14 Oct Elusive
Founded by young visual artist Haris Rashid, Studio Mekar is a young artist-run collective aimed at promoting contemporary art through collaborations, exhibitions, and special projects. Curated by the collective itself, Elusive is their first group exhibition project, bringing together the talents of 20 young visual artists with very varied backgrounds.
As Mekar member-artist Dhiyanah Hassan puts it:
Despite their highly contrasting backgrounds, what these artists have in common is their use of the imaginative in their works, either as part of the process or as a source for fantastical subject matters. Investigations of memories, experiences, expressions of love or desire, affirmations of the self, myths, and cultural explorations are rendered in ways that transcend materiality into works of art. Stories are told within lines and colours, between the interaction of light and dark.
Participating in Elusive are Abdulrashade, Aizat Rashid, Andrialis, Cloakwork, Dhiyanah Hassan (Afraid of Words), Elena Kravchenko, ERYN, Escapeva, Haris Rashid, Jaël Estrella, Jasmine Cheong, Katun, Kenji Chai, Mariyam Shany Ahmed (Manje), Ony, Rekha Menon (Rekhss), Sarah Ameera, Sofia Haron, Veronika Neukirch, and Yong Kang Yun.
Needless to say, it’s an impressive lineup, comprising both local and international young visual artists. But as far as group exhibitions go, Elusive is quite unique in two respects. First, it combines the talents of formally-trained and self-taught artists, breaking a commonly held stereotype that both categories of artists exist within their own domains, the twain never meeting. Furthermore, the diversity of backgrounds within each broad category further shatters this stereotype.
Secondly, the composition of artists transcends national boundaries. Perhaps not extremely unique, but not something common in the Malaysian art scene either. That this exhibition has been put together by a collective of young artists makes the international composition of this group exhibition even more impressive.
Elusive will run from Thursday, October 22 until Saturday, October 24, at Black Box, MAP@Publika, Kuala Lumpur. An opening reception will be held beginning 8pm on Friday, October 23, and the guest of honor for the event shall be Sasya Ahmad Sebi, founder and Managing Director of Racing Creatures Sdn Bhd.
As a gallery that places great importance on providing young artistic talents a platform, Artemis Art is proud to support this young artists’ initiative, and hopes that Studio Mekar continues with its efforts to improve and promote contemporary art through their collaborative modus operandi.
Elusive: artist profiles and sneak preview of artworks
This sneak preview provides a taste for the artworks that will be exhibited by each artist. The exhibition proper will have more artworks from the participating artists. Many thanks to the good folks at Studio Mekar for providing us with the images and the brief artist profiles.
Abdulrashade from Penang is a full-time artist involved with digital graphics, graffiti, and painting. He has been a member of the Eightyfourcube Collective since 2003. He mixes a hint of spice from the Nusantara culture with floral designs and modern graphics to make compositions of his own.
Aizat Rashid is a full-time independent photographer from Kuala Lumpur. His work is influenced by his love of travel and exploring new things, which is evident in his ceaseless experimentations of different techniques.
Andrialis is a lecturer of photography. She enjoys teaching as well as experimenting with different photographic techniques. Mastering the art of pre-visualisation and concepts of composition, direction and light quality has become an undying passion.
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Cloakwork is an illustrator as well as a graffiti artist who takes his surroundings and the urban culture as inspirations in creating his art. He believes in “No Paint, No Gain” and “Give and Take.”
Dhiyanah Hassan (Afraid of Words)
Dhiyanah Hassan is an artist/writer who explores the significance of building narratives — the myths we tell to navigate internal and external landscapes. Her works orbit around memories and desires, with paint and poetry her main mediums.
Elena comes from Russia where she finished a course in Graphic Design. In her art, she focuses on Northern-European folklore, myths and legends, inspired by elements of various cultures. Her paintings are full of childhood dreams and imagination, as well as heroes from her favourite tales.
ERYN enjoys creating unusual worlds through the imagination that allows us to explore a dreamlike inner landscape, where emotions and thoughts take on a tangible form. These worlds are built up with intricate lines on paper and cut-outs to form layers where multiple narratives, some inspired from world myths, interweave to form a cohesive whole.
