Home Is Where the Heart Is
by Noor Mahnun Mohamed
House of MATAHATI (HOM) end of the year exhibition ‘Ties’ is a gathering of five partnerships and a sort-of family get together. Works on display are by two pairs of siblings and three married couples –all connected by their common interest in the creative field and involvement in the visual arts.
Working under the exhibition concept of “Bringing the celebration of LOVE affairinto the artwork sphere. When we think of LOVE, we think of it as our comfort zone in a relationship, our hideaway from the bustling world outside. Within our domicile, we humanize our behaviors with emotions that are not just functional but that also reflect our attitude to life as well as an introspective inspiration. It is not unreasonable to say that LOVE is an artistic concept of our personality and aspirations (It could be) conceived as collaboration, when the idea from two artists became practical, they could end up creating their own environments. Hence the (title of) exhibition, prompting methods for aesthetic decisions and presentations.”(HOM)
‘Rumah Jiwa’ (2011), a metallic wall installation by Ahmad Zuraimi Abdul Rahim (b. 1980) graced the exhibition invite. Two concaveforms as receptacles, guarding the precious object(s) within. A depository of unconditional and supportive love, the family unit is central for Zuraimi in giving him a sense of belonging and hope.
“Datang dari tempurung kelapa yang menadah hujan sama seperti seseorang yang menadah tangan unstuk berdoa, jadi benda yang bertakung juga boleh menjadi sumber yang berguna. Seperti kasih saying ahli keluarga/ adikberadik saya yang sentiasa penuh bertakung dan membawa harapan.”
Zuraimi’s big brother Daud Rahim (b. 1973) harks back to the past, of days filled with laughter, perhaps a bit of fighting (over a fish?) in a descriptively titled work of ‘4 beradik, 4 umpan&satu ekor ikan, bila balik kampung kami pegi mancing’ (2011). Nostalgically reminiscing time spent together with his siblings, he finds his spiritual strength in a soulful kinship as opposed to the materialistic world.
“Roh adalah perkara yang bernilai pada seorang insan. Kerana roh yang akan dinilai dan jasad akan terkulai ditinggalkan. Daging dan tulang akan reput sebagai mana besi akan berkarat dan akhirnya musnah. Jika manusia hanya membuat usaha atas benda-benda disekelilingnya, maka yang maju adalah benda. Jika manusia lupa untuk berusahama majukan rohnya maka manusia semakin mundur malahan benda-benda dikelilingnya semakin maju. Besi yang berat diusahakan bersungguh-sungguh sehingga menjadi kapal terbang dan boleh terapung diudara.”
Kamal Sabran(b. 1977) and Fadly Sabran(b. 1983) are more experimentalin their artistic approach. Working in various media, both of these highly creative individuals have also collaborated on award winning (music) video productions and performances. Independently recognised and prolific in their ‘multitasking’ outputs, the Sabran brothers are also well known in the art scene with appearancesat various art exhibitions opening; Kamal via Space Gambus Experiment or (sometime incognito) Fadly with SOSound.
Kama describes his ‘Auto-Guitar’ (2011) as“…sebuah gitar yang akan berbunyi secara automatik. Ianya dikawal oleh electronic timer dan juga sensor yang telah diubah suai. Geseran mesin pada tali gitar dikuatkan melalui amplifier dan bunyi dapat didengar melalui speaker.” Roughly translated, the installation of electric guitar, amplifier, speaker and electronic timeremits a riff, a time-controlled acoustic response to itssite and surrounding.
Fadly’s‘Electro BoxBot’ (2011) vehicle-like construction made of waste materials, steel, rubber, metal, electronic board, strobe light, TV, video and sound “…(combines) video sculpture,video installation, audiovisual performance art, robotic art,kinetic art, based on new media technologies. I am mostly interested in the influence of information on the present life of human beings. I believe that art is to help people to manipulate information while now people are generally captured by information and its power. Working with wasted material and tracing new technologies, I take a profound interest in working with video image, sound, electronic kinetic Internet technologies. The digital images are used to create an imagination and feelings for the sculptures, which work as a sensible ‘old school’ low-tech damaged robotic machineof the unconscious. The work uses concepts of psychology and dreams by creating sensitive, heartbeat collage video with disturbing sound and scanning body parts with the machines that junctions the material as a body and the digital as imagery thoughts.”
On a more organic and sentimental style, husband and wife Azliza Ayob(b. 1975), Ilham Fadhli(b. 1980), acrylic and collage on canvas works on a different realm, a world filled with fantastical creatures and flights of fantasy. In this household, birds of a feather do flock together, ‘The Guardians’ (2011) by Azliza watching over“… a most precious mother pearl, (to retain) youth and beauty both physically and spiritually. The inverted crown could be a gate or a contained space, the eyes are watching, the legs ready to protect from intruders.” A diadem, the painting alludes to fables and myths, legends and allegories. Defended by the sky-studded surveillance, high heels and platform shoes, do not even think of stealing the jewelled tiara.
“Unknotting the mysteries of ‘her’ world, turbulence mid-air and chaos nonetheless, makes me a man” says Ilham Fadhli of ‘Knot’ (2011). A romantic voyage on a wispy trail of clouds, it is also an analogy of his connubial life, of a partnership, of shared duty and responsibilities. A journey, despite the obstacles, its ups and downs, is beautifully rendered in the unfurling of the knots, in the hair, in the air.
In a collaborative effort, team Diana Ibrahim (b. 1979) and Mohd Saharuddin Supar (b. 1975) ruminates on Life and Love with their‘Gift Box’.
Life is a gift from Allah
Love is the key for a meaningful life
Love your brothers & other creatures
Give your love, hoping for beautiful & meaningful life... and afterlife.
Thefive in a series of ‘Gift Box’ containsan egg or bulbous-like forms sitting on a velvet pillow. A treasure within a cold, steel chest, these blown-glass shapes are precious, breakable and fragile, just like Life and Love. Quoting Mahatma Ghandi for ‘Gift Box No.1’, Lao-Tzu, ‘Gift Box No.2’;Al-Bukhari, ‘Gift Box No.3’; Saint Augustine,‘Gift Box No.4’ and Mother Teresafor ‘Gift Box No.5’,these variations of the same theme are tokens of appreciation and universal in their contemplations.
New parents to a baby girl, Deyanna Deraman(b. 1982) and spouse Haslin Ismail (b. 1984) met in art school few years back.In her ‘Evening sunset… Lily Pond… Resting on a Swaying Frond’ (2011) Deyanna’s soft sculpture is quite poetic in sentiment and has a sensuous tactile quality to it. The wall piece is a colourful“…composition of flora and fauna (representing) the symbiotic, parasitic nature and relationships between these two worlds. It also depicts the human emotion, a kind of interconnectedness between everything. Just like Alice going down the rabbit hole, the process of making this, a travel into an imaginative (and imaginary) realm, isquite magical”.
Last but not least, Haslin Ismail book art ‘Where Are My Eyes?’ (2011), is not about magic but on a similar trip into the third (if not the fourth) dimension. The Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious Young Contemporary Award (2010) with his complex and intricate paper/book art installation (blood were spilled, finger cut and paper cuts), his artwork for ‘Ties’ is cut out of an A4-sized sketch book filled with figure drawings. A monstrous creature’s pair of eyes appears. “It is about the sixth sense. It is about the real human.”
‘Ties’ at House of MATAHATI brings us into five different homes. To the ten artists above, home is where the Art is.