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Monday, 28 January 2013


Can one make peace with the greatest enemy hiding within one's own mind and feeling? In a politically saturated discourse of identity, ethnicity, culture and heritage, the word hero is discoursed through many forms of signifying process across various dimensions. A hero for one can be taken as an enemy for another. A heroic act for one can be read as a threat to another. In a world cluttered by semiotic contestation, even what is customarily taken as an attire and instrument of a heroic act can be read as a sign of parochialism, ethnocentricism and social threat. Who is the real hero or heroin? As I passed through many abandoned walls, front facades and textured surfaces in George Town for the past nine years, some of which almost everyday, they began to perform as the inter-textual canvas of these many notions of a hero or even warrior. They began to become the silent witness of my mental probing and emotional journey. On them (or in them), I virtually etched, embedded and entombed fragments of my mental reflections, my fluctuating sentiments, lingering memories and longing. Notwithstanding the overarching UNESCO master narrative and the popular discourse on history and heritage in Penang, these walls have performed as a repository of my own 'memory, history and heritage'. Several walls in George Town have been rejuvenated and incorporated into the cultural economy of heritage tourism, made popular through a combination of street art, merchandizing , corporate sponsorship, state support and viral media. Some other walls may be 'restored, preserved and conserved' under the increasing heritage and cultural awareness. Few will be 'deconstructed' by young urban hipsters, re-branded to be the facades for hip commercial premises and urban reconstruction. The walls have become a site of ideological contestation, power dynamics and cultural representation (or mis-representation and under-representation). All are wonderful reminders of how richly layered and textured life is, how fragile, impermanent and transient events, feelings and ideas are, including those taken as heroic act, hero, heroin and warrior. My new series performs as a form of virtual walls, personalizing the discourse on cultural legacies and heritage of heroes and warriors into the digital and online domain. In this domain, such discourse is openly contested and always in the state of 'becoming', if not 'permanent deconstruction'. They are also reminders of how easy one can be veiled by our own interpretation of a hero or warrior, as well as our memory, history and heritage. Such veils may deny one from seeing and discovering the true warrior within.

 Cadangan untuk Hijab Pahlawan - Wira Korporat (Proposal for Unveiling A Warrior - Corporate Hero)
Cetakan digital atas kanvas

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