Monday, September 27, 2010

Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism

On the 29th which is next week I will be giving a short talk on behalf of my brother Lee who could not make it to the seminar as a panel member. It is a privilege that is not an easy task as I have to make this short speech on the state of the contemporary Art scene here in Penang. I will be meeting Lee to discuss his ideas as to what he would like to be presented on his behalf, however having had to opportunity to sit with his at the Galeri Seni Mutiara yesterday for an opening there I have a glimpse of what he has in mind and in total agreement with it.

The whole idea of selling Contemporary Art as a tourism package is very good except first we have to sell the idea to the locals. If the mentality of the locals lacks awareness and support for the Art scene here selling it to the tourists would be like selling paintings brought in from China or Thailand and it would not make much difference to the locals so long as it sells. The loss here is the authenticity or genuine contemporary art works produced by the local artists. Hence, in the long run it will also be a loss or erosion of the local creative movement resulting in no growth, no transcending thoughts and ideas emerging from the local artists.

Today more and more foreign artists are being promoted at local private as well state art galleries and it is understandably so as these galleries have pretty much run out of new talents among locals whose works can sell. On the other hand the artists themselves have receded into the background for one reason or another in silent protest. This protest is mainly due to the lack of recognition if not support of their works in terms of promotion from the institutions that are responsible for such undertakings. Most of these institutions favor international involvement assuming that it is what will promote art in this country at the expense of local talents. As an example, local art collectors would rather travel to foreign countries collecting artworks because it seems the thing to do as it reflects their wealth and sophistication to their friends and families here. There is very few if any foreigners who purchase local works at arts shows here I notice and hardly any corporate bodies have been seen involving in the support of the fine art through buying local art works for their premises. Most of these leaders of the private sectors running major companies and banks has no inclination nor the taste for art when it comes to the support of the artists. Most if you notice the works hanging on the wall would hang some cheap reproductions or posters imported to give the premise a sense of aesthetic awareness catering to the fine arts.

The love and respect i have for my brother Lee is because for one thing if you by chance visit his office you will find its walls are all covered with the extensive works of art collected over the years from local artists. it is more like and art gallery than the office of a law firm. here is a man who genuinely involve all his effort in promoting local art and artists as for every piece of work purchased means a support of the artist who created it. How many firms or individuals are this conscientious when it comes to playing the role of being a patron of the Arts in this state? When a society neglects its creative spirit which is is essence are the artists and creators of ideas, visionaries what results is the loss of what is genuine, original and creative. The society will in time end up in a state of mediocrity existing no more different than any other society competing to survive just for the sake of survival. There will be a lacking in the sense of pride and accomplishment for the whole and this will be the quality of product that is hoped to be shared with all those who come as visitors to the society.

Artists are the 'keepers' of a society's cultural heritage. Theirs are the minds that can deal with the woes of a society when others and all else fail as their minds are such that they become the conduit of communication beyond the use of words as they play the role of mediating between rational and the irrational. This quality in an artist is most often overlooked and unrecognized in our society. It is the artist that the down trodden and despaired often look to in order to find solace and comfort in not compassionate understanding as the artist is often times a good listener and accommodating in providing a buffer for the suffering of the disillusioned of a society and they do it naturally for free unlike the psychologist and psychiatrist. I many old cultures the artist were considered like a shaman of the society, one who was approached where religion, and psychology fail to perform. A drug user for example would sit and relate his story to and artist than he would to his own parents, a lawyer or a rehab councilor simply because of a feeling of this ancient trust in the man whose work is creativity and holds no other intention than to listen with no sense of judgement. Sadly artists of this magnitude are a rare specie too in our modern society as most have gotten caught up in the rat race of making it big financially if not in name.

In her book "Hanta-Yo", the author Ruth Beebee Hill depicted the main character in the epic story of a Native Amrican tribe as the one the tribe had elected as "The Shirt wearer". This character was almost as well respected as the chieftains when it came to making the major decissions involving the future of the tribe. he was by modern standard an artist who painted the designs and predicted the fate of his people through his intuition and visions. In this scenarion, the artist became the healer or the gaurdian of the society's psychic and emotional temprement. In our modern society the artist is often one who can paint and draw well especially if his or her works pleases the public and mosthave nothing more to offer for the benifit of the a healthy society.

