Shadows That Flourish
a solo exhibition by Kim Ng
About the Exhibition
Originally from Brazil, in the last three years Carlos Carvalho has been living in Asia, first India, now in Indonesia. Using crafts techniques and everyday materials, like textiles (mostly felt), paper, cardboard and paint, he builds topographies. Those topographies are found through the combination and juxtaposition of shapes cast from his body. His process is time consuming and repetitive, almost meditative.
My body is the center of my work, my body is queer and I’m gay. Thinking queerness in places where it’s not welcome or allowed is what is going through my mind. Especially because Brazil is also facing a conservative wave right now that is pressing against women, LGBTIs and the African-Brazilian population.
At Rimbun Dahan, being in the middle of all this green I wonder about things that hide in the vegetation, in the bushes. Being mostly by myself, this also brings about the idea that things that we fear hide in the dark, among the plants. I decided to play with the idea of camouflage as a starting point, as we can think of animals that hide. I mock the hunter animal print over the casts taken from my own body – I fear they are part of each of us, that they are constituents of our minds. This is supposed to be a turning point of the dynamics of fear. The body parts originating from the queer-gay body to become the element that hides and hunts, I put the body in a position of power and control, which is what the queer body needs to have in today’s reality.
Rimbun Dahan presents Everlasting Love, a showcase of recent works made by Malaysian artist Azliza Ayob who, in her 16 year career, has worked in many mediums such as collage, painting, sculpture, and installation. She has spent her year in residency exploring the possibilities of creating art from discarded and unwanted daily items to sustain and survive in the field that she loves most, which is making art. The exhibition also ties together the themes of labour, community, tradition, and sustainability.
DATES: 27 November – 4 December 2016
OPENING HOURS: Weekends 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday by appointment
Admission is FREE. For the event page on Facebook please click here.
There will also be a free guided tour of Rimbun Dahan’s grounds and traditional village houses at 9am on 27 November, conducted by Angela Hijjas. Our other current resident artist, Si Jie Loo, will also be having an open studio 10am to 6pm on Sunday, 27 November.
Nature plays a strong part in her work and like many previous Rimbun Dahan resident artists, Azliza took inspiration from the surrounding grounds and the various types of flora and fauna growing in the gardens, using her time cleaning the lawns in front of her cottage to understand different types of leaves. In that process, she also got acquainted with the inorganic things accumulating (and “growing”) within the grounds as well as in the surrounding village. Azliza started out with one studio and a small collection of plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). One year on, the scale of her work has required her to utilize two studios to house pieces made from an estimated 2000 PET bottles and other materials. The bottles were either handpicked from the roadside and the trash or donated by fellow artists, friends, family, and eateries and shops from Kuang all the way to Kuantan.
“I am fascinated with the transparency of PET bottles,” says Azliza. “I’m fascinated by its longevity and how it’s so easily accumulated to the point where it is ‘haunting’. [Through working with the material], I became more sculptural. The process is so tedious, but the result is satisfying.”
Azliza learned various traditional crafting techniques from a young age and put this knowledge to use to both figuratively and literally weave together her unconventional and modern materials into softer forms, organic shapes, and detailed sculptures and collages. She has used plastic bottles in an interactive site-specific installation titled For Our Daughters (2011), glitter to fill thousands of mushroom forms and pink rain drops for her residency exhibition at Fukuoka Art Museum in 2012, and paper collages in her 2014 solo at Wei-ling Gallery, All That Glitters. New materials joined her repertoire in making work for Everlasting Love.
“I made weavings by substituting plastic strips, wires and wire mesh for traditional mengkuang, I incorporated glass and plastic beads, rhinestones, oil paints mixed with spray paints, recycled printed items, glitters, stuff from local hardware stores and all-in-one convenience shops. The materials [I use] must be considered trash, unwanted, or too ordinary and unimaginable to create art, it must show the laborious process of art.” She supplements these with the inclusion of a more sentimental material – batik cloths from her own personal collection, mostly wedding presents from her mother-in-law’s Kelantanese family. Ordinary perhaps, but certainly not trash or unwanted. “These batik cloths have gone through and withstood the vigorous activity of a mother, wife, artist, and best preserved in art.”
The use of everyday materials was both a matter of principle and necessity. Azliza says, “I find being creative is somehow connected with being frugal. Working with limited finances is possible with good interpersonal skills and when you work together in a supportive community. In this way, I think of creating art as a way to empower our economy, to live cleaner and greener, to help us think of sustenance and sustainability as a way to maintain our freedom (to love, to be, to do).”
Rimbun Dahan is also a proud participant of Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur, a festival tour of the rich and innovative arts and culture scene of the city happening 25 – 27 November 2016.
Rimbun Dahan is now accepting applications for a year-long residency from January to December 2017 for visual artists from Malaysia. We have hosted year-long residencies from 1994 up to the end of 2013, and have seen Malaysian artists use their time with us to further their practice and become illustrious names in the local art scene and beyond. We hope to continue this tradition in 2017, alongside our growing Southeast Asian Art Residency program. Read below for more information.
