Currently taking place at Wei-Ling Gallery is the much anticipated 18@8 exhibition. Ever since it was introduced, the 18@8 series of exhibitions by the gallery have brought to the forefront a compilation of Malaysia’s most prominent contemporary and emerging artists.
With each edition, a theme is presented to the artists, giving them the freedom to experiment while encouraging them to think outside the box. This time, with 18@8 RIGHT HERE! RIGHT NOW! 11 artists were asked to look within and create a work that is introspective, reflecting who they are today and what their work stands for now.
Among those showcasing work are Ivan Lam, Cheng Yen Pheng and Fauzan Omar, artist whose work extend beyond being about who they are but also tie in with current affairs. They include Ivan Lam whose work reflects the proverb, “The axe forgets what the tree remembers,” which suggest that victims never forget the pain that has been done to them. In this work, Lam tells the story of his 92-year old grandmother, who lived through the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II, by incorporating quilts passed down to him by his grandmother. These symbolise his grandmother’s memories and experiences during the Japanese occupation. Although the proverb speaks of the past, it is still applies heavily to today’s volatile world with wars still being fought in many different parts of the world, and many “axes” & “trees” are still at work.
Cheng presents a colourless photography collage with drawings by children integrated in the form of stitching. Cheng’s photographs feature a range of people from her friends and family to colleagues and students from the institute she teaches in as well as random passers-by. The work plays on the concept that the subjects get along despite the fact that they come from different ethnicities and faiths. As recent political events have resulted in “colours” being assigned to various agendas, Cheng chose to eliminate all colour from work.
Fauzan Omar focuses on the haze that engulfs Southeast Asia almost every year, posing a threat to the environment. Fauzan has made it his ongoing quest to create discourse about the changing landscape we live in today. With an interest in plants and biodiversity, Fauzan raises questions on the mysteries, secrets, darkness and emptiness caused by forest fires. Named Welcoming July till October, the titles represent the months in which the haze usually occurs. Flowers and leaves can be seen overlapping with each other, creating a motif like pattern of white and black. The black represents the trees turning to ash and charcoal as they burn while the white represents death, the colour of burial shrouds, a symbol of sparseness.
The exhibition 18@8 RIGHT HERE! RIGHT NOW! takes place at Wei-Ling Gallery till Feb 28