Yim fabric maniac which mean most of her

Yen Sum

We Are Strong, When We Stay Together

Transfer colour photocopy on fabric

Variety, 2011










The artist made this in a few series. The
early one is an installation presented in frames and hanging and the recent one
is the one she participated in Bakat Muda Sezaman or Young Contemporaries.
After following her journey as an artist in Malaysian art scene, the researcher
found that the artist is fabric maniac which mean most of her artworks play
within the manipulation of fabric. For this exact piece, the artist compose a
few framed pieces on the wall with different composition and hang a bigger
piece on the front of the others. The act of sewing



The artist’s sensitivity towards the
culture is felt in the choice of material used in an artwork. The artist constantly
finds herself making use of soft and flexible materials in her works, because
they can easily be shaped and managed. The artist have tried to draw out the
main themes by using such materials with the characteristic property of being
able to contain. Based on the artist interpretation, this is the metaphor of
care. In the process of a using a needle and thread which shuttles back and
forth, two things that were once individual become whole or form a union. This
is not unlike individuals in a society who form relationships which give new
meaning to their lives, affecting the people around them.  These materials are not just objects to me;
they are a part of my life and experience, created from my imagination. I like
repeating small unit of artworks in a huge set, because whole structures such
as these allow us to feel the process of life, making us want to get close to



Accordingly to the title itself, We Are
Stronger When We Stay Together, Yim Yen Sum really did visualize the characteristic
of togetherness. The construction of the material itself were assign and align in
form of supporting by combining with sewing. The researcher thought this
artwork has spoken by itself through the composition and preposition of the
fabric. The researcher believes that the random variety of fabric represent the
variety of culture and races.


Yee I-Lann,

Orang Besar series: ‘Kain Panjang with
Parasitic Kepala’


Direct digital mimaki inkjet print with
acid dye, batik canting Remazol Fast Salt dyes on 100% silk twill, edition of 3
+ 2AP













Yee I-Lann

 Orang Besar series: ‘Kain Panjang with
Petulant Kepala’


Direct digital mimaki inkjet print with
acid dye, batik canting Remazol Fast Salt dyes on 100% silk twill, Edition of 3
+ 2AP













Yee I-Lann

Orang Besar series: ‘Kain
Panjang with Carnivorous Kepala’


Direct digital mimaki inkjet
print with acid dye, batik canting Remazol Fast Salt dyes on 100% silk twill,
edition of 3 + 2AP






Central to The Orang Besar Series is the three-part Kain Panjang series in batik and
photomedia. Adopting the design of the traditional sarong, with its kepala
(head) and badan (body), it explores natural and human metaphors of the body
politic, directly referring to the pyramidal societal structure around the
Orang Besar, at turns parasitic, carnivorous and petulant. Anthony Milner, a historian of the Malay world, engages at length with the
artist on the inference of these works in relation to modern-day Malaysian
politics in their conversation towards the end of this book. Ostensibly, the
images in Kain Panjang warn of the pitfalls of a culture of political
dependency, as a culture of stagnancy, breeding corruption, and yet they also underline
the potential power of the human mass, the rakyat in its physical bodily
manifestation, and its potential for change.

As a somewhat humorous closing note
to The Orang Besar Series,
Yee offers us YB — a
gathering of wilting corsages on the uniforms of officialdom—the safari jacket,
the not-so-sharp suit, batik shirt, white-collar, in the style of the vanitas
still-life. The YB, or Yang Berhormat (“the Honorable”) are the Orang Besar of
modern-day of dignitaries enjoying leverage in its political realm. Here we
come face to shirt with the sartorial sensibility of political aspiration, the
overweening physical presence of power, however begotten. The Orang Besar
Series places us, with the artist, at different distances to the political
structures that assume to rule and divide us. It offers a range of approaches
in which we can identify ourselves in relation to place and political
hierarchy, an inroads into ways in which we might negotiate our political
landscape. For Malaysians, the imperative should be clear, and yet Malaysia as
a construct can also operate as an example of any nation or community in the
making, for all communities today, and at any point in time, can be seen as
such. Issues of hegemony, piracy and migration surely dog the personal-political
consciousness the world over to varying degrees.