In my experience the Japanese are most supportive of their Artist and those with highly creative minds, they revere those who can think and create out of the ordinary. having lived for three years in the country one of the most interesting discovery i made was the fact that the japanese educational system which was more into collective thinking and group process has changed into one that promoted individuality and self expression especially in the Arts. In an article i read in the Japan Times it was said that this change was due to the discovery made that japan was suffering from lack of originality and stagnation when it came to promotng new ideas and concepts.

"An artist's life is built on instinct and intuition. It is a life, which taps in to sensual energies - through all the senses - with the pain, the hunger and pleasures of life."

"Many artists and scientists of modern times have written about the moment of artistic activity when out of a vague creative mood there suddenly dawned, as though by illumination, the clear consciousness of the essential features of the projected work, as they have observed it in themselves."

'I have written... from immediate dictation, twelve or sometimes twenty or thirty lines at a time, without premeditation, and even against my Will; the time it has taken in writing was thus render'd non-existent. I am the secretary, the authors are in eternity,' stated William Blake, the poet (1757-1827).

These extraordinary occurences and illuminations are part and parcel of what is inherent within an artist's conciousness other than just the ability to create outstanding works of art. the artist in many cases were or are still conduits to spiritual as well as psycho-emotional energies which are expressed in the works. Most are able to share these processes when asked but many cannot as their means of understanding and communication is limited.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whats the Plan?

The two previous entries were propossals to be presented at a seminar at the Eastin Hotel on the 29th. of this month. This seminar is organized by the Tourism department under the malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism program for the Penang state Government. I have had these ideas for quite sometime now along with a few others staged away at the back of my mind. Now that the opportunity to present them is made available i see no reason why I should not share my vision if it will help to enlighten a few spots around the island.

If these ideas are accepted it will give me something to work on for the next few months or even a year or two and not to mention the opportunity to leave behind a mark or two of my contribution as an artist born and raised on this island. It would be like a continuity of my father and grandfather having left theirs in their time. I am hoping that the wood sculpture project would receive positve response as it is something that will be unique as will have a very strong impact upon the Aesthetic as well educational value for both locals as well tourists in the long run. hanving discussed the idea with a few people who has in one or another knowledge related to this subject i received more positve support than negative feedback. A distant relative who was at one time attached to the forestry department offered to help if and when the time comes in making some connections so as to carry out the search for appropriate help and support and not tomention the timber itself. He thought it was a grand idea when i first related it to him.

Hasnul J.Saidon, the director of MGTF -USM was impressed with the idea that he immediately gave it the name 'Kayu Nusantara" which I interprete as the " Timbers of the Malay Archipelago.". he has already expanded the work to encompass neighboring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.

It is hard to imagine what it would cost to extract a giant timber root from within the forest and locate it at the chosen site all cleaned up and primed like a finished sculpture. This root or stump could originate from the state of Sarawak or Sabah or even Java or Sumatra in Indonesia as part of the plan was to display as many different types of timber from the tropical rain forest areas as possible.The cost might seem astronomical if one think about it, however I believe in the magic of making things happen by willing it to happen. Firstly an viable idea has to happen no matter how grand it may seems and this idea has to made it a realization through constant visualization in mind and spirit. Secondly to put into motion the fruition of this idea through various means and people related to it; it has to be a collective effort. Communicating this idea to the right minds at the right time is crucial and to convince others of its feasibilty and greatness is paramount. For once you have achieved this the cost will somehow be negligible as the idea itself through its own merit will draw help and support from sources often times one least expect. When the Pharoah of ancient Egypt conceived the idea of building a pyramid I doubt that the cost of it came into the picture.
The Penang State Tourism Board
The MCAT working committee
The MPPP (Penang City CouncilCouncil)
The Various Forestry department (Of States)
The Penang Development Corporation
The Penang Heritage Board
The Various Logging Companies. (for assistance)
The various private sector companies (donations etc.)
These are some of the government as well non governmental bodies that can play a support role in implementing this project as it benifits each and everyone in various ways. If approached in a proper manner they will be resourcefull in getting the job done.
God willing this project will happen and it will have an impact upon the Tourism Industry in the state if not in the country.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kayu Nusantara. (Timbers of Nusantara)

Project Proposal for MCAT (Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism)
Kayu Nusantara
Environmental Sculpture
Presented by; Shamsul Bahari

Re; Landscape Installation cum Museum of Tropical Rain Forest

The proposal is directed at establishing an area of “Natural Wood related sculptures” catering both towards an added source of tourism attraction as well as an environmental preservation initiative related to the tropical rain forest of this country.

