The Year of the Monkey Arriveth!

Lunar New Year 2016 from February 8 – 22 2016

Hey Everyone!

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Hope all’s well with you!

I’m just posting a few pictures of Landmark’s awesome public installation to welcome in the Year of the Monkey… To be honest, I was expecting an annual lunar floral arrangements of the new incoming Chinese zodiac, but anyway, the dolly monkey were quite amazing too!

Cheers!

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#LagiLagiGilaGila: National Humour Magazine Exhibition @ Galeri Petronas, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Duration : 14 April 2015 – 15 July 2015
Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (closed on Monday). Admission is free.

GILA-GILA is a national humour magazine that was first published on 1 April 1978. It is a socially-accepted novelty and an important piece of history that embodies the brilliant minds of Malaysia‛s top cartoonists.”

Gila Gila is an equivalent of the American Mad comics.  It is a hilarious satirical comic publication that touches on the poignant cultural landscape of Malaysian lives.

Comics are also creative vehicles which provoke an insight to the cartoonists’s minds.  Whilst fun, it is also powerful enough to disseminate information through parody – a useful propaganda to reach out to the young and illiterates.

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1st edition magazine covers. Worth a few quid, ya think?

There are over 500 original artworks ranging from comic strips, editorial cartoons, rare first editions and sketches and drawings on display.

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B&W illustrations

As this is a restropective exhibition on Malaysian comics, portfolios of top Malaysian cartoonists are exhibited and explained. I believe there are also opportunities to meet with the artists on certain dates, however, do refer to Galeri Petronas’ webpage (here).

There were a lot of explanations on individual panel boards (thus information overload for me)… but what truly captivated me were the beautiful watercolours and the masterful strokes of the cartoonist-artists.  Comics are powerful in that one does not need to read nor understand the language:  A picture tells a thousand words.

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A comic tells a thousand words

Gila Gila caricatured and injected a sense of humor to a wide array of pressing cultural, social and political issues of the day.

Malaysian Popular Culture:  The identity and lifestyle captured in the scenes are all very familiar in the public’s collective memories.

Remember the day when when dad brought home a new bike?

Humour in domestic life

Bike ride through the kampung

Jungle Tales

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Backpacker

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AC/DC!

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Movie Star

Kampung humor

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Durian season

If animals can talk…by cartoonist Jaafar Taib

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Economic critique:   Poking fun at world economic – remember the GFC?

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IMF + International Mat-Salleh Fun *Mat Salleh means Westerners in Malay

In honour of humour, if you are in KL, why not go visit?  You might view comics in a brand new light!

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See you there!


            

Dunhuang: Untold Tales, Untold Riches @Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Exhibition period:  26/11/2014 to 16/3/2015

Dunhuang is an oasis town on the edge of the Gobi Desert in western China along the Great Silk Road.  It was a famous center of Buddhist worship in the middle-ages, with pilgrims travelling from faraway to visit its cave shrines, comprising of hundreds of lavishly decorated caverns carved into a cliff on the city’s outskirts.

It was rediscovered by accident by a monk in the late last century.

The Dunhuang Library is hailed as one of the great archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century, on par with Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here are some pictures of a fantastic exhibition put together by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and no doubt Dunhuang is in my bucket list!

However, I better hurry because it ecosystem is very fragile.  Buildup of humidity and carbon dioxide—from visitors’ breath—are  flaking and discoloring the delicate pigment-on-plaster wall paintings, making it very vulnerable to mass tourism.  With Dunhuang entering the digital age, who knows, it might be closed to mass tourism in the future and the only way I get to see it will be via digital media!

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The 15.6 meter recumbent Buddha, serene in death with anguished disciples and mourners, is an iconic image of Mogaoku. 


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Artefacts from Silk Road times as well as replicas from the Mogao Caves.

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Scrolls and Manuscripts:  The Diamond Sutra, a copy of a Chinese translation of one of the Buddha’s sermons, generally recognized as the oldest known example of a dated printed book.

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Education Booklet

Some additional resources:

A really good article from The New Yorker here

The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online is a massive international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes.

Friends of Dunhuang

Earthworks @Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpar

Date of Visit: February 21 2015

iCloud is the best thing ever!  Wherever I go, I’ll take a photo with my iPhone to  share with my artistic friends abroad.  Today, I found some pictures of an exhibition that I had visited in Galeri Petronas a while back… since I had taken photos of the artist’s statement together with their works (apologies if I got the name of artist switched with another artist’s works, or forgot the name of the artist entirely), I shall share these incredible works with you.

