Amateurs shine at JAG showSatiman Jamin
THERE are world-class hidden arts talent in Johor waiting to be discovered and the authorities would do well to provide them with the necessary avenues to polish their talents.
The ongoing Johor Amateur Painters' Exhibition at the Johor Arts Gallery showed that apart from beautiful paintings, young artists here can come up with thought-provoking installations and new provocative arts media.
More than 20 artists from Johor, with nearly 60 paintings, sculptures and installations took part in the exhibition.
Among them are Malay and Chinese calligraphers.
Dubbed “Aliran” or “Stream”, the exhibition highlights the quest of the amateur artists to find their style and technique.
Apart from immersing themselves in the beauty of the art pieces, visitors are coaxed to engage with the thought-provoking installation art by among others, budding artist Mohd Azhar Mohtar, 28.
Slabs of varnished wood with truncated Jawi inscriptions are lined on the floor in a circle in Azhar's installation “Ba.alif.cha.lam.ha”.
The cryptic title is the phonetic rendering of “baca lah”, or “read”, and refers to the slabs of beautiful calligraphy arranged on the floor instead of hung from a wall.
Azhar said he wanted visitors, especially Malay youths, to reflect on the current state of Jawi, which has been neglected in the quest for modernisation despite it being once the mainstay of Malay literature.
“Nowadays, Jawi calligraphy is mainly seen on art pieces, hung from the wall while Jawi literature has fallen to its lowest point with not enough readership even to sustain a Jawi newspaper in the country,” he said, explaining the message behind the art piece.
He said although his commissioned art works normally involved portraits, he only brought his most thought-provoking paintings and installations to the exhibition.
“I take it as my social responsibility as an artist to raise awareness about issues through my art.”
Just a few paces from his art piece there was another “puzzling” work.
The relief painting by Norazlan Ahmad, 32, uses kayu liat or wood-clay to make his paintings come to life, especially his newest one titled “Jambu Air”.
It was so life-like, it looked like a branch of the jambu air tree had sprung out of the frame. One almost expected to see a worm next to a leaf with an elongated worm hole in the middle of it.
Admired by fellow artists for the revolutionary medium that he had perfected, Norazlan has had only two years of formal education in art.
“I went for an art course at the Batu Rakit Education Institute in Terengganu from 2005 to 2006 and what I had learned during the course led me to create the wood-clay medium as my identity.”
Norazlan said the government should provide a studio for youths interested in the arts.
“Established artists could guide the youths to develop their talents further.”
Norazlan took steps to promote the arts by liaising with the Johor Baru City Council so that 20 budding artists could hold mini exhibitions at the Hutan Bandar recreational park.
“By holding exhibitions and painting demonstrations there from time to time, we could reach different segments of society at one go.”
Still, it was not all revolutionary art works at the Johor Baru exhibition.
Hariri Yusof's watercolours received lavish praise for capturing sill-life in all their glory.
He captured the smooth texture of the young coconuts and play of light on them and the palm fronds.
Hariri said the paintings have received good reviews and online sales order.
Youth and Sports Ministry state director Mohd Ghani Mohd Yusof opened the exhibition on Sunday.
It will run until the end of December.
Visiting hours are 9am to 4.30pm daily, except on public holidays. For information, call 07-2263266.