An exhibition of batik works by Sarkasi Said from the 1990s to the present, this exhibition follows the personal development of Sarkasi’s style and traces the history of his practice, from his days as itinerant street artist, to becoming a prominent batik artist. Eleven works are included in the exhibition, collectively demonstrating shifting interests from discipline to the expressive, from allusions to tradition and nature to the imagined space, in his words, “… always moving”.
This exhibition of art works produced during the period of the Indochinese and Vietnam Wars (1945-1975) draws from the one of the largest privately held collections of the genre. The works were collected by Dato’ N. Parameswaran during his appointment as Ambassador of Malaysia to Vietnam, stationed in Hanoi, between 1990 – 1993. These were the middle years of Doi Moi, the period of Vietnamese economic reforms begun in 1986 that aimed at bringing about socialist market liberalisation.
After Ballads is a prep-room project by artist Fyerool Darma that locates literary foundations to historic figures such as Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, and objects from the museum collection. This series of presentations are exercises on the epistemology of texts, artefacts, and systems of language that proceeds to trace how it is shaping contemporary society. Image: Study of Portrait No. 15 (A man of bananas and thorns), Fyerool Darma, 2017.
The Chinese Art collection consists of bronzes, ceramics and paintings, gathered to represent the expansive history of Chinese art. The nucleus of this collection was established and developed at the Nanyang University in the 1970s with significant expansion in the 1980s under the newly inaugurated National University of Singapore (NUS).
Bringing together finds from past and newer excavations from Fort Canning (Singapore) to Changsha (China), these finds from the pre-colonial and colonial periods sample the materials produced and used in Singapore and beyond. Further, as part of an evolving body of artefacts, they provide a glimpse into the dynamics between material culture and history, and its making.
As a backdrop to the evolving discussion on Malayan culture which Hsu was part of, the exhibition introduces selected writings by T.K. Sabapathy and S. Rajaratnam, the former pertains to Southeast Asian art historiography, and the latter as a call for a cultural history that forms part of a shaping of community and nation. These frames provide ways to consider the Museum’s collection whose collecting histories may be associated with Malaya’s period of formation and art history.