Thursday, July 29, 2010

And The Show must go onnn...

So far i counted almost two hundred foreign visitors have dropped by to see my works and some sat and chatted about art and life in general. A couple of days ago a couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin dropped by and was surprised to learnwed that i had lived in Green Bay and Milwaukee. I told them about my life in the Packing houses as well as the bars and taverns i used to hung out at in Green Bay. The Farr's grove in Duck Creek, Brown County where my late mother in law Mrs Beatrice Goerst was a regular. And then there was Jake's Pizza located on Main Street, downtown Green Bay where I frequented like my pit stop after my printmaking sessions at the UWGB. I wonder if Jake is still running the joint.
Yesterday a Greek by the name of Pericles dropped in and we had a nice long talk about life and I tried my two cents worth of Zen approach on him which i think flew right through him or over his head as he seemed preoccupied with his own load of suffering and eager to find short term solutions and answers. The Greeks in my expereince like to think and if you try to tell them that thinking is the key to their misery the will think you to death, just about every greek i had the opportunity to get acquainted with were great thinkers but poor at relationships especially with the opposite sex. perhaps its the Zeus syndrome or the Apolo Creed coplex of being God's gift to Love and Beauty. All in all I like the greeks for their directness and firm believe in their principles especially when it comes to phylosophical discussions. One of my closest friend living in San Jose, California is a Greek and I learned a great many things about life from him and maybe him from me.
A French lady by the name of Alex.. dropped in and hung out at the Gallery a few days, she had just recovered from a stomach cancer and a broken home and now has found a new lease on life and opted to do some travelling as a recuperating therapy, it seems to be working for her as she seemed happy and rejuvinated. She is now on her way to Cambodia via Thailand. Sue is from Wales and has been living in Bali her second home after having left behind her past 'unhappy' life and is now back in Europe somewhere. Most interesting character that dropped in at the gallery was a guy from Venezuela who quit his good paying job as a financial consultant to travel and take a walk on the wild side of life. he too seemd to have found some new meaning to his life from the manner in how he talked. A young Japanese writer in the Japanese manner of expression was very thrilled by my works and the fact that I had lived in Japan.
Each and everyone of these travellers who dropped by reminded me of myself as a traveller in the past, how i used to drop into local joints and studios by chance and meeting an interesting character or two who helped to shift my gear along my journey, whether to speed it up or slow it down as the situation demanded. They are many travellers who seem to be somewhere else and never where they were at. Their minds has gone ahead eventhough their body still lingers behind trying to see what is before them. Many have the traveller's guide in theri hand or a map of the area figuring out how to or where to next hardly noticing what is around them where they are at. Manuy carry with them baggage on their backs and more hanging down their necks and these more than often would have little time to even stop for a breather much less for a conversation. Most are suspicious when they are invited to drop in and would politely decline and moved on like you are about to deprive them of their sous, its an art gallery, for crying out loud!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sabrina"s Wedding

Five of us took off from Penang Friday night and drove to Kuala Trengganu to attend my Twin Brother's daughter's wedding. We arrived at K.Tr. at the early hours of the morning and booked into Hotel Sri Malaysia. There is a whole lot nothing to be said about the standard and quality of service as far as this chain of hotels goes but it needs to be mention that the toilet did not work. Nothing is more disgusting and than to stake a crap and leave the toilet bowl full of poop for the next guy to walk into. Nothing is more sacred in the Hospiltality Service industry than to ensure the cleanliness and proper funtion of the basic requirements of a home away from home like the clean bed and bathroom. But...oh well shit happens and i let the manager or whoever he was at the reception counter about how i felt of the service.
Afternoon we headed for the wedding and what a grand event it was as my brother and sister in law went all out with the occaision. The house set by the seaside was a perfect location with the Kapas Island set in the background riding the mirror smooth South China Sea and the weather cooperated wellwith it being just nice and not too hot. After enjoying the good food and meeting sll my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, the five of us slipped away and headed for Marang to book rooms on Pulau Kapas for the night. I felt uncomfortable being there too long as the guests were starting to take double looks at me mistaking me for the brides's father, I also felt that it was my twin's day and being there was like intruding upon his limelight. My twin was looking well and seemed to relish the moment and so my short and sweet visit was with the hope that all went well for him and his family.
Kapas Island was a pleasant break after the long drive and the dip in the ocean that evening was long overdue yearning to be back in the salt water. The rest of the gang seemed to have a good time and that was good enough for me. We stayed at Mak Cik Gemuk's, one of the group of chalets along the beach at Kapas and had a good dinner of Tom Yam soup with fried vegies and fried chicken, cost me arms and legs but well what can one expect being on an island. We left the island at two pm. the next day afte the gus had their second swim in the late morning, I was too tired to join in but sat and reminaice the past when I first landed on the island where there was not a single building was in existance and my friends and I back then used to have the island to ourselves in the sixties and early seventies. The site infront of the resort area was lined with coral beds and one did not have to go far for a great dive. Those were the days and i again felt so privillaged in this life that i was able to be at the right place at the right time for today there is hardly a live coral in the water across from where i sat and ironically my son was having fun snorkling, chasing after z school of zebra fishes. It is sad to have lost so much in the form of natural beauty and thank God that my children can never imagine what was deprived from them by the so called progress and edevelopment in this modern age. Today we pay a whole lot more for a whole lot less and not know it.
On the way home dropped by a few friends places to say hello including my friends Awi of Awi's Yellow House on Pulau Duyong. The gand loved the place for its rustic beauty and Mr. Yes the drunken English man still runs the place for Awi in his abscence. The Yellow House is still the same as it was five years back when I used to hang out there, more rustic in its surrounding as most of the trees around the chalets have grown to full sizes. Later we took a walk to the boat building yard where traditional yatchs and boats were still being constructed. The boat building facility has been upgraded it seems over the years but the natural surrounding has been kept to give the impression of its former natural beauty. In some ways the Malys when it come to caring for their environment is like the Japanese the fact that nature is not totally removed to make way for development but is maintained as a part of.
We arrived in Penang very early in the morning and after a piece of Roti Canai each at Farouk's we headed home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Show Time!!

