The Curtain: From Mixed-Media to Multimedia
In 2008, Mastura was invited to join the Srikandi: Sentuhan Seni Jiwa Wanita art exhibition, organized by the Faculty of Art & Design, Universiti Teknologi MARA (FAD, UiTM) Melaka at the Balai Seni Lukis Melaka. The exhibition was held from 29th March through 29th May. Liza Marziana Mohd Noh, a lecturer at the faculty coordinated the curatorial team. Mastura also gave an artist-talk at the exhibition, talking about her experiences as an artist.
Mastura exhibited her multimedia installation, The Curtain, which was earlier exhibited at the inaugural Research-Creation Exhibition of the Faculty of Creative Multimedia, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya in 2007. The Curtain was also one of the early multimedia works by Mastura. The making and exhibiting processes of The Curtain were actually documented for research by Mastura for her graduate studies. She also exhibited some of earlier paintings for the exhibition.
Following is a piece of writing by Mastura introducing The Curtain. It was originally published in the exhibition’s catalogue, published by the FAD, UiTM Melaka, on page 51.
The Curtain is a title of a multimedia installation-art, first exhibited at the Research-Creation Exhibition, Faculty of Creative Multimedia (FCM), Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, 17th – 25th August 2007. It was here reconstructed again to participate this Srikandi exhibition.
This writing accompanies The Curtain as supplementary appreciation notes. It discusses the background of how the idea developed through my artistic career, and some notes on The Curtain as an art form.
The idea originates back in mid-1980s when I first started my painting series, the Interior Series. I was studying the interiors of traditional Malay architecture for my compositions, together with the use of floral motifs in the traditional Malay decorative arts particularly the textiles. The arts and cultural activities in 1970s and 1980s Malaysia were much aspired by the questions of identity and continuity of heritage and as such, that many artists started to look back at traditional art forms and their roots for inspirations and ideas.
I was also looking at the 15th – 18th centuries Persian and Mughal miniatures, and the Arabesque patterns as references for the Islamic Art forms, which also became significant as a contemporary style in the 1980s and early 1990s Malaysian art-scene, Binding all these together is perhaps the contemporary expression of art and experimental attitude which was largely referred to the American Abstract Expressionism.
The Interior Series is simply compositions of reconstructed interior spaces filled up with textiles motifs. It was largely a body a mixed-media paintings, done on canvases and carved wooden panels. Human figures were absent from the compositions except for appropriate households and other objects to suggest humans’ presence.
Narratives became a concern in the 1990s when I started to portray family scenes in the paintings. Growing up my children made me referred to the traditional Malay family values – the lullabies, the folktales_ the love, the care, the hope_ and these are all weaved through the compositions’ elements, images and techniques.
Some Appreciation Notes
As mentioned, The Curtain developed from a variety of backgrounds, It was a continuance from my earlier painting series_ the images and patterns, as well as the meaning and values, stayed consistent with the experimental and explorative attitudes. The children are now away in a boarding school_ my personal self is developing into emotions of yearnings, worries and hopes, and the responsibility to provide them good education for the future.
The Curtain also marked my first use of multimedia as an art tool or medium. Towards 2000s I was using the computer to research and manage my studies, and office works, My tutorship at FCM encouraged me to take a closer look at the possibilities and excitement what multimedia can offers an art medium. I took to research on the process of making and exhibiting an art project using multimedia as my postgraduate study. It is a challenge for me as I am so used to traditional art mediums like paintings, drawings or sculptures.
The Curtain, in formal appreciation, illustrated my repetitive concern with harmony in all of my works, The harmony of colors and textures of The Curtain echoed this concern as were also represented in the three late 1990s paintings exhibited in this exhibition. It is the principle that binds the visual, audio and motion elements into a from of ‘pleasure’ or esthetics.