We’re looking for artists interested in expanding their art practice, exploring new ideas/themes in their work, producing a new body of work, establishing themselves even further in the field of art, or all of the above. We’re looking for engaged and motivated artists who are looking to commit themselves to investing the time and resources provided by this residency into pushing themselves somewhere they couldn’t otherwise go. The year-long residency will culminate in an exhibition* held at Rimbun Dahan’s underground gallery in November 2017.
* This exhibition could be a solo or could feature work by other artists in residency at Rimbun Dahan
Expectations of the residency
What’s provided by the residency
If you would like to apply, please send the following:
Please send in COMPLETE applications only. All applications are due by Sunday, October 30 2016.
Send electronic applications via email (preferred method) to
Ms Syar S. Alia, Arts Manager at email@example.com
Send hard copy applications to:
Ms Syar S. Alia, Arts Manager
c/ Hijjas Kasturi Associates Sdn.,
23rd floor Menara Promet,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Hard copy application material will be returned after selections are made.
This year’s Art for Nature exhibition takes its concept from the gardens of Taman Sari, originally located in the palace grounds of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, and the fragrance garden of the same name at Rimbun Dahan. Both gardens represent the physical manifestation of a set of ideas about man, their place in the world and how they should interact with other humans and with nature.
Taman Sari in Yogyakarta is a vast complex that includes three large swimming pools, water gardens, lakes and pavilions. Built in 1758 by Sultan Hamengku Buwono I of the Kingdom of Yogyakarta, the project was funded by the Dutch, ostensibly to serve as a fort. While seeming to fulfill this project, the Sultan instead focused on augmenting his grounds and structuring the gardens to amplify his spiritual power.
Legend has it that the power of the Sultan is linked to his mystical marriage to the Queen of the South Sea, variously known as Ratu Laut Selatan or Nyai Loro Kidul. The days and nights preceding their union are marked with rituals and meditation in especially constructed chambers. Should he fail to appear, then harm will befall Java. Taman Sari, then, served as no less than a sacred site to facilitate the harmony of the Kingdom.
In a more personal vein, Taman Sari at Rimbun Dahan was built to express many of the ideas that their owners hold dear. Specifically, the concept that indigenous plants and their symbolic, medical, fragrant and edible qualities must be preserved and celebrated inspired the collection. Plants with a strong sense of cultural identity, such as the pinang palms from which the betel nuts integral to traditional hospitality, are features. Fragrance, rather than colour has been emphasized as that is how plants advertise their fertility in the forest. Laid out to provide sustenance, pleasure and a sense of place, Taman Sari at Rimbun Dahan makes visible the ideas that its owners direct their lives by.
Most importantly, the gardens underscore concepts about place, identity and purpose. Their integration and reliance on the natural world is key. Areas to focus on can be how ideas translate into action, how concepts of self, spirituality and community can be expressed in a creative form, whether or not that is two, three or even four dimensional.
The focus on the gardens is not meant to be literal, but rather symbolic. Themes may include how a sense of place is created, harmony with the natural world, integration of spiritual dimensions with a more mundane reality.
Artists are invited to spend time at Taman Sari in Rimbun Dahan and to consider making works that can be displayed outdoors.
— Laura Fan, curator
|Abdul Multhalib Musa
Ahmad Fuad Othman
Ahmad Shukri Mohamed
Ahmad Zakii Anwar
Bayu Utomo Radjikin
Chong Siew Ying
Choy Chun Wei
Chuah Chong Yong
Eric Chan Chee Seng
Fariza Azlina Ishak
Ili Farhana Norhayat
Jailani Abu Hassan
Kolektif Taring Padi
|Noor Mahnun Mohamed
Nur Hanim Mohamed Khairuddin
Noor Azizan Rahman Paiman
Sharmiza Abu Hassan
Wong Perng Fey
Yau Bee Ling
|G of D (Garden of Delight) in a Digital Age – Terry LawThe Garden of Delight, the G of D, has arrived in an abstract world of symbols and metaphors. This multi-media installation explores what unites landscape and nature with contemporary perspective, and contemporary perspective with technology.
The kinetic sculptures draw parallel messages from nature and humanity. The diversity of the garden with its variability, eco-dependence and unpredictability, exemplifies the mysterious order of chaos, reflecting the fragility of our existence.
The digital media creates parallel insertions, conflicting images and links between worlds. The absence of a narrative reduces visual activity to optical poetry. This suggests a shift in the way we think about space and time.
