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YOU can’t put an artist in a box. Every sentence that begins: “The role of an artist is…” is untrue as soon as it’s uttered. While most vocations have their roles, no sooner do you clothe an artist in a role, he slips out of it and is skipping away down a road you hadn’t imagined.

The artist does something profound — obeys a necessity, solves a puzzle, fills a hole, makes a mess, sheds his skin, bares his soul, sets fire to himself. Whatever he does and however he does it, it’s an act in search of freedom and cannot be contained within the straitjacket of definition.

Every work of art, every real creation, is a revolt. A revolt first against culture, aesthetic norms and existing artistic languages; a revolt in the name of fresh perception, and a revolt which invents new languages, unsuspected forms, surprising juxtapositions. Every work of art, like every act of human liberation is similar to the process of growing from a dependent child into an independent adult.

This rings true for 47 young and emerging artists who are set to create waves at Gallery Prima’s latest exhibition, “Oeuvre” which literally means the body of work of an artist or a work of art, music or literature. Unleashing their creativity and passion, these artists are set to break rules, leap out of conformity and bare their souls on canvas.

The participating artists comprise Chye Pui Man, Fakhriq Zulkifli, Hannah Nazamil, Muhammad Zamarulxaman, Nur Thahirah Razak, Siti Humaini Syed Ahmad, Koo Yeanni, Farhana Sukeri, Aimman Hafizal, Arefen Zaidin, Eeling Wong, Hilal Mazlan, Atiqah Khairul Anuar, Erfann Dannial, Muhamad Faiq, Syamimi Yahya, Brenda Subal, Aniza Peter, Hafizuddin Azman, Aiman Yusri, Sharlene Lopang, Amar Shahid, Suvin Lau, Nuraina Shuhadah, Haris Hilmi, Shahnaz Azlin, Aiman Aisamuddin, Loqman Zainal, Mohd Affwan Izam Romli, Nadzrin Haziq, Fadzril Fakaruddin, Rosmidahanim Razali, Syazwani Afiqah, Ruzamira Abdul Razak, Syifa Aisyah, Norafandi Rosli, Teh Nadirah, Kus Faizlulhakim, Syakirah Jaafar, Sarah Radzi, Firdaus Kamaruddin, Afiqah Abd Mutalib, Haniff Malik, SM Raja, Azrul Fahmi, Amira Kamsano and Syukur Rani.

It’s heartening to see a new generation of artists set to make their brushstroke on the world. And while evocative artworks on display at “Oeuvre” might want to make you think, feel and pay attention to the world in a new way, the real excitement would be in the following of such artists as they continue to mature and grow in their craft. Who can say if they would be the ones destined to change the landscape of the art world as we know it?

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AN OVERDUE APOLOGY

Mixed media on paper

Artist: SARAH RADZI

"Most of my work revolves around my relationship with people, my surroundings and myself. They also represent my connection to the things in the past and things that are currently happening around me. It's a visual representation of my personal space that I find many can relate to.

An Overdue Apology is an artwork about seeking for forgiveness that should have been done a long time ago. There could be many reasons why it was delayed: ego, time and in this case, having a hard time letting go. This work is a self-reflection based on incidents that have occurred in the past. Perhaps by producing this piece, it will also give me the strength to move on."

WAYANG REMAJA

Oil on canvas

Artist: NUR FARHANA MOHD SUKERI

"Expressing my feelings makes me feel vulnerable and afraid that I would drive people away with my crippling anxiety. The cranes surrounding the main subject symbolise happiness, peace and non-violence. In Japanese folklore, cranes are said to live up to a thousand years. I use pink gemstones to form my cranes because they’re believed to bring about serenity, relaxation and acceptance while neutralising negative emotions. Wayang Remaja is actually my most emotional piece of work. It helps me see my art from a different perspective. I’ve always been struggling to make meaningful connections with people, so producing this piece of art felt like a healing balm to my troubled soul."

EXPLOITATIVE

Monoprint

Artist: MOHD HANIFF ABD MALIK

"Exploitative has been influenced by the observation of the artist regarding his environment. This art contains the meaning of exploitation and other issues found in politics and daily life that are currently happening. "

SMALL MONUMENT

Steel wood

Artist: HILAL MAZLAN

"The cube-headed wooden bird is my symbol of the illusion of free will. A bird should have the ability to fly freely yet it’s attached to the steel structure. These days, we seem to think we have all the freedom we desire. Sadly, it’s only an illusion we create so we can condition ourselves thinking we’re in control of our lives. The more I think about it, the more I realise that there will always be some restrictions and control, no matter what I do. Try calling 911; you’ll be surprised that the operator automatically knows your name and your location. While this is probably for our safety, I can’t help but think that a perfect stranger already knows some of my personal information. My privacy is breached, yet this is where I am right now and the reality I need to accept."

FRAGMENTS OF MEMORIES AND IMAGINATIONS

Acrylic on fabric

Artist: BRENDA SUBAL

"When I was growing up, my family moved a lot from town to town, kampung to kampung, house to house. Most of the rented houses that we stayed in were weirdly designed and in poor condition. My painting is about the kind of imagination I had when I was younger. It was a way to keep me entertained. Back then, I’d harness my imagination and draw. I love the strange designs of the kampung houses but I despised the poverty of my household. The lines in my paintings are just lines to remind myself that they’re all just part of my vivid imagination."

WORTH A MILLION TREASURE

Acrylic on Canvas

Artist: TEH NADIRA

"My work revolves around a heartfelt psychological curiosity by exploring self experience from a broad perspective about my own daily routines. I want to show the sense of feminine spirit. At the same time, it reflects my life's journey to rediscover and inspire the feminine spirit as a female artist. My concept is influenced by my own personal experience and my exploration of women’s behaviour captured over energetic moments that celebrate femininity. My narratives on canvas are based on my sense of intimacy, love, and affection that embody my own personal emotional and psychological well being. Although each painting’s narrative may show their own unique perspectives, but together the entire collection conveys a singular theme that never stops discovering the intricate characteristics of feminine beauty."

FLOW

Pigment ink on Acroprint paper

Artist: EELING WONG

"It was a day like any other, full of deadlines, multiple changes, poisonous people and the same routine tasks — day in and out. A pen in hand, I drew a tentative circle on a notebook. Around it, grew strokes and bold circles, feathers and meandering vine. Merely an action to spend a little time away from the busyness of business and daily toils. It was as if I’d dripped a drop of water into a expanse of water, creating little ripples. This would become a small, enjoyable pocket of time for me to shut off the outside and retreat within my black and white walls of ink and paper, and into my inner heart. Change came and went and now in a different place with different people, I’ve become yet another me. Those ripples of water pour into what has become a wide, wide sea, creating waves on waves. Within myself, as without, a simple pen can create worlds as it should."

REALM OF SPACES

Spray Paint on Canvas

Artist: ERFAN DANNIAL YAHYA

"I was inspired by my fascination of my father's unimaginable ability to communicate with the "unseen" world. My idea is not about him or his gift which Allah gave to him — it’s just an inspiration. Therefore, I am creating a new meaning of symbolisms in my interpretation of the whole spiritual "unseen" world in terms of contemporary art and using it as a vehicle to paint my idea of “mystical space”. I play with depth, wide spaces and perspectives of mihrab, arches, doors, stairs landscapes to portray mystical spaces. These play of symbolisms represent the borders and connections between the existing and non-existing, tangible and intangible world, life and death, the relationship between human and God. "

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