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An Evening with Ernest Zacharevic

An Evening with Ernest Zacharevic

Photo by Claire T. Skelchy

If you’ve been to Georgetown in Penang lately, particularly to the Heritage District of the city, you will have undoubtedly seen his artwork. His name is Ernest Zacharevic, and his work has helped transformed older Georgetown into an area of art discovery.

Ernest was at our gallery last Wednesday, October 10, 2012 to talk about his journey of art, not just in Georgetown, but also in his home country Lithuania, and elsewhere that he’s been in the past few years. The talk was organized by the Damansara West Rotary Club (DWRC), which is working with Ernest on an urban art project entitled “Piece for Peace”, that aims to give certain parts of Kuala Lumpur a unique, arty feel.

The event at Artemis Art wasn’t a launch of the project, but rather an introductory session for the club members to meet with Ernest. It also was an opportunity for all those present to get to know more about the  young artist and the work he has done.

Knowing that Ernest – or at least his artwork in Georgetown – has a huge following, we kept the event rather low-key and decided to not publicize the talk (as we would normally do with our events), with the exception of  a posting we did on our Facebook page, And we think that we made the right decision, as even with minimal publicity, we saw a full house at the gallery!

Fully seated, and barely any standing room to spare!
Photo by Claire T. Skelchy

“Piece for Peace” is an art project that is being undertaken by the DWRC that aims to liven up the more drab and rundown parts of our capital city Kuala Lumpur, with outdoor art to be created by Ernest. The details of this project are still being discussed, and not much was really disclosed during the session last Wednesday. However, Ernest did give a hint by showing the audience some examples of public art created by him and other artists elsewhere in the world.

The “work-mall-work” culture is a very apt way of describing KL-ites who flock to the malls when they’re not working!
Photo by TW Chang

To Ernest, apart from the art being art, he sees his creations as conversation starters, so that people viewing the art can start talking about more than just their latest smart phones. One thing that the young artist mentioned that resonated very well with us – the need for Kuala Lumpur to have more than just a “work-mall-work” culture. Yes, KL-ites in general seem to have absolutely nothing else or better to do in their spare time (when they’re not working) other than flocking to shopping malls in and around KL.

The conversations that get sparked, of course, will depend very much on the subject matter of the art. An important example that Ernest shared that evening was the work of semi-anonymous French artist JR, whose almost guerrilla-like art has sprung up in many parts of the world. One of the most poignant series of JR’s works shown was that of the “female eyes”, highlighting the plight of women in Africa.

Ernest shows the evolution of his art in Penang, starting with small pieeces, which then got bigger and more elaborate
Photo by Claire T. Skelchy

It will be very interesting to see what Ernest Zacharevic creates here in Kuala Lumpur. Preliminarily, what we know is that the areas targeted will be the less affluent parts of KL, and those areas that require more attention. Also interesting will be the subject matter. Personally, we hope that what Ernest creates will be provocative and thought-provoking, perhaps highlighting some of the more pertinent social issues that prevail in Malaysia today. Whatever they may be, we’re certain that the creations will be more than just eye candy.

Ending the evening, after Ernest finished his presentation, the DWRC carried out a lucky draw to see which of the attendees got a print copy of Ernest’s most iconic outdoor art – the two kids on a bicycle, on Armenian Street in Penang, As a token of appreciation, the gallery was also presented with a copy.

One for the Artemis Art album – co-owner S. Jamal Al-Idrus with a print presented to the gallery, pictured here with Ernest Zacharevic
Photo by Claire T. Skelchy

Artemis Art takes this opportunity to thank the Damansara West Rotary Club for selecting us as a venue to have an interesting evening with Ernest Zacharevic. We look forward to the commencement of “Piece for Peace” and are truly excited to see what the artist will contribute to the KL landscape. As we mentioned earlier, we are certain that they will be stimulating and thought-provoking.

The DWRC pictured here with Ernest is rather fun & cheeky pose
Photo by Claire T. Skelchy

We are in the process of putting up a video of Ernest’s talk – stay tuned for details. For more photos from the event, be sure to visit the album “An Evening with Ernest Zacharevic“, which can be viewed via our Facebook page.

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