The primary focus of this proposal is to gather as many timber roots or buttresses belonging to the more common trees found and used from the Malaysian rain forest For example these roots can be from that of a Chengal or a Meranti or a Tembusu etc. As the Malaysian tropical rainforest is home to some of the most diverse species of timbers, acquiring these would not be a problem.

It is inevitable that the involvement of various government agencies and departments related to Forestry in providing assistance with the implementation of this project The choice of timber and its passage of delivery the research of each and every timber brought on site such that these information will be provided along with the finished piece. Each state through its related department will choose the most common timber from their locality and ship it to the site location as a part of a collaborative effort in realizing this project.

Timbers companies too may be invited to contribute toward this effort as in the form of providing the transportation in getting the timbers from their sources to the site area as these companies have excess to all that is needed to perform this task.

As there are thirteen states in the country hopefully there would be at least thirteen initial pieces of representational timbers on site as a beginning for the project.

The project venue:

Initially it was thought of the Botanical Gardens in Penang as a potential location for this project with the view that the sculptures being ‘Timber Related’ would enhance the natural surrounding of the Gardens. However as ideal as this site may seem for the purpose its size may be prohibitive for the purpose and the availability such site may draw too much political debate from the general public.

The second choice has been mooted to be a piece of flat area adjacent to the Teluk Bahang Dam and the Taman Rimba in Teluk Bahang. The land was a land fill at one time and is presently not being used for any project that we know of. The location is ideal as it is located along the coastal area with the sea as its backdrop. As it is an open space it would also be an ideal location for the sculptures to be viewed without any obstruction.

This location is also situated along the main tourism route around the Island where tourists frequents such as the beaches of Batu Ferringi and Tanjung Bungah.

Other locations may be suggested by the state government as the idea is being realized through meetings and deliberations as to the availability of such space adequate for its purpose.


Gathering of the timbers from various locations all over the country would require the collaboration of various government forestry departments primarily with the support from the tourism departments. This would require the involvement of an influential body of committee members with the authority to persuade such agencies to participate. (eg. The Vice Chancellor, Government Ministers of Tourism and various Head of Departments.) This project would have to be made to be a joint effort of all parties involved such as the various states forestry department heads.
Timber logging companies can be utilized through the government heads to provide the removal and delivery of the chosen tree trunk with the supervision of and advice from an artist as to the choice to ensure that the choice is of aesthetic quality when put to display.
The designated area when finally chosen will be prepped to receive these timbers as for example the laying of concrete flooring and supports where necessary according to the sculptor’s design.
The pieces will be arranged in such a manner as to follow the map of Malaysia with each sculpture arranged to coincide with the state it originated from.
Upon arrival the timbers will be further prepared to ensure its life span as well as beautification and uniqueness in style of sculptural display.
Once the process is completed plaques and various informational items will be installed to commemorate as to its origin and donors.

Most of this information are readily available in identifying the timbers along with detailed description or their genealogical history and so forth. With the involvement of various institutions related to the forestry department the sculptures can become a multi faceted source of information for the general public as well as the tourists from all over the world.

Personal Note;

My main intention of making this proposal is to establish a venue whereby Art and its Aesthetic values can be made to collaborate along with the promotion of an Environmental Awareness and preservation especially in our rich heritage of the Tropical Rain Forest. It will also be the first of its kind in the country if it is being done on the scale that I have envisioned. I see this project at a later period to encompass the timbers from neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and so forth.

It is also my intention to create an opportunity for local Malaysian wood related sculptors to be involved in this project as a venue for their contribution and participation is designing and providing ways and styles of displaying these intended sculptures. These artists can be chosen each as representative from their native state. This will help for the preparation of the pieces before they arrive at the site.

Details as to the execution of this project will be deliberated by a formed committee and its success will depend on how smoothly and well organized the project is carried out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Penang City Stadium

Project Proposal for MCAT (Malaysia Cotemporary Art Tourism)
presented by Shamsul Bahari

Graffiti (singular: graffito; the plural is used as a
mass noun) is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.[1] In modern times, spray paint, normal paint and markers have become the most commonly used materials. In most countries, defacing property with graffiti without the property owner's consent is considered vandalism, which is punishable by law. Sometimes graffiti is employed to communicate social and political messages. To some, it is an art form worthy of display in galleries and exhibitions; to others it is merely vandalism. Graffiti has since evolved into a pop culture existence often related to underground hip hop music and b-boying creating a lifestyle that remains hidden from the general public.[2] Graffiti can be used as a gang signal to mark territory or to serve as an indicator or "tag" for gang-related activity. The controversies that surround graffiti continue to create disagreement amongst city officials/law enforcement and graffitists looking to display their work in public locations. There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing artform whose value is highly contested, being reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.

