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Wednesday, 26 October 2011


October - November 2011, "Irresistible Wear", Petronas Gallery, KL. 

The show is mainly a showcase of works by fashion/textile/costume/shoe designers, and looking at their works as a form of creative and artistic expression, other than wearable form of art.

I was invited, together with Hamid Hassan, to add visual artists' perspectives. I obliged mainly out of honoring my theater, fashion and set design guru, Najib Nor who is the curator. He specifically requested me to join the show to have a visual artist's touch. Thank you Najib.

"Wearing History and Independence", was initiated in 2009 and considered as an ongoing work. It was actualized in collaboration with M.Haniff and Shamsul Ikhmar Mansori. Thank you Haniff and Sham. Initially, I wanted to come up with a new work (based on old ideas in the nineties), "Fashion Parade", but I was too busy preparing for Fine Art Asia in Hong Kong. Had to drop the idea.

The "art we-ar" materials are supposed to be suspended or hanged, but then Najib had a different idea. He used to be my guru, so don't want to argue too much la!
Anyhow, I like the show. Well, I'm all for convergence, in this case, fashion, textile and visual art. The show has a 'different' feel than other typical visual art show. It doesn't shy away from being 'beautiful' and nice to look at. After all, I respect most of the designers involved in the show. At some points, they do work and function like a visual artist.

From a cultural study point of view, fashion and textile products can be read as cultural 'texts' and integral parts of cultural phenomena. Inter-textual approach and trans-discipline projects have always always been parts of Najib's repertoires. I was blessed to be able to work with him way back in the late 80s and early 90s during our 'Centrestage' years with Kak Normah Nordin, aruah Mustafa Nor, Fauziah Nawi, Ladin Nuawi, even Pak Mail (Ismail Zain) used to drop by few times.

For description of the work, can read my blog entry. Or better, get the catalog at Petronas Gallery. 
Would be nice to lit up the cut-out figures above with small LED white light.
Cut out figure of David Brown character with M. Hanif interpretation plus projected pictures of visitors 'wearing history' (from MGTF stock photos of its visitors).
A cut out figure of Tok Janatun character with projected picture of it's ultraman cousin (actually, that was Zam posing).
Japanese soldier in the middle. Do not be mistaken with Mat Sabu's communist.
Also added in, projected image of 'Red Guard' character - perhaps an 'alien', in response to so many 'aliens' invading Malaysia today.
Wearing 'colonialism'. Visitors can pick them up and wear them.

Too bad, Petronas Gallery sometimes feel like a heavily guarded bank, with policemen (security officers) staring at you as if you are a suspected terrorist. Had to discreetly use my daughters' hand phones to snap the pictures.
Wearing nationalism. 
Colonial and post-colonialism. 
History up for grab and wear.


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