Art for Nature 2003: Games People Play

Ahmad Zakii Anwar Breath 2003 oil on canvas 68 x 200 cm

Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Breath, 2003, oil on canvas, 68 x 200 cm.

afnlogoThis year’s exhibition involves the concept of playing games. In different contexts, play can have positive and negative meanings and outcomes. Playing builds friendships, tests physical and mental skills and develops the ability to concentrate. The danger arises when people play at policy or relationships without considering how it affects others. Policy makers play with the environment, threatening the ecosystem; and in relationships, people play with their lovers or people around them to gratify their ego. In any case the games people play affect all of us.

Playing games is an activity that occupies our lives from childhood and beyond. In youth, playing builds friendships, tests physical and mental skills and develops concentration.

Yet, as adults, games take on a more complex nature. In every language, play as a word has both positive and negative meanings. When a person tries to cover up a hurtful comment they might say main main sahaja or jyou shr kai wan siau, both meaning I’m just joking. Romance also uses the language of games with main mata or the angry accusation that someone is just playing with you and not taking the relationship seriously.

Games on their own are neutral. They require an agreed upon set of rules, clear objectives and a willingness to suspend disbelief. We have to step out of our lives for a game to be fully played. Sometimes the game becomes confused with life or becomes so attractive that we find ways to make it a crucial part of our lives.

The danger arises when others play at policy or relationships without considering how it affects the fabric of life. Policy makers may play with the environment, imposing grandiose structure that will destroy endangered species or threaten fragile ecosystems. Rather than considering the impact of their actions, the fleeting goals of pride and greed are fed in the game of power accumulation.

In relationships, people play at love to gratify their ego or provide distraction from pressing issues at home. Romance serves as an escape from reality, the reality of ageing, emotional complexity or financial concerns.

Play can also be a very positive activity. As a means to build up the skills to make changes in life, playing with something or as someone else may help to give one the confidence to make necessary changes. Additionally, play is a crucial ingredient for creativity. Artists, designers and architects use the freeing power of play to learn what happy accidents can reveal. Without play, creativity is impossible.

— Laura Fan, curator

Anne Morrison, From 'Hybrid series' 1. Hive 2. Pod 3. Spore 4. Scale Size: 71.5 x 71.5cm (each work) Medium: oil on canvas

Anne Morrison, From ‘Hybrid series’ 1. Hive 2. Pod 3. Spore 4. Scale, Size: 71.5 x 71.5cm (each work), Medium: oil on canvas

Contributing Artists

  • Laura Fan (Curator)
  • Abdul Multhalib Musa
  • Ahmad Shukri Mohamed
  • Ahmad Zakii Anwar
  • Anne Morrison
  • Bayu Utomo Radjikin
  • Bibi Chew
  • Chang Yoong Chia
  • Chong Siew Ying
  • Choy Chun Wei
  • Chuah Chong Yong
  • Eric Chan
  • Ilse Noor
  • Jalaini Abu Hassan
  • Jasmine Kok
  • Noor Mahnun Mohamed
  • Ramlan Abdullah
  • Sharmiza Abu Hassan
  • Shooshie Sulaiman
  • Sidney Tan
  • Terry Law
  • the clickproject
  • Troy Ruffels
  • Umibaizurah Mahir
  • Yau Bee Ling
  • Yee I-Lann
  • Yusof Majid
  • Wong Perng Fey
  • Nur Hanim bt Mohamed Khairuddin