Local Artists Express Their Versions of Freedom

Some 30 Malaysian artists, in collaboration with CULT Gallery have come together yet again in a fundraising exhibition and sale in aid of Sisters in Islam (SIS).

Called SISArt 2020, the exhibition which opened last Saturday, 26th September at CULT Gallery Kuala Lumpur, was themed Free/Bebas features a lineup of local homegrown artists who contributed their finest works.

Following the success of the three previous exhibitions, SIS was confident this year’s event would draw the same enthusiastic response. When it was first premiered in 2017, the theme Hell Heaven was chosen. In 2018 it was Halal Haram and last year, the organisers decided on the theme Awan & Tanah. It garnered a whopping RM177,283 for SIS.

This year’s theme, Free/Bebas is inspired by the CoVid-19 pandemic where activities were restricted by the Movement Control Order (MCO). Artists expressed their definition of freedom, or kebebasan through an array of mediums such as oil, acrylic, textile, wood sculpture, monotype and other creative means.

At the launch, SIS Executive Director Rozana Isa said, “We are excited to explore freedom through SISArt 2020 as this year has definitely been unique in a sense that our physical movements are restricted due to CoVid-19. However, being physically restricted does not mean we cannot be productive, creative or expressive.”

“While we still adhere to the SOPs, we are confident that this year’s show will be just as well-received as last year. We have even more contributing artists this year, and we thank them and the Malaysian art collectors community for being such unwavering supporters of our work towards realising equality and justice for Muslim women and for Malaysians overall.”

The exhibition features a diverse combination of well-established Malaysian artists involved in both the local and international art scenes. The line-up for this year include: Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Ilse Noor, Dato Sharifah Fatimah Zubair, Chong Siew Ying, and Kow Leong Kiang. Eminent artists in the art scene such as Kamal Mustafa and Chang Yoong Chia make their debut in SISArt this year. The show also showcases a line-up of young and up-and-coming artists such as Ain Rahman, Iona Danald, Lyne Ismail, Amir Mansor, Faiz Mahdon, and Haz Yusup.

Established artist and CULT Gallery owner, Ahmad Zakii Anwar expresses his freedom through his painting, “Plant, Kettle & Persimmons” which was made with acrylic on canvas.

Ilse Noor, a well-known graphic fine artist expresses her freedom through her artwork using the medium line drawing etching & aquatint entitled, “Cenderawasih.”

Up-and-coming artist Iona Danald’s weaving piece, “Phosphenes & Eigengrau” is inpired by her own observation of phosphenes, a phenomenon that makes people see splashes of light on an almost-black background when eyes are closed and eigengrau, the colour perceived in the absence of light.

Faiz Mahdon, also an up-and-coming artist expresses his freedom through his art entitled, “Unmentioned” made by acrylic on canvas.

Some other artwork include Dato Sharifah Fatimah Zubair’s Greenscape ‘20 (acrylic on canvas), Chong Siew Ying’s Soul Mountains (charcoal, acrylic emulsion and plaster on paper – mounted canvas), Kow Leong Kiang’s Fishing Boats (oil on canvas), Bayu Utomo Radjikin’s Wild Scent – Bertaut and Wild Scent – Seloka (acrylic on canvas), Chang Yoong Chia’s “Rabbits and Cannibals” and “Self-Portrait as the Rabbit I have Eaten” (monotype print) and Elephant in 4 Parts” (drypoint etching), Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail’s Basuh, Bersih and Cuci Tangan (ceramic, acrylic on canvas, wood frame, and glass), Nia Khalisa’s Haih (batik on linen), Ain Rahman’s Shadows of Power (charcoal on canvas), Haz Yusop’s Hampir (oil on linen), Kamal Mustafa’s The Elephant (mixed media) and Anniketyni Madian’s Tangga Beji #01 (Mix of hardwood, oil paint & epoxy resin).

Free/Bebas is on show at CULT Gallery from 3 to 10 October 2020. Due to CoVid-19, viewing is by appointment only, daily from 10am to 6pm. Please contact Sisters in Islam (SIS) at 03-7960 3357 for appointment. Like last year’s show, all works are for sale and 50 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to SIS. All proceeds donated are eligible for tax exemption.

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