The primary intention of this proposal is to add more color and excitement to the surrounding walls of the Penang City Stadium. The wall which runs almost parallel to Perak Road from Dato’ Keramat Road to the Sungai Pinang River is presently needs a facelift badly and with this proposal it is hoped that it will brighten up the area around the ‘Astaka and the parking lot.

It will also be and added tourist attraction along with the Lorong Kulit and Rumah P.Ramlee. It will act as an added incentive for tourist to visit the area in addition to the two tourist destinations.
With a little investment the project can be turned into an international event where outstanding contemporary graffiti painters can be persuaded to participate in showcasing their works. Such artists may come from neighboring countries like Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Local artist may also participate through various schools and institutions,colleges and universities. This project will help to promote awareness in artistic expressions among the younger generation in this country and it will be the first of its kind here.

The Penang City Stadium surrounding walls is in dire need of a facelift and as such this project will be hitting two birds with one stone for rather than a regular white wash the walls can become a work of art.
The food court or Astaka on Perak Road will also benefit by this project as it will bring more traffic into the area.
It is also observed that the stretch of road running parallel to the river and stadium wall towards the Lorong Kulit entrance can also be included in this scope of upgrading and beatification of the general stadium area. This can be done by erecting a low wall along the river bank which will also hide the unsightly river bank across. With proper landscaping the strip can be turned into a decent walk way to view the works on the walls.

Proposal of Subject/ Themes;
This can be made by an organizing committee elected to carry out the project supervision. The One Malaysia Theme is one good example or an international theme that is universal in message such as World Peace. Sport related themes may also be an alternative as it will enhance the function of the stadium.
Artists will be the freedom to express in their own styles but will be advised as to what can and cannot be portrayed so as to discourage offensive symbols and designs.


An organizing committee is to be elected representing all the pertinent parties involved and this would include the MPPP, the Stadium Management Agency, The Penang Tourism Board member, Interested Artists and so forth.
A course of action will be mapped out to avoid any impediment due to unforeseen circumstances before actual work is carried out.
Interested Artists and parties will be required to submit their intended ideas or designs for approval by a selecting committee.
It would be an impetus to attract participation in the project by providing incentives in the form of competitions and awards.

Staging, tools and materials will be provided according to the need of the artists and safe work rule will be observed.
The comfort and convenience of the participants will be cared for to enable them to perform at their maximum.
As the event will undoubtedly attract many onlookers and tourists included proper care will be taken to ensure that no traffic related incidents takes place during this time.
Details as to whether the participants will receive any allowances and provided with food and beverages for the duration of their work will be deliberated by the working committee.

Personal Note;

It is my content that if the project is being carried with utmost careful planning and least of government bureaucratic interference, the Penang State will stand to benefit in many ways once it is completed.
For one, it can be claimed as the longest Graffiti painted wall in the country.
It will also uplift and enhance the general area around the City Stadium.
Graffiti is appealing to the younger generation and thus will attract them towards being more creatively involved with the society in general.

I also envision the vast parking lot area turned into one form of art related activity or another such as live performances on weekends including break dancing and skateboarding. This can happen when there is no activities is happening in the stadium itself, like soccer and so on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The choice between Dubai and Ho Chi Min City.

The pilot in Dubai wants us to celebrate XMas with him at his new home. I could not ask for more than to see all my children together under one roof at least for once in my lifetime. It is a wish any father would hope for to happen as it would be the climax to what has been over the years between each of them growing up apart from each other and coming from three different mothers.

If this could happen than Christmas of 2010 will be a hallmark event of the Bahari family and more than one way it help to create a new era in their interrelationship with one another into the future even when I am no more around. It is my hope that my children will someday develop a close knit relatioship such that those who have will support those who may need without having any sense of giving or receiving, to support eachother selflessly, unconditionally. It is a a tall order to hope for, however if all my children are what they are and if they had been following their father's approach to life, nothing is impossible for them collectively. I did not honestly and truthfully kept tis blogging for posterity or the universal public consumption nor is it for my personal agrandisement but all these years of my lame effort at putting down my thoughts and fancies was to hand down a blueprint to my children of what can be an option in their lives when i am dead and gone.

