“Sparks of Change” sizzles in various works that make up RHB’s Art with Heart 2023 exhibition, currently on at Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC), Kuala Lumpur. The theme for this fifth instalment of the bank’s annual showcase reflects the excitement and energy of home-grown talent, including neurodiverse artists, whose pieces are up for sale.
About 160 creations are on show, curated by Iz Sulaini of Kolme Management, who chose them for their finesse, what the artist aims to do, and the stories they tell. Each piece has a story; they differ but are compelling in engaging ways.
Jakob van Klang’s Spiral Into Oblivion shows people being sucked into oblivion by chronic fatigue syndrome. “You see them going from big to small, until they vanish. These are people housebound by fatigue, people forgotten by society because of the illness,” says Jakob (aka Lim Ming Guang), who started painting full-time in March. His unusual moniker is a nod to painters such as van Gogh and Rembrandt, who took the names of the towns they hailed from.
Burning Out But At Least I’m Burning by Sarawakian Bethany Balan looks at two sides of a spark. A match when struck lights up its surroundings, but sacrifices itself in the process. Pessimism or a symbol of hope? It is up to the viewer to decide, she says.
Dhan Illiani Yusof also plays with interpretation in five works of conceptual photography on canvas with hand-beaded embellishments to show how every day is composed in different ways and her contrasting feelings on a day-to-day basis.
“I am my own brand,” says the multidisciplinary freelancer who “envisions raw vulnerability, self-esteem, adversity and growth through an imagined language using flowers as a form of hybrid complex emotions”.
Neurodiverse artist Tan Ken Ming, 25 next month, approaches art in a direct, detailed and colourful way. He draws inspiration from Aesop’s fables, nature and things he reads about or hears. Panda, one of his five paintings at the RHB exhibition, came about after his mother Veronica Chung told him that panda cubs Yi Yi and Sheng Yi would be returning to China on Aug 29.
Art with Heart is on show at the BSC concourse until Sept 3, from 10am to 10pm daily. If you are thinking of a meaningful way to support home-grown artistic talent, go buy a painting. It will mean a lot, especially to the young ones pursuing their dream and sparking change along the way.