On the day before the oppening of my Solo Exhibition I was having a bout of depression and told this to my friend and fellow artist Vasu over coffee at the nasi kandar sstall by the gate of the Kapitan Kling Mosque. I felt that the show was lacking in something and i did not feel as confident as i had felt in the past while putting on my exhibitions. However by sometime at ten that evening my friends from the Muzium and Gallery Tuanku Fauziah, USM arrived with all the necessary tools and expertise and by midnight they had transformed my show into one of my best presentation yet and so said almost everyone who was at the oppening and visiting guests the day after.
I very disappointed that only about three or four of my student showed up and a couple of my fellow lecturers from the Equator Academy of Arts, but at the end of the day i was more than happy for i had the greatest time with friends and especially my brother Lee Khai who officiated the oppening and his family. Then there were all the Museum Staff who sat on the floor listening to my ramblings about what it is that i seek to accomiplish as an artist or even if I knew myself to be one. One of the most pleassant surprise was receiving a call from twin brother to congratulate me for the occaision, this has never happened before.
My cousin brother and his family has never missed any of my oppenings in the past three solo exhibitions, they were there to offer their support too and so was my two children for whom this exhibition was meant to be. I believe in teahing through being an example and by making things happen which not too many can these days. By having this show I again learned a few things about true friendship and genuine caring, it helps to make me feel humble again towards all that help I had received, like from my cousin Salleh who cattered for the reception and my young friend and fellow artist Shaparin who did most of the physical labors without hesitation when asked and many others who lend a helping hand in one form or another...God bless them all and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.
And last and not the least, the reporters from two dailies here there too! I dont hold too much hope for haing my story told in the next few days however as there too many exciting events going on in and around the country like how much durians the PM and DPM can consume and who is stealing sand and exporting it for years right under everyone's noses and only recently discovered... only in Malaysia, and the old Indian samy who refuses to give up the chariot seat even when all the horses pulling the cart refuses to move untill he did, these are more entertaining than my kind of event and then off course it was on the State Governor's birthday!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Re; Humindscape Solo Exhibition

D-Day tomorrow. I have been running around trying to tie up loose ends ensuring that my exhibition will be a success tomorrow and I hopw and pray that it will. Many of my friends have been a great help in lending a helping hand through words, thoughts and deeds and i feel greatly privillaged that i can still pull together some energies to accomplish this not so easy a task given my limited means.
Why am i doing this? Perhaps the ego needs a shot in the arm to boost its image among my fellow artists and peers, or perhaps just another form of justification for my existence as an artist but more so perhaps i could use a good amount of money to pay for my daughter's desire to enter college next month. Whatever my reasons may be I feel that I have done whatever it is that a man can do under such circumstances. My creaive energy as an artist will keep producing works feeble as it may seem as i am getting up there in age and it will sustain my self discovering quest. I have been painting, sketching and printmaking in the effort to keep my thoughts infested mind from becoming stale and decadent, stagnant and succumb to petrification. Hence before semility sets in this effort is a form of another challenge to keep the mind in its track.
This show will be an even greater challenge as i have my college students attending it and each and everyone of them are in the Arts in one category or another. It will also be a challegne because there is not too many non Chinese artists out there who is holding a Solo Exhibition or can afford one these days mostly from lack of support and scarce premisses to hold one. I am fortunate in the fact that through the Malay Art Society I have been able to find venue and through the financial support from my friend Lee Khai I have been able to pay for my framings. If anything, i cannot do less and let these people down.
This show i dedicate to my late wife in her memory and to my children wherever they are.