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Chan Hampe Galleries Raffles Hotel Arcade
Raffles Hotel Arcade
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Ekspress Rakyat
by Chan Hampe Galleries Raffles Hotel Arcade
Location: Chan Hampe Galleries Raffles Hotel Arcade
Artist(s): Aswad AMEIR, Ilham FADHLI, Orkibal, Poodien, Saiful RAZMAN, Shahrul JAMILI
Date: 8 Aug - 24 Aug 2011

Ekspress Rakyat presents works of different mediums by six contemporary artists based in Kuala Lumpur, three of which are members of the Flying Karpet Company. For the artist Aswad Ameir, Ilham Fadhil, Orkibal, Poodien, Saiful Razman and Shahrul Jamili Ekspress Rakyat serves as a rare occasion to exhibit their craft outside of Malaysia, bucking a growing trend within the Malaysian art scene to remain insular.

The inspiration for the exhibition's title Ekspress Rakyat is borne from the daily KTM locomotive which travels through Malaysia and finally ending in Singapore. It is also the name of a modern folk song made popular by a Singaporean pop music group whose members are alumni of NAFA's Fine Art faculty from the 1980s. The reference to this train service and song amplifies many things relating to journeys, migrations and lifestyles associated to the Malay Peninsula. Ironically, by the time this exhibition opens, the train would no longer ply through its traditional route to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

The featured artists in Ekspress Rakyat have each tackled contemporary Malaysian issues against varying backdrops of abstract imagery. Aswad's engaging graphics along with Saiful's colourful political canvases, Ilham's industrial somber images, with the religiously charged three dimensional works by Shahrul, the confronting multimedia works by Poodien and Orkibal's playful monster images allow the viewer and insight into these artists lives.

About the Artists

Since Aswad Ameir graduated with a Degree in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, School of Art and Design, London in 2000, he has continually furthered and developed his artistic career. This becomes evident in the multifaceted approach Aswas takes in his art. His body of work consists of paintings, sculptures as well as installations and drawings. The breadth of mediums allow Aswad to best express the ideas and inspiration he takes from the environment around him, be it a poem by Jim Morrison, a homage to pirate radio DJs or his childhood memories portrayed in a series of drawings. Aswad's recent exhibitions include his second solo exhibition, X (Chandan Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010), Quite (Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010) and Art for Nature 2010, (Rimbun Dahan 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010). Aswad is also one of the founding members of the Flying Karpet Company.

In 2003, Ilham Fadhil graduated with a Degree in Fine Arts from UiTM Shah Alam in Malaysia. Subsequently, he has frequently exhibited in galleries across Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and most recently took up a term as the 16th Artist in Residence at Rimbun Dahan from 2010 to 2011. Ilham's work addresses contemporary issues through an absurdist or surrealistic narrative. His collages often incorporate delicate figures, dramatic colours and the use of scale to create these narratives and invite the viewer to discuss the issues raised. Most recently, Ilham's works have been featured in the Rimbun Dahan Artist in Residence Show (Rimbun Dahan, Selangor, Malaysia, 2011), SPICE Show (PACE Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2010) and the MATAHATI Art Triangle (National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010).

Describing himself as a self-taught artist and a fulltime dreamer, Orkibal aims to bridge the gap between graphic design and fine art with his passion for cartoons as well as his experiences gathered in a three-year stint working for a design company. His bright signature cartoon characters are reflections of his inspirations, his philosophies and his outlook on life. Orkibal's works find their homes not only on paper, but also take the form of murals and three-dimensional objects. Companies such as Canon and Zouk, among others, have commissioned his murals. Recent exhibitions include; Tapau Groupies Not Die (F&N Freestyle Peninsular Tour, Malaysia, 2009), Displacementmy (ARTVSTS Group exhibition, Singapore, 2007) and Let Art Move You (Rantai, Malaysia, 2007)

Poodien graduated from the Universiti Teknologi Mara Sri lksandar, Malaysia, with a Diploma in Fine Arts. His work deals not only with a variety of subjects, but also with varying approaches in medium and form. Deriving his influences on his artistic practices from various schools of thought, Poodien works with the ongoing questions relating to individual freedoms, societal values and the foundational "truth" and the very definition of the word. Poodien has also been a member of various art collectives such as Buka Kolektif a collective which aims to create a larger awareness and discourse about performance art, specifically in Malaysia. Pootien's recent exhibitions include; Merapi Eruption (House of Matahati, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010), 3 Young Contemporaries (Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010) and Once Upon A Time In MaIaysia/Al-Kesah (MAP White Box, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2010).

Saiful Razman obtained his Degree in Fine Art in 2003 at the Universiti Technologi MARA in Malaysia. Since 2001 his work has been exhibited in local galleries and various shows in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. His first solo exhibition, titled Pelan-Pelan dan Bilik Gerkan, was held in The Annexe Gallery in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 and discussed the Malaysian General Elections earlier that year. Alongside his paintings, Saiful also works with video installations, short films, performance art and music. His recent exhibitions include, Journey of Contemporary Artists from the Land of Grace (Galeri Chandan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2011), New Object(ion) (Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010) and Tribute to Rauschenberg (Taksu Gallerie, Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia, 2010).

Shahrul lama' Miskon's first serious art teacher was local Malaysian artist Yau Bee Ling who later, recognising his talent, persuaded him to major in sculpture. After completing his Diploma in Visual Arts the Central Academy of Arts in Kuala Lumpur in 2000, Shahrul completed his Degree in Fine Arts at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in the UK in 2003. Upon his return to Kuala Lumpur, Shahrul has worked as the assistant curator in the National Art Gallery as well as being a founding member of the Flying Karpet Company. Shahrul sees himself as an object maker, applying techinques of printmaking and sculpture in his art. Selected recent exhibitions include It's Now or Never II (Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2011) GR8: The Next Generation (Wei Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010) and Go Block: Five Malaysian Contemporary Printmakers (Petronas Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2009).

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