Central to Boogeyman is the Orang Besar series, which casts the modern democratic
processes of country in light of its traditional power structure. The Orang
Besar, translated as “the big man” (also interchangeable with the term Orang
Kaya or the rich man) stood as the mediating agent between the apex
(represented by the Sultan) and the common man. The measure of his influence or
power was not an account of his worldly wealth, but rather the number of
persons dependent on him. This control over a sizeable population gave him a
prized labour force through which he could realise various undertakings and
seek a political base or leverage against the competitive intrigues of the

This traditional system of measuring
political power in terms of headcounts flavours democracy in the region today.
Looking at the unstable clusters of human pyramid that narrates Kain Panjang with Parasitic Kepala,
one draws parallels between the huddled formation and the kind of volatile and
shaky alliances that spill over into today’s politics of patronage. The
question of patronage is something that reverberates strongly in Malaysian
culture today and I-Lann’s kitschy homage/satire of this culture plays out in
the YB series,
tightly cropped photographs of flower brooches that are normally pinned onto
the shirt of important politicians who attend a particular event in the
capacity of a VIP. The florid and arabesque portraits of different plant lives
seem to suggest an organic representation of excesses. There is an element of
ostentation and camp in these photos when viewed in the context of how
patronage has continued to exist in Malaysian society.










What makes the Orang Besar series
a remarkable leap from the vocabulary of Yee I-Lann’s previous exploration of
digital photographs is her ability to combine the former with batik. As a
textile tradition unique to the region, the batik medium carries a potentially
subaltern agency. Because batik production is traditionally recognised as a
women’s craft, this inscription lends a female commentary that is able to throw
into relief the negotiation of power from an alternative vantage point.

More importantly, this method of
storytelling draws upon the narrativity of batik, which is seldom acknowledged
or recognised. The popular assumption that visual patterns of the batik are
solely ornamental fails to acknowledge the coded vocabulary that batik carries.
Traditionally, each motif symbolises specific events in Javanese courtly life –
war, birth, marriage, death. Though we also find how in its modern usage, such
as in the badminton racket which became a motif to commemorate Malaysia’s
victory in the Thomas Cup, how batik documents our modernity.






Festive Mood 89-1

Dr. Choong Kam Kow


Mixed media







Festive Mood 88-2

Dr Choong Kam Kow


Mixed media






Image & Identity III

Dr. Choong Kam Kow


Mixed media






Festive Mood 87

Dr. Choong Kam Kow


Mixed media




The artist uses twines or yarns to weave
or tie the three dimensional festive chung or kueh ketupat on the printed or
embossed textural or tactile handmade paper background, with that, it creates a
semi decorative low-relief collage composition. The artist also uses silkscreen
method to print local wood carving pattern or auspicious symbols onto handmade
paper with embossed effect, thus, creating a kind of contour patterns. He also
exploits the festive cultural symbol of jubilee joys and expresses beautifully
the co-existence of Malaysian multi-culture, the festive spirit of mutual
respect, care and Muhibbah. The juxtaposition of frontal symbols is structured
in space and combines both figurative and abstract symbols. It illustrates the artist’s
profound understanding and appreciation of shapes, and also enhances both the
rural sense as well as the contemporary sense of such festive symbol.



The Festival Series expresses the
following notion: ‘The spirit of sharing festive joy, mutual respect and
goodwill is in the heart of every Malaysian”. The configuration of forms of
festival related cakes, offerings, craft elements and artefacts is intended to
convey the spirit of sharing traditional values and goodwill in this series of
work (the Malaysian way of life). During the festive seasons, the reception of
guests would not complete without the serving of local cakes. As without them,
there will be lack of festive mood. The beauty and aesthetic of forms of the
festival related cakes and artefacts are fully explored, appreciated and



If we view the works of the artist in the
view of the science of symbolism, we will agree that the world under his
brushes is a symbolised world, and its distinctive characteristic from culture
symbol to art symbol. The artist was brought up in a multi-racial and
multi-cultural society of Malaysia. The abundant cultural symbols of Malaysia
are important in formulating his art experience and immensely transformed his
creative process. His works is influential because he managed to transform
distinctive symbols of Malaysian culture into his own symbol.

In Malaysia culture, the festival is an
important representation of cultural practice. It contains the richness of
Eastern cultural contents and traditional values. The artist has aptly grasped
the symbolized meaning of the festive culture. He uses symbols of Malaysian
festive culture such as, the local Malays cakes and Chinese dumpling and wood
carving pattern as creative elements. And transforms these cultural symbol into
his own. The artist has expressed his own understanding and appreciation of
Malaysians culture and traditional cultural practice.









