Off Walls Off Pedestals

What I Am Doing Now (Mastura & U-Wei’s Women)

Posted in Mastura's Works, Wayang U-Wei by tsabri on February 6, 2010

Mastura is painting U-Wei’s women; Zaleha from ‘Perempuan, Isteri & Jalang,’ Zaiton from ‘Buai Laju-Laju,’ Minah from ‘Jogho,’ the girl-dolls from ‘Sepohon Rambutan Indah Kepunyaan Ku di Tanjong Rambutan,’ and a carpet that I supposed was bought by a woman from ‘Kaki Bakar’.

Mastura started with Zaleha: who begins life, perhaps as an innocent kampong girl that eventually became victim to a series of unfortunate (?) events – lustful love, romance, hatred, and vengeance. She is the girl who followed the man whom she believed will bring happiness to her. She is the girl who was forced into prostitution. She is the wife who somehow bewitched the husband (who killed the man she chose to follow and forced her into prostitution) into becoming a somehow stupefied person. She is the woman who attracts men. Zaleha is full of vengeance and stratagems.

Mastura next looked at Zaiton: who somehow get married to a much older, rich and rather ‘old-fashioned’. She is the woman who knows that she is beautiful. She is the woman who dreams a joyous happy life. She is the wife who dares to betray her husband, an old man. She is the woman who attracts men. Zaiton is also full of stratagems. She is after her dreams.

Mastura started looking for Zaleha and Zaiton’s photographs on the Internet, and worked them out on the Adobe’s PhotoShop before she transferred them on her canvases. She had earlier ordered two 4’ x 8’ stretchers. One for Zaleha and the other was for Zaiton of ‘Buai Laju-Laju’. I would say that these two paintings were the firsts for Mastura in using images of humans as well as landscapes in her works.

Mastura then interested in Minah, Pak Mat Jogho’s wife, who is a strong-willed, full of courage and an obedient wife. Minah is the woman who loves her husband and family. Minah is the woman who stands by her husband. Minah is full of determination.

Mastura sat looking at ‘Jogho’ with a camera. She photographed scenes that she best could portray Minah, listened and wrote down Minah’s dialogues. She later manipulated the images on the PhotoShop and sent them to a friend, Nazri, to print on them canvas. Mastura then collaged the prints onto her composition.

A View from Mastura's Studio

Mastura, next, looked at three dolls that are supposed to belong to Kak Ina, a girl from ‘Sepohon Rambutan Indah Kepunyaan Ku di Tanjong Rambutan’ who accidentally died. These three dolls live as imaginary friends to lonely girls. They bring laughter, funny stories and many more to the girls. Mastura is delighted with these imaginary friends. They (the dolls) somehow provide a surreal ambience to the painting.

Mastura finally looked at a carpet (a red one but she purposely designs it a round shape to suit her composition), or rather a collection of carpets, that in someway or another became a central object of concern in ‘Kaki Bakar’. Carpets are bought in kampongs to decorate the houses’ floors, and have become somewhat objects of social status and wealth. Care and cleanliness of these carpets are important to the women of these wealthy kampong houses.

Mastura is painting U-Wei’s women.

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