This day and age of Information Technology, where messages can be at one's fingertips and sharing of it can happen at a split second over great distances it would be a grave and wastefull error not to take advantage of its vast possibilities. Transcending individual idiosycracies and limitting tendencies that we humans inherit, so much can be accomplish through wise and smart use of what has been laid out for those who can see and act accordingly. So it is my hope that after exposing all my strength and weaknesses, my faults and wisdom, my experiment with life, that my children will learn how to come to an understanding of their own and make wise choices in their lives. As 'charity begins at home or who is most closest to you', it is my hope that all four of my children can collaborate among themselves and collective strive towards achieving a common success.

My idea about a bicycle trip from Penang to Ho Chi Min City along with my younger friend and fellow artist, Shaparin and taking my son along is with the hope that the trip can act as a catalyst for all of us to discover further who we are and what our potential can be in the face of the various hardships that we may encounter along the journey. This is more so for my son who seem to have no hope of discovering his potential and going through a crisis of identity. it is also for me the effort to continue my life's work as an artist journalist and spiritual seeker keeping to the format of sketching and writing as i take to the road. I have always dreamt of discovering the cultural landscape of the South East Asian countries such Thailand and the Indo China countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and perhaps later God willing Miyamar. This would add to my nkowledge and experiences of other countries i have already traversed and documented.
it has always been my believe that a man has to have vison if not a dream in life to fullfill so that one is not left with the vacuum state of boredom and lack of desire to strive and prevail over a mediocre existence. My goal has always been a journey towards self discovery in all its forms albeit physica, mental or spiritual. This journey is yet another undertaking to fullfill this goal before i am incapable of doing so due to old age.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where do I draw the Line?

Last night or very early this morning I had a blowout with my son Karim who is now nineteen going on twenty? It has been in the making for a very long time but I have been keeping it under the lid believing in his capacity to live and learn. But too bad I misjudged my son assuming that he has more to offer than an arrogant, self centered and ungreatful attitude of your average teenager who is approaching adulthood.
I was pissed and grabbed him by his neck ready to land a punch had he made any wrong moves to further fuel my anger unleashed. All he said was "I dont Care!!" I wanted to yell into his face that that was all his attitude had been eversince... But it was in the wee hours of the morning and his sister dragged me away. I stepped outside and chained smoked trying to calm myself down and review the situation and all i could come up with was if he dont care why should I? or why should anyone for that matter? Caring is one hell of a heavy trip to bear especially about someone you brought into the world changing his or her diapers from day one and still making sure that he or she has had dinner that evening at the age of 20!! Then they snap at you while talking to someone on the phone like," Shut up!!", which my daughter did while i was driving her to work. And now my son is showing his teeth all for the wrong reasons, all because i asked him to remove the dishes from the bedroom after we had our late dinner. Small matters can make souls burn in hell sometimes.

Karim is going through what most teenagers go through at his age and it is understably so as i too had passed through this passage and in comparisson his trip is much more sane than mine. I just have to learn to communicate with my son on his terms rather than impose my terms on him. It is not easy to grow into adulthood not knowing or having any sense of direction or definite goals, it can be frightening in these days and age and especially having a father like me! But I still have great faith in my son no matter and love him irregardless as i love all my children for whatever they may be worth. I can only hope that there will come a solution to his stagnation at present which is primarily what is the root cause of his rebelliousness.
It has been on my mind lately to up and continue on my journey free from any restrictions family or otherwise and I told my daughter while driving to work this morning that that day is drawing near. All my kids are adults now and can handle life on their own pretty much and i have put my life on hold for the last twenty years attending to being a family man meeting all my obligations as a father. I maintain that i am not the best of fathers but in the process of becoming one i have set aside my own life as i would have chosen to live had i no responsibilities to dwell upon. This I had done when I divorced my first wife and had to give up my first son, I knew the feeling then and now what it takes and what it had to offer in return...this freedom from CARE!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Whats on the Burner?

