Off Walls Off Pedestals

At The Sculptors’ Forum (… the Sculptures of Raja Shahriman Were Dancing – Celebrating the 1st Decade of the 21st Century)

Posted in My Artist-Friends by tsabri on March 23, 2010

On a Saturday, 21st November 2009, I was invited to speak at an event simply called a ‘Forum with Sculptors’, organized as a ‘sidetrack event’ to Raja Shahriman’s one-person exhibition, Rhythm of the 21st Century, at the Galeri Petronas in KLCC (http://www.galeripetronas.com.my/).

The discussion was titled as ‘Seni Arca dari Kacamata Sosial, Budaya & Agama’ or literally in English, Sculpture from the Social, Culture and Religious Perspectives, conducted in Bahasa Melayu, moderated by artist-curator Nur Hanem Khairuddin (http://sendawamalaysia.blogspot.com/) and beside me, paneled by sculptor, Mad Anuar Ismail; a journalist, Fathi Aris Omar; a Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s lecturer on Islamic Law, Muhammad Najib; and R Shahriman himself.

Talking

When Nur Hanem spoke to me earlier, I felt that the topic was somehow thought by, if not chosen by, R Shahriman. I felt that the topic was a bit wide though, and I heard elsewhere that R Shahriman did have these questions of either human portrayal in works of art are permitted or otherwise by the teachings of Islam. I made some surfing and discovered to confirm that it was so, and I guessed the given title referred to the matters that disturbed him.

Following are notes that I prepared for the discussion:

SENI ARCA DARI KACAMATA SOSIAL, BUDAYA & AGAMA

Tajuk Perbincangan

  • Tajuk: agak luas/tidak jelas (?) – dari kacamata sosial, budaya & agama masyarakat Melayu? Atau Malaysia?
  • Kenapa dengan Seni Arca? Apa masalah dengan Seni Arca?

…Seni Arca

  • satu jenis/bentuk seni rupa yang biasanya bersifat 3D.

  • Pendidikan seni (formal) Malaysia dirujuk kpd tradisi pendidikan seni Barat/Moden.

  • Istilah ‘Arca’ adalah agak baru dalam perbendaharaan kata Bahasa Melayu – sering menimbulkan salah-faham. Sering dikaitkan dengan ‘patung’ atau ‘berhala’ oleh orang Melayu/Islam yang tiada pengetahuan tentang Seni Rupa Moden.

  • Bentuk 3D Seni Rupa Tradisional Melayu jarang sekali disebut sebagai ‘arca’ kerana persekitaran yang berbeda dgn Seni Rupa Moden, tetapi telah dikenalkan sebagai ‘kraft’ atau ‘kraftangan’ yang hari ini dilebihkan nilai komersialnya menjadi barangan kraft untuk cenderahati.

  • Seni Arca, sebagai bentuk moden, sedang berubah kepada bentuk-bentuk baru seperti instalasi, objek-jumpa, atau gabungan bersama dgn bentuk-bentuk lain.

…Sosial, Budaya & Agama

  • SOSIAL – hal berkaitan dgn masyarakat: pengertian, penggunaan dan perkembangan istilah sering tersasar; tiada pedoman jelas.

  • BUDAYA –  hal berkaitan dgn akal & budi: salah sangka bila cuba mengaitkan benda/perkara ‘baru/asing’ dgn pengalaman sendiri yang berlainan latarbelakang – akibat secara melulu atau berat sebelah.

  • (U)AGAMA – hal berkaitan dgn  kepercayaan / sistem kehidupan: pandangan menjadi jumud bila agama hanya ditumpukan kpd soal halal-haram, pahala-dosa, syurga-neraka tetapi tidak kpd sistem kehidupan secara keseluruhan.

Following notes were my concerns for R Shahriman’s sculptures – they were not entirely discussed at the forum. They were notes for a possible essay on R Shahriman and his sculptures. A friend, Nasir Baharuddin, also discussed this on his blog. Refer: http://www.visualcrackers.com/2009/11/ulasan-pameran-dan-bicara-seni-raja.html

PERBINCANGAN KARYA R SHARIMAN: CONTOH atau KAITAN DENGAN TAJUK PERBINCANGAN DI FORUM INI

  • Tajuk: KILLING TOOLS (senjata-senjata yang membunuh) / DANCING WARRIORS (pahlawan-pahlawan menari) / API, BAYANGAN & KEMENYAN / SEMANGAT BESI / GERAK TEMPUR / RHYTHM OF 21ST CENTURY – Antara lain (tak ikut kronologi)
  • Asosiasi Makna atau Gambaran (pengertian) Yang Boleh Dikaitkan (signs, signified, signifier, symbols, codes etc.): bentuk rujukan dari seni tradisional/klasik Melayu; kepahlawanan, keperwiraan, dunia persilatan, senjata hebat, kesaktian, Baginda Ali, Syaykh Abdul Qadir Jelani, keramat, tangkal, bomoh, dukun, jampi mantera, api, kemenyan, bayang2, tok guru silat.
  • Apa Reaksi Audien? : apa audien kita (msykt kita) dapat memahami dengan sepatutnya? Apa audien kita begitu apresiatif? bagaimana audien kita melibatkan pengalaman mereka bila menikmati karya R Shariman? Apa reaksi mereka terhadap perkara-perkara yang ditonjolkan – mistik? Apa kesan kepada ‘pembudayaan’ minda dan cara berfikir audien?
  • Bentuk: 3D – arca berdiri bebas (free standing sculpture); Arca Moden dgn gaya Surrealistik & Ekspresif (20th Century Modern Sculptures): Alberto Giacometti, David Smith dll.
  • Bahan Besi: kemahiran tinggi / PANDAI BESI; gambaran dari kepakaran atau pertukangan tradisional melayu (senjata spt keris, lembing, parang dll.); menjadi salah satu tanda tentang kehebatan seseorang yg sering disulami dgn kisah2 berkaitan mistik atau kerohanian.

Kaitan semua ini dengan karya2 R Shahriman (Monolog / Dilema / Persoalan R Shahriman?):

  • Sosial: Pendidikan seni formal (terutamanya di ITM) akhir 1980an & awal 1990an: kesan atau gelombang akhir (?) ‘penggalian unsur2 tradisional/peribumi’ dan ‘Seni Islam’? Pengislaman ilmu2?

  • Budaya: Pengalaman atau latarbelakang budaya tradisional (Melayu) yg dikatakan berunsur kerohanian – persilatan, sufistik, mistik? & pengalaman kontemporari: surrealisme / ekspresionisme / modernisme.

  • Agama: Penggambaran figura Manusia & Haiwan bersalahan dengan ajaran Islam? Apa masyarakat kini (atau masa depan) akan ‘memberhalakan’ arca?

I was proud with the audiences’ turn-up and participation. Audience, especially the Moslems, were interested particularly on the human portrayal issues, and these were explained by Ustaz Muhammad Najib by stressing that the niat or intention is more to be observed, and of course a Moslem has to observe adab or ethics in whatever he or she is doing.

One of the R Shahriman's figures

Both images of R Shahriman and one of his sculptures are from http://voize.my/events/arts-culture/monologues-of-raja-shahriman/

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