Coloured beads and streaks of flickering light create a rhythmic staccato of warm and cool spots, you no longer know where you are, transported to these new experiences of the soul.
|tree – Victoria Cattoni (in collaboration with Masnoramli Mahmud)tree is a montage of image, sound, text and performance structured around a simple question: ‘if you were a tree, what kind would you be?’ The video acts as an imaginative trigger, inviting the viewer to identify with a tree that becomes a metaphor for human existence, an embodiment of ourselves in relation to others.|
|Deep Night – Eric ChanThis is part of a series dealing with night, paying attention to the reflection behind the subject that renders the foreground as a mass of dark shadow-like shapes. My visits to Rimbun Dahan have always been at night, surrounded by a lush moonlit landscape. These memories provided the inspiration for the painting.|
|In Between – Bayu Utomo Radjikin|
|Gantunglah kami sebelum kamu digantungkan... – Saiful Razman (in collaboration with Bernice Chauly and Rahmat Haron)This work uses Bernice’s text and Rahmat’s poetry that speak of hopes and dreams. The words have been transferred to the cloth, creating an amulet to symbolise protection against evil.|
|Thompson Birdwing Butterfly – Tony TwiggShortly after arriving in Kuala Lumpur, I found a very appealing broken wooden box in Chinatown. Back in the studio, I put it together as an ordinary looking thing that I then tried to liven up with yellow paint. A month or two later, I was on a demolition site and found two pieces of circular something in wood. Back in the studio it was a match for my yellow construction. Once it was together I started wondering if a butterfly might be a solution to the picture, inspired by the Art of Nature show. Bee Ling came to my studio and said that I had a word on my box, and it was butterfly. Next Angela was looking at this piece and said, “Look, a yellow and black butterfly,” just like my work, outside the studio, in the garden. It is Troides aeacus Thompsonii, a male Thompson Birdwing.|
The Gardener Series – Yau Bee Ling
My garden does not exist in reality but evolved as a mental picture of those who inhabit it; a garden that oscillates between dream and reality. It changes from a site for self-discovery to a place for cultivating personal vision.
Garden Object – Choy Chun Wei
This is part of a series that delves into the formation of mental maps to explore human dwellings within the landscape. The garden is a place for tactile and sensory engagement, where one may expand sensibility within space.
This year’s exhibition deals with personal definitions of paradise and explores our roles in creating or destroying these ideal places. Malaysian reefs and rainforests resemble descriptions of paradise on earth and yet we continue to destroy them at an astonishing rate. How do concepts of paradise guide our actions? Can they lift us outside our immediate concerns? Can we save our paradise?
Art for Nature will be open to the public from
September 25th – October 10th 2004
at Rimbun Dahan, 10am – 6pm
The word paradise conjures up a range of image. We tend to think of paradise as a place; beautiful, idyllic and free of suffering. Often tropical beaches and rainforests are described as paradise on earth. Pleasure may or may not be included but paradise always includes settings of natural wonder.
Paradise also carries a strong spiritual association. The Garden of Eden that man inhibited before the realization of Original Sin is often described as being like paradise. Heaven is also described as Paradise.
Islam, Christianity and some forms of Mahayana Buddhism incorporate concepts of paradise as reward for man’s good works on earth. In this way, paradise exists on an alternative/higher level of reality and is reachable through man’s choices. This dimension of will and effort is an important consideration. Paradise is both a spiritual goal and a personal goal. We strive to use action to reach an invisible ideal.
Yet the concept of paradise is not defined by religion but holds a universal appeal. Most powerfully, the concept of paradise is a metaphor for a state of being, free form guilt, suffering and pain. Unlike ecstasy or bliss, paradise does not carry the associations of enjoying pleasure but rather is a happy state that we can attain and earn.
Some dimensions explored by the contributing artists include personal definitions or paradise, spiritual or secular; paradise as an environ or paradise as an absolute state of being; is paradise a cultural or personally defined state or place?; does it exist physically or mentally? Note that one can be in paradise and not recognise it until it is destroyed or withdrawn.
This year’s theme takes its inspiration from the epic poem by John Milton, Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained. For those who may be interested in Milton’s Paradise Lost, the poem provides rich imagery. It was written just after the time of Shakespeare and finished in 1667. The book is a way into the theme and does not have to be involved in your deliberations.
In Paradise Lost, Satan leads a rebellion against God and is thrown out of Heaven with all the heavenly beings who sided with him. To decide on their course of action, he opens the debate to all his followers to decide what to do next. They decide on exploring the new world of man. Earth is the only dimension that has a gate to heaven and so is the only way possible to approach heaven. Prophecy states that God will create a new world: Earth. Chief amongst his world is man.
God gave man the gift of free will, the choices of good or evil are up to him. The rebellious angels decide to tempt man instead of attacking heaven directly. Created as the first man and woman, Adam and Eve live in blissful ignorance in the Garden of Eden. God’s only requirement is that they do not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.
The poem continues to describe Satan’s successful persuasion of Eve to taste the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. After Eve and then Adam eat of the fruit, they are cast out of Eden and doomed to make their way with life on earth.
— Laura Fan, curator
This 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