Exhibition dates: 30/12/2014 to 22/03/2015

Earthworks is an exhibition by 6 Malaysian foremost ceramists. Dr Shamso Mohamad, Dr Salwa Ayob, Roslan Ahmad, Mohamad Radzi Ismail, Tan Vooi Yam and Awangko’ Hamdan Pgn that challenges the creation of beauty and the arts using the concept of mimesis to critique out eveyday lives.  They also put into question whether the value of contemporary ceramic works are at par with other objects from various museum collections. They offer a radical way of overcoming the stigma by examining the taxonomy of contemporary ceramic works of at, whether as merely works of art as museum objects.  Depending on their choice of references or subject matters and technique processes, these artists have nearly opened up endless options to aid the stigma in creating varied and lasting pieces of ceramic art.” – copied from brochure 😜

Tan Vooi Yam is a 3rd generation potter who has established himself as a ceramic designer with expertise in ceramic installations.

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Artist: Tan Vooi Yam

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Artist: Tan Vooi Yam

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Artist: Tan Vooi Yam

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Artist: Tan Vooi Yam

COCONUT SCRAPE by Dr Salwa Ayo teaches at the ceramic Department, faculty of ARt and design UiTM (Perak)b,

Similar to coconut, clay called ‘napal’ in Malay is very versatile raw material in the making of ceramic products.  Scrape or ‘kutai’ means old, but it does not denote weakness, age but is filled with knowledge and wisdom.  It befits the nature of coconut because when it ages, the coconut flesh becomes thicker with the essence of coconut milk to be used and which can also be cooked to become oil.

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Artist: Dr Salwa Ayob

Artist: Dr Salwa Ayob

I LOVE SEAFOODS by M. Radzi Ismail, who has been exhibition ho works since 2002.

“Here and there, everyone eats seafood, Besides grilled fish, boiled or grilled cockles and mussel also among seafood menu that is delicious to eat.  Do you like to eat seafood?… me? hurmmm… I LOVE SEAFOODS!”

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Artist: M. Radzi Ismail

OREN KAMPONG BOTTLE.  I liked this artist’s statement of intent and arrange of his works (demonstrating the types of firing finishes available) but unfortunately forgot to take down his name.

‘Oren Kampong Bottle’ is a cabornated orange drink that was very popular among the youths in lower-income families in the mid-60s.  Here, the bottle brought back memories of childhood nostalgia of the artist – where as a child, he will go looking for empty bottles to sell,  With the money earned, he would buy himself a bottle of ‘Oren Kampong’ which was the cheap soft drink in his days.  The artist explored various firing methods including Raku, Smoke, Fired Wood and Tomoku Galze in his works.  Each of these finishing methods was intended to deliver different sensation and experiences while also providing special characteristics to the works – “this artwork projects an emotional value with its ‘raw and rustic’ outlook for both Raku and Smoke finishes.  While the Tomoku glaze reflected the hope to bring back the old moments of glory, eventually both had its ‘sweet and sour’ moments, yet it was bubbly to us”.

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‘Oren Kampong Bottle’

JOURNEY – School shoes are metaphors of ‘schooling’, children undergo formalistic learning process in schools from an early age.  School shoes are worn everyday as a ‘driving’ force (pun?)  for students to explore knowledge to equip their lives…

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‘Journey’

REMEMBRANCE by Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad who teaches at  the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

“Remembrance or ‘Zikr’, explores the potential of memory, narrative and process as an approach in negotiating a sense of place and belonging.  Ordinary leather objects are explored and analysed, and is given individual expression.  This body of artwork is a mean to imbue and immortalise past memory ion tangible forms.”

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Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad

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Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad

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Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad

Peruvian Immersion For A Day @ National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Date of Visit: March 29 2014

If your much anticipated hiking trip to Peru is cancelled what would you do?  Well, Bestie and I made a road trip to Canberra to gawk at the exotic Inca treasures of the ancient Peruvian civilisation at the National Gallery of Art in Canberra – aptly called ‘Gold and The Incas: Lost World of Peru” (here).

The exhibition is a key component of Canberra’s centenary celebrations in 2013 and also significant in that it marks the 50th anniversary of Australian-Peruvian diplomatic relations, and is organised in co-operation with the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.  As such, the works of art are lent by the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú and its fraternal collections, the Fundacion Museo Amano, the Museo Larco and the Museo Oro del Perú – museums that were on our trip’s agenda –  as well as the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Would it  surprise you that the Inca Empire lasted only 100 years?  This is a very short time for such a vast and famous enterprise!