Known as “escapeva” since 2006, Mohd Zaki bin Nordin is a full-time muralist. Born in Kuala Lumpur, the streets are his canvas.
Haris Rashid is a mixed media artist who explores animals and nature-related themes, visually infused with ornamental designs. He loves playing around with colours and aims to depict human emotions through his animals, as a way to bridge the gap between the man-made and natural worlds.
Jaël is a French-born artist who has been based in Malaysia since 2011. For her, art is a necessity and she expresses herself through her abstract works, using acrylic paint or collage (magazine paper). Her works have been collected large in Malaysia, as well as in Japan, Australia, England, Sweden, France, India, and Singapore.
Jasmine is a young artist who finds herself returning to nature through her works, as she feels that the natural world encompasses the best type of art. A self-confessed perfectionist, she strives to achieve her goals, to grow along with her art in the pursuit of spiritual satisfaction.
The name katun comes from his love of reinterpreting cartoon characters into physical form, a passion that grew with him throughout childhood and has found its way into the passion of what he does now.
He emblazons walls and books with his tactical yet refined the form of paintings, often using bright tones to bring life into his creations. Katun doesn’t shy away from more aggressive works to make a point or two, often slipping subtle statements into his more cheery pieces.
Passionate about graffiti, mural art, tattoos, and traveling, Kenji does not believe in boundaries. The world is his wall.
Mariyam Shany Ahmed (Manje)
Manje is a self-taught artist from Maldives who works mainly with acrylics, inks, and experimental mixed media. Her works tell stories, told through highly imaginative portraits of women surrounded by elements of nature and cultural symbolisms. She is currently working as an independent artist and illustrator in Kuala Lumpur.
Ony Jamsari graduated with a BA in Fine Art from UiTM, majoring in painting and cultural art studies. Her paintings are based off stories, from her own appreciation of different cultures and the unique surroundings she finds herself in through her explorations.
Rekha Menon (Rekhss)
Rekha is a self-taught artist who loves experimenting with different mediums and techniques in her naïve and intuitive abstract works. She believes that abstract art is not just about pictorial representations but rather the use of colour, brush strokes, and emotions. Her aim is to create interesting pieces that visually stimulate positive vibes in her audiences.
A nature-lover and art enthusiast who loves to experiment with visual art from traditional to digital mediums, aiming to merge the two practices to create stunning visual metaphors. She has collaborated with various artists, companies, and collectives to create projections, illustrations, videos, and paintings.
Sofia, a Fine Art graduate, has always expressed herself through art. She likes to believe that there is a better future, and that science is a form of art that is commonly misunderstood. Creating mysterious images beneath geometrical lines is her passion.
Veronica Neukirch is a German artist who lived and worked in London for 9 years and graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College. She has been based in Kuala Lumpur since 2014. She has exhibited and completed several residencies in South East Asia, with an upcoming solo show coming soon at Minut Init.
Yong Kang Yun
Yong Kang Yun recently completed her Diploma in Fine Art at Dasein Academy. She has been taking part in group exhibitions in Malaysia and overseas since 2014. Her new works attempt to address events that happen in her surrounding, exploring fragments of city life that touch on social, economic, cultural and psychological aspects.
Studio Mekar is an artist-run collective, founded by visual artist Haris Rashid, who invites fellow artists on as members, either on a long-term basis or for specific projects. At the time of ELUSIVE, the collective’s other members are visual artist Manje and artist/writer Dhiyanah Hassan.
The purpose of the collective is to promote contemporary art through projects, exhibitions, and collaborations. Operating under the belief that there are fertile grounds to break into within the Malaysian art scene, the artists of Studio Mekar work together, contributing various skills, in seeing through projects that challenge themselves and their audiences creatively.
Studio Mekar’s first exhibition, Untamed Bloom, ran in October 2014 at the New Straits Times Gallery. Elusive is their second collaborative effort, and on a much larger scale than previously undertaken.