CONTEMPORARY ART MALAYSIA
In an article published in January 2011 on The Star Online, artist Peter H. H. Lim talks about the changes to the Malaysian art scene he has witnessed over the last ten years amongst comments on the country’s brain drain and why artwork is important to society.
Lim on evolution of Malaysian contemporary art:
‘When I left, it was only batik. Now the general interest is changing. A lot has happened in these ten years. The community is embracing the language of art, which means artists have a chance to explore their visions and go to another level – get out of just painting, explore installation, photography, video.
‘In Europe, culture is gold. Here [In Asia], it is optional. But we’re slowly changing the mindset. Countries like Singapore, Thailand and China, they’re realising that art is part of the fabric of society. They’re making it one of the mainstream lines, equivalent to science, medicine, astronomy, architecture and such. It is no more optional.’
Lim on the Malaysia’s ability to retain its intellectuals:
‘People love to travel. Look at the Chinese, we’re everywhere. Some are displaced because of war, some by choice. The important thing that any government can do is to not just recognise someone once they’ve become somebody. You also have to accept the ones who cannot make it despite being talented.
‘If you’re a good government, they’ll come back anyway. If you’re doing good work, not only your own people will come, but people from other nations. The brains come to Malaysia. Why not?’ he says.
About Peter H. H. Lim
Peter H. H. Lim was born in Kedah, Malaysia in 1954 but grew up in Penang. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome from 1967 and has continued to live in the city state. He works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance and has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the USA and Asia.
In 2010, he held a solo show called “Gone With The Wind” at Beijing’s Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art. He has an upcoming show in Bangkok and is considering a show in Kuala Lumpur, to be held in 2012.
- Political correctness enemy of good art says Valentine Willie – BFM podcast – February 2011 – podcast interview with gallery founder Valentine Willie
- Is Hong Kong’s current art climate failing local artists? Wall Street Journal discusses – January 2011 – Has the city’s independent art scene been forgotten?
- 3 young Malaysian contemporaries, 3 cultural interrogations – December 2010 – gallery in Kuala Lumpur presents “3 Young Contemporaries” exhibit
- Malaysian artist Yee I-Lann mixes batik and photography in “Boogeyman” exhibition – October 2010 – Yee I-Lann explores local body politics, piracy and resistance in “Boogeyman”
- Curator Tobias Berger talks about Korean contemporary art scene in 4 questions – September 2010 – interview with Tobias Berger, curator of Nam June Paik Art Centre