ILHAM Gallery is delighted to present the inaugural ILHAM Art Show, a triennial exhibition platform initiated to give artists in Malaysia the opportunity to experiment and make new work.
When we announced the inception of the ILHAM Art Show, the country was under its second lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With museums and galleries closed for extended periods, it felt more important than ever to introduce a programme that would support contemporary artists and stimulate public discussion and critical debate in Malaysia.
It was important to us that the application process for our first open call exhibition be as inclusive as possible, open to all artists based in Malaysia, regardless of gender, nationality, experience, or media. We received over 360 applications from a diverse group of artists. The applications were reviewed by a selection panel comprising Rahel Joseph, ILHAM Gallery Director, Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore, and Zoe Butt, former Artistic Director, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Vietnam.
In September 2021, we announced the 31 artists selected to be part of the inaugural ILHAM Art Show 2022. The list was inter-generational, with both emerging and established artists and collectives. The selected artists include Azizan Paiman, Azzaha Ibrahim, Blankmalaysia, CC Kua, Chang Yoong Chia, Cheng Yen Pheng, Chong Yan Chuah, Dhavinder Singh, Dipali Gupta, Eddie Wong, Engku Iman, Haffendi Anuar, Haris Abadi, Hasanul Isyraf Idris, Hoo Fan Chon, Ivan Lam, Izat Arif, Kamal Sabran, Kim, Kumpulan Ukir Kite’ Kelab Kebudayaan Mah Meri, Leon Leong, Mimi Aslinda, Minstrel Kuik, Pangrok Sulap, Samsudin Wahab, Sharon Chin, Tan Kian Ming, Tan Zi Hao, Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi, Tin and Theyvapaalan S Jayaratnam, and Yeoh Choo Kuan. Each artist was awarded an art production grant to be put towards the making of their proposed work. We wanted the process to support the making of new work, particularly work that was experimental, to enable artists to envision the kinds of works that they may not have had the opportunity to pursue in the past.
Over the last few months, we have had the privilege of visiting the artists in their studios all over the country. When the rising Covid numbers and the various flood disasters prevented us from doing in situ visits, we relied on technology to continue our discussions on zoom instead. It has been both exciting and deeply gratifying to see those initial proposals on paper, slowly develop into these exciting artworks that now occupy the gallery space and wider building.
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