In a nutshell:

“The Incas conquered all of Peru and much of Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador.  The state governed from the capital city of Cuzco by a system of duties, taxes and rewards.  20,000km of roads enabled efficient and speedy communication.

The Emperor was The Son of The Sun God and the pinnacle of an extremely hierarchical society.  The Inca state region demanded scarifices, human and animal – even textiles were burnt as offerings to the Gods.  Architecture, e.g. the famous World Heritage Site Machu Picchu, was the glory of the Inca culture (and still is!).  Temples, palaces, terraces and fortifications of huge stone blocks were fitted together, mostly without masonry.

Sadly, our knowledge of Inca society is filtered through the world view of Spanish chroniclers. The Inca state of at least 12 million people fell very rapidly, due to superior European military technology, civil war and new diseases, especially smallpox.  Perhaps 90% of the native population, more than 10 million people, was killed or died of disease and famine after the conquest.

Almost every artefact that survives – what we see at the exhibition today – was buried with their owners.  As the cult of the dead infers, both noble and common people were interred in different ways according to tiers of importance – from ruling lords, priests, military leaders and retainers – as exemplified by their respective accoutrements and placements in their graves.

A rather kooky rite is that adorned mummified Inca elites form part of annual postmortem ceremonies where their corpses were paraded around the city of Cuzco.”

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Poster Child of the Exhibition: Gold Relic of the Sun God

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Children’s’ Discovery Area where photography is permitted

In summary, this is a well-curated exhibition with over 200 objects showcasing  exemplary artefact from each period of the Peruvian civilisation  from gold regalia, intricate jewellery and striking vessels to elaborate embroidered and woven cloths.  So, don’t miss out!

*****

It is only appropriate to round up our excursion by having a Peruvian themed lunch at the Sculptural Garden Restaurant.

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‘Cones’ (Bert Flugelman, 1976/82) in polished stainless steel

Finding it needed a bit of detective work as it is located outside the gallery, tucked away to the side of the garden and in a tent by the Marsh Pond.

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Sculptural Garden Restaurant

In the Marsh Pond (part of the sculpture garden) is a powerful work by Dadang Christanto, an Indonesian artist based in Darwin.  The pond is filled with bronze heads with extra eeriness supported by the mist-maker.  His works speaks of victims of oppression and social injustice.  If I remember correctly, this piece, “Heads from the north’,  is about the genocide in East Timor.

(PS:  Would I want to hold a reception in the restaurant by a pond filled with heads?  Probably not!😰)

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‘Heads from the north’, Dadang Christanto (Photo credit: http://www.pbase.com)

For this special occasion in conjunction with the exhibition, the interior of the restaurant is styled by designer Megan Morton to play up combinations of colour, good times and of course, corn – to accentuate the joy of food and family that the Peruvian culture delights in!

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Interior of Restaurant

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Maize ‘Chandelier’

Only Set Lunch is served in the restaurant.

What we got for our 2-course Set Lunch at $35 per person

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Wholewheat Damper

ENTREE

Presented on a wooden paddle pan as is very fashionable now,  we have Ceviche of Salmon with Lime, Jumbo White Corn and Coriander.

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Ceviche of Salmon with Lime, Jumbo White Corn and Coriander (GF)

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Jumbo White Corn

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Quinoa: Baked quinoa toped with avocado wasabi cream and a rocket leaf. This is bourgeois peasant food!

MAIN COURSE

Sometimes, it is best not to heed recommendation of a fellow diner who you don’t know…

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Twice-cooked Beef Short Rib with Chimichurri and Huancaina Potatoes.

This is a plate of disappointment of sorts:  The beef was dry – yet full of fat!  The most obvious explanation is that it is not a good cut of meat which has been pre-(over)cooked and reheated thus rendering it very beef-jerky-like in texture.  The exotic sounding ‘huancaina’ is basically a spicy cream which is otherwise ‘meh’.

Check out my leftover plate of fat!

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FAT!! Fat-Die-Me! 😱 😱 😱

Not a very satisfying lunch, so a Diet Coke at the Gallery Cafe is in order…

Chocolate Fantasia @ Gallery By the Harbour

“With the artist’s fantasy of chocolate and his crazy imagination, Gallery by the Harbour will be transformed into an amazing illusionary space, leading the audience to enter the artist’s fantasy world.”  

And a fantasia it was!  A dizzying psychedelic world bursting of colours and butterflies to mesmerise the audiences!

