Citizen’s right to stay vs private & state rights to develop

The traditional wooden houses with attap roof at one time in Kg Hakka Mantin. The attap roofs had been replaced with zinc ones over time but the form and use of these houses continue even today. But many had been abandoned by the owners recently due to insecurity of land rights. This is another case of the rights of the citizen to stay vs the rights of private and state rights to developed at any price.


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Malaysian art : The under-side of the art market

Victor Chin, Pulau Perhentian No 38, 2004, Acrylic on canvas, 81x67cm

Victor Chin, Pulau Perhentian, No8, 2003, Acrylic on canvas, 81x67cm

Letter to the Editor, StarMag.

In Andrew Sia’s splendid review, ‘Whither Malaysian art?’, StarMag, Sunday 23 November, 2008, presented us with a wide selection of opinions about the state of art and the art market. However there is the under side of the story which might add to your readers understanding on this issue.

What we would like to know as in the case of artist Jailani’s painting ‘Tribute to Latiff Mohiddin’, (which sold for about RM200,000) is, who put up his painting for sale at the Christie’s auction? What if this sale was an inside job by a profiteering cartel, where one party puts it up for auction and members of that group buy it up, just to push up the price and hence the profit margin, if they happen to have a monopoly of the artist’s works?

It is also vital to know which gallery and the people involved in dealing with the works of Jailani, Yee I-Lann, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Zakii Anwar and Cheng Fee Ming? Why it is that it is always the same few artists’ works from the same few merchants that are popping up at these sales? Why is the other artists’ works, just as good as any, not in the picture when it comes to promoting Malaysian art here and elsewhere?

The auction houses will not reveal the details of the sellers and buyers, but they will profit from both the sellers and the buyers, and this is the standard business practice everywhere. The secrecy and nontransparent methods such as it is, is in part, what that has lead to the present world wide financial crush, we are experiencing now.

What sort of artists will emerge from this present system dominated by finance, unfettered by any government or professional regulations?

How will the creative minds operate in an increasingly close market in the hands of a few self appointed profit minded ‘gate keepers’ of Malaysian art?

What if there are moves to improve the art production and the market place, with less self interest but more transparency, and with fair incentives to all parties involved with the aim of serving not just Malaysian art but all Malaysians?

Nature Abstracted

Our exhibition was reviewed in The New Sunday Times.

Lucien de Guise wrote about, our current exhibition, at the KLPac, in the New Sunday Times, November 16, 2008. In that review he put our works along side another on going exhibition of Australian contemporary aboriginal paintings, in town. This insightful positioning of different artists’ works, in a comparative manner, enriches the readers’ and viewers’ perspective of art. This hopefully may lead to a better understanding of the what some artists may be trying to do in their artworks.

It didn’t occur to me before that my recent abstract paintings has an uncunning similarity to some of the Australian artists’ abstract visual constructions. The indigenous artists are naturally gifted in many ways and they have been making paintings with dots and lines in Australia for millions of years. The Australian motifs and designs is also different from those, from in other earlier cave artists’ works, found in other parts of the ancient world. They are truly our artistic fore fathers.

There are many theories as to what these different marks and shapes may mean, but the real meaning, in my view, is hard to get at, unless it is from the artists. What we are left with, in front of one of these artworks, is just our own terms of reference based on our memory and comprehension of things around us. In the end it may be just about intuiting the quality, intensity and inventiveness of lines, shapes and colours of the artist.

In the past few days, while manning the exhibition, we have come across, from the visitors, so many different ways of seeing our artworks and some of their views are a surprise to us. Intrepreting what we see is such fun and abstracting our physical and metaphysical world remains the preoccuping task of many of us and it will be so for many years to come. Enjoy the abstractions.