zulkifli Yusoff, 57, will be featured in an exhibition titled “Holding Up A Mirror”.

Curated by Lim Wei-Ling of Wei-Ling Contemporary gallery here, this exhibition at the Venice Bien­nale is a discourse on the concept of identity within the larger context of society at a time of political, social and economic change.

The Venice Biennale, first held in 1895, is known as the original art fair on which others in the world have been modelled.

This year, Malaysia joins 90 other countries at this venerable event, including Singapore, Thailand, Indo­nesia and the Philippines, who have had their artists represented in previous editions of the show.

Gowri Balasegaram is the co-curator of this installation-centred show.

“These artists have established a name for themselves in Malaysia and on the international front. I have had the pleasure of working with them at some point during my 17 years of running my gallery and curating exhibitions in Malaysia.

“I have seen how they have evolved as contemporary artists making statements about the world in which they live. They will do us proud in representing Malaysia on this international platform,” said Lim of the artist selection in an announcement ceremony at the National Art Gallery here yesterday.

Amerrudin Ahmad, National Art Gallery deputy director-general, said: “It is a big dream for Malaysia to have a pavilion at his prestigious and historic international art event and we are very pleased to be part of this collaboration with Wei-Ling.

“We hope that this participation in the Venice Biennale will mark the start of a brighter and more vibrant future for the arts in Malaysia,” he said.

“Malaysia’s omission from the list of national pavilions in Venice has always left me bereft. With the changes the nation is undergoing since last year, I felt compelled and energised to make a difference for the country by spearheading Malay­sia’s first national pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale.”

This year’s biennale, directed by American-born, London-based cur­a­­tor Ralph Rugoff, is themed “May You Live In Interesting Times”.

The inaugural Malaysia pavilion is supported by the Creador Foun­dation, BRDB Developments and Big Tree, and endorsed by the National Art Gallery, and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

It is commissioned by Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Najib Dawa, director-­general of the National Art Gallery.The Venice Biennale will take place from May 11 to Nov 24.

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