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ILHAM CONTEMPORARY FORUM Malaysia 2009-2017

21 May – 8 October 2017

For ILHAM’s second exhibition for 2017, we will be presenting ILHAM Contemporary Forum (Malaysia 2009 – 2017) from 21 May – 8 October 2017. The exhibition will take place on Level 5 at ILHAM Gallery.

ILHAM Contemporary Forum is a project exhibition which aims to explore what is currently happening in Malaysian arts and culture. Collaborative by nature, ILHAM has invited seven project curators - a range of professionals from various fields and positions, all younger than 39 -  to select visual artworks and cultural projects, produced within the last eight years. This selection of over 35 artworks and cultural projects will be included in the Contemporary Forum exhibition.

The exhibition will serve as a prompt (rather than a survey exhibition) to discuss and debate what has been happening over the last few years in the local arts and cultural scene.

The exhibition is curated by seven guest project curators all under 39. They are Kat Rahmat, Mark Teh, Ridhwan Saidi, Ong Jo-lene, Tan Hui Koon, chi too and Azzad Diah Ahmad Zabidi. The exhibition is facilitated by Rahel Joseph, Gallery Director and guest facilitator, Lee Weng Choy. This exhibition is a pilot project which may become a regular platform for ILHAM.

The Contemporary Forum aims to be an experiment and to ask questions. It is a series of enquiries from the ground level, as it were — a series of lateral conversation between different voices.  This exhibition will be a starting point for other activities, from public forums to workshops, which will further explore what is contemporary art and culture in Malaysia today. After the public forums and workshops, ILHAM will produce a publication documenting the processes and the activities of The Contemporary Forum.

“We believe that this exhibition is particularly valuable as the exhibition provides an important platform in which to present ideas pertaining to contemporary art and contemporary issues in Malaysia. This exhibition model which privileges the curatorial process is also part of ILHAM’s commitment to support the development of curatorial practice in the country”, said Rahel Joseph, Gallery Director, ILHAM.

 


AFTERWORK

18 December 2016 – 16 April 2017

Afterwork is a major group exhibition exploring issues of class, race, labour, and migration in the region and beyond, as well as their corresponding aesthetics and histories. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Para Site, a leading contemporary art centre in Hong Kong and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia. Afterwork premiered in Para Site, Hong Kong in March 2016 and is curated by Freya Chou, Cosmin Costinas, Inti Guerrero, and Qinyi Lim.

Migrant domestic workers are Hong Kong’s largest minority group and one of the most visible components of the city's society. Migrant workers in construction, agriculture, and services, alongside domestic workers also represent a significant social group in Malaysia and other countries in the region. In most of these places, migrant workers’ legal and symbolic status are matters of constant negotiation, reflecting the many complexities behind the continuing nation building processes of our times.  The stories of migrant workers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and elsewhere are crucial narratives that need to be told alongside the growing affluence of many of these societies in the past decades, together with the stories of struggle of what is considered the ‘local’ working class and of other historically disadvantaged groups, and against the backdrop of the different historical waves of migration that have shaped so much of our world.

Afterwork includes the work of artists of different practices, contexts, and generations. Several artists navigate directly the main thematic map of the exhibition; others chose a more personal approach, looking at the presence of domestic workers in households, the public sphere, and the artists' lives. Another group of artists create abstract and poetic landscapes that bring a different and necessary vocabulary in an exhibition that tries to address such a wide and contradictory array of topics and perspectives, from personal desires and dreams to historical processes.

Afterwork includes works by  Abdoulaye Konaté, Alfredo Jaar, Beatrix Pang, Brian Gothong Tan, Daniela Ortiz, Eisa Jocson, Elvis Yip Kin Bon, Fan Ho,  Gan Chin Lee, Cheng Yee Man (Gum), Harun Farocki, Hit Man Gurung, I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih, Imelda Cajipe Endaya, Jao Chia-En, Joyce Lung Yuet Ching, Lai Loong Sung, Liliana Angulo, Melati Suryodarmo, Jean-François Boclé, Köken Ergun, KUNCI Cultural Center, Larry Feign, Miljohn Ruperto, Maria Taniguchi, Pangrok Sulap, Poklong Anading, Ryan Villamael, Santiago Sierra, Sakarin Krue-On, Sharon Chin, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Taring Padi and Xyza Cruz Bacani.

“As a country with one of the highest numbers of migrant workers in Southeast Asia, the issues that this exhibition explores are very relevant and will resonate with audiences in Malaysia. Afterwork also gives us the opportunity to collaborate with Para Site, a leading art space in Hong Kong as part of our commitment to building long-lasting relationships with institutions in Malaysia and the region” said Rahel Joseph, Gallery Director of ILHAM Gallery.

 


ERA MAHATHIR

24 July – 16 November 2016

ILHAM’s second exhibition for 2016 entitled “Era Mahathir” tells the story of the coming of age of Malaysian art which saw the re-emergence of the figurative in producing socially relevant art.