– Love and Loss in the Time of the Big Debate







artist’s inspiration for this exhibition derives from his grandmother who was a
renowned wedding planner for all Hindu weddings in the 50s and 60s, in a small
town of Teluk Intan, in the town’s Immigrant road Ganesh temple. She designed
invitation cards, decorated venues and most significantly designed and built
the Wedding Mana-va-reh or wedding dais/throne where the couple would sit
through the wedding rituals and ceremonies.

many ways, his inclination for the visual arts was inspired by imaginings of
how – in his mind’s eye – with saw and brush in hand, his grandmother would
build and paint the wedding dais which traditionally resembled ancient temple
architecture of the gopuram, courtyards and central altar. In the past,
Anurendra Jegadeva’s practice has always been concerned with the relevance of
painting within a contemporary art context as well as the human portrait since
half a century of photography. In the last five years, he has become interested
in extending the tradition of western painting to a myriad of influences
extending from American comic book framing devices to the rich painted temple
traditions of South India.



is a room installation comprising of a large painted wedding dais made out of
an intricate assemblage of painted panels, altar boxes, printed material,
paintings on the walls and kolams on the floor, where visitors are encouraged
to interweave through the installation to uncover the wonderful stories each
and every work tells.From old love letters to colonial ephemera and religious
artifacts – both found and made – the construction will combine the various
influences of the artist’s/our fragmented experience of being born in the East,
being shaped by the West and the tensions of assimilation on the one hand and
traditional and cultural identities on the other. Starting with the fabled tale
of the negotiation between Garuda and the Angel Gabriel that demarcated Muslim
and Hindu South East Asia the narrative extends through our colonial histories
culminating in the post-colonial tensions within the modern histories of the
Independence generations of the region.Using the stories of Empire and migrant
peoples, the artist also wishes for this `painted object’ to address the issues
of belonging and community that has come to a head in the tense racial and
religious climate that currently inflicts most of the region. Surrounding the
dais is a series of paintings that question the idea of unions and the
conditional love that is attached to them.




making MA-NA-VA-REH the artist’s intention is first and foremost to push the
boundaries of his art practice through the reinvention of his painting medium,
but as importantly to explore the times we live in and always – how he fits
within that scheme of things. A Malaysian figurative artist and writer,
Anurendra Jegadeva is regarded as one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary
artists for his socio-political commentary on both local and current issues,
and for continuously forging effective and fresh narrative approaches to
contemporary and historical themes through his works.







Yim Yen Sum
We Are Strong, When
We Stay Together
Transfer colour
photocopy on fabric
Variety, 2011




Besar series: ‘Kain Panjang with Parasitic Kepala’

digital mimaki inkjet print with acid dye, batik canting Remazol Fast Salt
dyes on 100% silk twill, edition of 3 + 2AP




Festive Mood 89-1
Dr. Choong Kam Kow
Mixed media




– Love and Loss in the Time of the Big Debate





Chapter 4: Conclusion and Recommendation

By the end of this research, the
researcher did discover

Symbolism in every artist

Similarity of content and

Form distribution and composition




Hacker, S. D. 2009. Positive Interspecific Interactions. eLS. .

Khairuddin, N. H., Yong, B., &
Sabapathy, T. K. (2015). Narratives in Malaysian art. Kuala Lumpur:

Anuar, Z., & Shariff, Z. A.
(2008). Susurmasa. Kuala Lumpur: Balai Seni Lukis Negara

Sabapathy T.K., (1994). ‘Merdeka Makes Art, or Does It?’, Kuala Lumpur : National Art

Piyadasa R. & Esa. S., (1974) Towards a Mystical Reality: A documentation
of Jointly Initiated Experiences, Kuala Lumpur: National Art Gallery

Jamal S. A., (1990) Rupa dan Jiwa, Kuala
Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka

Ismail S.Z. (1986) Rekabentuk Kraftangan Melayu Tradisi, Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa
dan Pustaka.

(2003) Syed
Ahmad Jamal: PELUKIS, Kuala Lumpur: Balai Seni Lukis Negara

Azizan, H. (2017, August 05). Sacred
travelogue: Artist J. Anus latest exhibition in Malaysia. Retrieved January 03,
2018, from https://www.star2.com/culture/arts/2017/08/10/j-anu-latest-art-exhibition/




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