During this fasting month alot of thoughts and ideas hav been flashing through my mind about what or how to keep my future fully occupied and productive other than sitting around and waiting for the next happening with the Art shows. I need to get a plan together so that my life will not slide into a rut too deep for em to dig out before i call it quits. I realize men of my age have very little time and fiscal advantages on our hands and so if anything is to be hacked out it has to been soon and without further ado.
My young artist friend Shaparin has been keeping me busy with all kinds of possibilites that i can look into in order to persue further what i have already set in motion years ago and that being a traveller artist cum writer of journals. he has been fueling my urge to hit the road again as we both have come to realize that I am at a point that i have to make a drastic choice in order to stay creative in the art scene. My last solo exhibition did not do so well as far as selling works went eventhough it had alot of positive responses from the visitors who were mostly foreigners. The local Penang Art Scene is predominantly Chinese dominated and the fate of Maly Artists like me lies in their support in one form or another. I have no hope whatsoever from the Malay community here as the Datuks and datins a re not into Arts or the Aesthetics far less taking a look into the fate of the local Malay Artists whose very existance is struggle for survival. Most Malay patrons if there are any, are more into offering lip services or how it could benifit themselves and their clubs or institution when promoting the Local Artists. What is worse most have even lost touch what the Fine Arts is all about! Whatever allocation made towards the promotion of the Fine Arts often got lost into the bureaucratic cracks where instutions like the Penang State Art gallery and the Tourism Board have made sure that their share is being taken care of for whatever they deem more profitable to serve their purposes.
The connectivity between Malay Artists and the local Institution such as the University Sains and other universities is practically non existant except when there is a need for Artists to display their works at the galleries. This is much deemed as the service these institutions have rendered to the local Artists for which they should be grateful for. Never has ther been an effort made to look further and deeper into the lives of the Artists to see how they fare day to day and what could be done to eleviate their livlihood. Most Malay artist that I have had the opportunity to team up with in Penang have long regarde the Governmental Institutions or other potential benifactors for them is never forth coming and they have to survive on their own.
Malay Artists in Penang wherever you can find them will not come up front and tell you that they are not making it and some will hide the turth to what or how they survive and very few in any really make it big time like their fellow contemporary artists in Kuala Lumpur. These artist also suffer from low self esteem and lack of confidence perhaps the result of the lack of support and the uncertainty of their future as full time artists. Self confidence and optimism is the crucial ingrediant in being an artist and lacking this slowly but surely kill the fire that burns the artistic passion to be creative. When this happens to the artists it is a matter of time before the decadence of society sets in like a process of petrification. Today most society has lost their sense of values in terms of what is real ans what is superficial when it comes to the Fine Arts. With the slow demise of true artistic talents through lack of support and care and consideration, the death of a healthy society is not too far behind. The role of the Artist as a creator, a record keeper and a neutral observer in the society is slowly becoming a thing of the past, shelved into the archaic wisdom of the ancient. Most contemporary artists today have become too engrossed in making it in the financial market or in making name for themselves through strong political connections and even nepotism. Those with strong financial backing strive to place their works into major shows and galleries even when their works are not up to par in the art world. It is not so surprising that successful artists like Latiff Mohideen refuses to have msuh to do with the contemporary art scene today unless there is mega bucks to be made. The criteria for what is Great Works of Art today is all too vague and anything and everything can be considered and is considered as work of art in Malaysia. It is pretty much on who dunnit and not what is really being done. The rites of passage in being an artist today is not in how long or how tedious a journey an artist had traversed in his quest to become recognized as a master but in where or who he studied and graduated under, what style and technique he had stumbled over that captured the intrest of those who patronised the art market. When asked to deliver a pseach or discuss their processes and intuitive lessons learned...nada!!
Needless to say the Art scene in Penang where the Malay Artists are concern, at least those who are not gainly employed as lecturers and teachers, are concern is abyssmal! I feel sad and sorry for myfellow artist who has done the damdest to survive as full time arists here and raise my hat to them for hav9ing survived thus far although not without help from their spouses, friends and relatives. It is so bad that to admit one as being a full time artist to someone is like admitting that one is unemployed.
So where do I go from here having thrown up all these negaitive vibes on what i is like on being a full time artist in this state of Penang. I need to walk away from where I am and take another look from the distance at the whole picture of what is transpiring in ans around the island and how it affects my life and my creativity. I have to step out of this box and revitalize my creative energy may even need to jump start it. Penang is slowly but surely choking me up and any sense of the will to transcend beyond what is will have to happen soon or i might as well join the dead artist society which I call the Penang Malay Artist Society.