During the 22-year administration of Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country underwent a transformation from an agrarian nation to a largely industrial one. The landscape of the country was forever changed with new infrastructure and development projects including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, KL International Airport, and the network of highways which connected urban and rural centres all over the country. At the same time, Malaysians were imbued with a burgeoning sense of self-confidence which epitomized the “can do” spirit (“Malaysia Boleh”) of those times. His policies transformed the physical, political and social landscape of this country, the effects of which are still felt today. 

For Malaysian art, the Mahathir years were also an important period which saw the flourishing of art as a form of social commentary. Artists began to respond to the complex socio-political issues of that time with works that addressed far-ranging subjects from the effects of globalization and rapid development to specific political events such as the Asian Economic Crisis and the sacking of the former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim which subsequently led to the Reformasi movement in 1998. 

ERA MAHATHIR features both contemporaneous and recent works by Malaysian artists that help us to understand the complex realities of that period and provide us with divergent views, outside our official narratives. ERA MAHATHIR features over 48 works by 28 Malaysian artists including Syed Ahmad Jamal, Zulkifli Yusoff, Liew Kung Yu, Nirmala Dutt, Paiman, Anurendra Jegadeva, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Tan Chin Kuan, Chang Yoong Chia, Chuah Chong Yong, Phuan Thai Meng, Chuah Chong Yong, Roslisham Ismail (ISE), Juhari Said, Abdul Multhalib Musa, Yee I-Lann, Vincent Leong, Datuk LAT, Kow Leong Kiang, Ismail Zain, Kok Yew Puah, Jo Kukathas, Kenneth Chan, Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Mohd Azlan Mohd Latib, Rahman Roslan, Hamidah Abdul Rahman, Five Arts Centre among others.

 


Love Me in My Batik: Modern Batik Art from Malaysia and Beyond

27 FEBRUARY – 15 JUNE 2016

Love Me in My Batik tells the story of batik painting as a distinct modern art form that emerged in Malaysia and beyond from 1950’s to the present day. Beginning with the pioneering batik paintings by Chuah Thean Teng, the exhibition examines how the medium was embraced and reinvented by generations of artists, as they attempted to respond to different national imaginaries and contexts across successive periods in our post-war history.

The exhibition takes its title from artist Joseph Tan's 1968 collage work of the same name which is a commentary on the cultural frenzy that batik inspired within Malaysia as the country was searching for a cultural form suited to its modern identity. Love Me in My Batik examines two intersecting stories: firstly, the emergence of batik painting in the 1950's which was initially supported by a system of colonial patronage that actively promoted batik painting as a fine art medium and secondly, the promotion of batik by the state into a popular cultural phenomenon from the 1960's onwards, including the development of a batik craft industry.

The exhibition will survey this uniquely Malaysian story by considering the broader entanglements between the search for a localised artistic and creative vision, the desire for national selfhood, as well as the transformation of traditional art forms to reflect modern aspirations.

The exhibition features over 70 artists from the early Masters such as Chuah Thean Teng, Tay Mo-Leong and Khalil Ibrahim to contemporary artists Liew Kung Yu and Yee I-Lann.

A special showcase of modern batik designs from 1960s - 1980s, donated by Raja Fuziah to the Department of Museums Malaysia, will be one of the exhibition highlights. The exhibition will also, as an additional point of comparison, introduce a small selection of contemporary batik artworks from Indonesian artists Eko Nugroho, Bambang "Toko" Witjaksono and Samantha Tio (Mintio) and Agung Budi Kuswara (Kabul).

 


Picturing The Nation

16 AUGUST – 31 DECEMBER 2015

Kuala Lumpur’s newest artspace, ILHAM opens its doors to the public this August with its inaugural exhibition Picturing The Nation.

Located in the iconic Ilham Towers in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, ILHAM is a public art gallery committed to supporting the development, understanding and enjoyment of Malaysian modern and contemporary art within a regional and global context.

ILHAM aims to appeal to  a diverse audience and serve as a resource for both those who are engaged in the arts and those for whom art is a new experience.  Its exhibitions programme showcases work from a range of historical and contemporary artists while its public programmes will include talks and forums, cross-cultural events including film and music programmes, workshops, and family and school programmes. Admission to ILHAM is free.

ILHAM’s first exhibition, Picturing The Nation features works from the personal collection of Dato’ Hoessein Enas, one of Malaysia’s pioneer artists who defined portraiture in the country in the post-Independence years and whose practice was twinned to the birth of Malaysia and situated within the hopes and dreams of this multicultural nation. Also included in the exhibition are four Malaysian contemporary artists - Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Dain Iskandar Said, Vincent Leong & Yee I-Lann – whose works  exploring what it means to “picture the nation” create a dialogue with Hoessein Enas’ historical legacy that shaped a significant trajectory for Malaysian contemporary art.

Picturing The Nation which will run from 16 August – 31 December 2015 is curated by Valentine Willie who is also ILHAM’s Creative Director. The exhibition is also accompanied by a publication as well as a series of public programmes ranging from panel discussions and curatorial tours to public talks by arts personalities such as Jo Kukathas and Saidah Rastam and music performances.


 


For further information and/or interviews with the artists and curator, please do not hestitate to contact Rahel Joseph, Gallery Director, ILHAM at rahel@ilhamgallery.com or 012 2810783.

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