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View of Gallery: Wall-to-floor covered in abject art. Crossing the boundary from 2-D to 3-D, leading the audience to enter the artist’s fantasy world.

This is a solo exhibition by renowned Korean contemporary artist Jang Seung Hyo who conjured up a surreal chocolate world in conjunction with the annual Chocolate Trail 2014 in Harbour City.  His  created a chocolate fantasia through collages by juxtaposing  images of chocolates and sweets.   Thus, transforming the 2-D photographic images into 3-D art pieces.

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3-D Butterfly on canvas on-top of the collaged wall, make it a bursting array of psychedelic colours

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Chupa Chups!

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Detail of collage: Random photos from the artist’s archives

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A 3-D sculpture

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A tiger out on a prowl in a Hong Kong

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I see Guylian chocolates Smarties and Jelly Beans, do you?

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Hard to see in the snapshot, but try if you can, this is a 3-D butterfly

Try as I did, it was hard to photograph with my iPhone because it was very colourful and I’m at loss at which angles, details and how to capture the artworks as they were all too beautiful!  If you are in Kowloon, grab your camera and do me a better job!

Where and When?
Chocolate Fantasia @ Gallery By the Harbour
Date: Now – Feb 16, 2014
Shop 202, Level 2, Ocean Centre (Near Jean-Paul Hevin)

The Floating Hornbill – A Rubber Duck Reincarnate?

As they often say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

A photo of a floating Hornbill on the front page of a local newspaper caught my attention the other day.

Looking familiar?

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Floating UBAH Hornbill against the backdrop of Penang Bridge
Source: http://www.lipstiq.com/2013/07/15/water-ubah-di-air-launches-in-ijm-promenade-penang/

Another floating birdie craze in the making by way of Hong Kong, now arriving Malaysia?

Gosh! (Aint’ Florentijn gonna make a bundle out of his copyrights?  The artist’s page is here if you are so inclined)

The news article explained that this is the RM60,000 “Water UBAH” mascot  funded by the DAP political party supporters and sponsors which went afloat on July 15 in Penang (‘Ubah’ means ‘change’ in Malay).   The PVC rubber UBAH hornbill was completed in two months and inspired by Florentijn Hofman’s giant floating Rubber Duck which went viral worldwide after docking in Hong Kong.  Weighing approximately 250kg, the UBAH hornbill stands half the original Giant Rubber Duck size of 16.5m, at a mere 7.6m tall and 8m wide.

Hang on, the naysayers rightly pointed out, ‘Hornbills can’t swim!’

Why of course!  However, if you step a bit closer, mind the water’s edge,  the hornbill is sun-bathing on a buoy!  Humph!

Let me rewind back to an early post entry of the Giant Rubber Duck in Sydney Festival earlier this year (here).  (And I CANNOT recall the Duck making such a phenomenal splash in Sydney as it did in Hong Kong)

Since I was in Hong Kong in June, I can tell you of the maddening crowds that gathered at Ocean Terminal where it was berthed for a month.  There were scores of people each day competing to take pictures with the Rubber Duck, there were duck memorabilia everywhere and duck merchandises for sale.  Even the property owner of Ocean Terminal, The Wharf Holding’s Ltd (SEHK:0004)  stock price jumped 10%!  This was how crazy Hong Kong was about the Rubber Duck!

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The 16.5-meter-high inflatable sculpture, which made its first public appearance in Hong Kong on May 2, was on showcase at the Ocean Terminal for a month.

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Duck against the backdrop of Victoria Harbour

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Additional Duck Art in front of Ocean Terminal

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Angle taken from Star Ferry

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Duck Promos inside Ocean Terminal Mall

Even restaurants geared up to the Duck’s crazies by creating special duck dishes.  This was my friend’s photo and if you google hard enough, you will find a lot of creative and interesting dishes created especially to celebrate the arrival of the Duck.

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Special Duck Creation

Then rather unceremoniously, it ‘died’.  Rumour had it that it was deflated for maintenance reasons.  Mini discontent ensued since some tourists from the Super-nations had toured to Hong Kong especially to take photos of this now Dead Duck.

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Duck Dying
Source: Flickr

About a week later, the Duck arisen and made everyone happy again.  The said Duck then set sail from Hong Kong on June 8 to an unknown destinations, possibly somewhere in America?

No matter how silly the whole Duck scenario was, it added a touch of light-hearted fun and childhood nostalgia into the lives of the otherwise ordinary mundane lives of people.  Can this Floating UBAH Hornbill in Penang do the same (if not for political change, then creativity in the local arena?)

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Duck Floral Arrangement