'The Buddhist Bug' exhibition explores issues of displacement and belonging

Inspired by Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis', Anida Yoeu Ali performs as a human-sized bug in an extensive orange garment.

Roll Call (2014) in digital C print (All photos: Anida Yoeu Ali)

The Buddhist Bug project is an ongoing interdisciplinary series combining live performance, installation, photography and video art by Anida Yoeu Ali, whose body of work explores issues of displacement and belonging.

Through this series, Ali performs as a human-sized bug, inspired by Franz Kafka’s famous novella, The Metamorphosis (1915). Wrapped in an extensive orange garment that spans up to 100m, the creature can coil to assimilate into different spaces, dialoguing with the surrounding architecture and audience through body language and gestures. While it is out of place, its ability to manoeuvre through reality shows a gap between identity and the environment.


The bug reflects the artist’s autobiographical exploration of identity

Through the use of humour and absurdity, the bug seeks to initiate conversations about topics regarding otherness, foreignness and religious identity — social issues relevant to multicultural countries, such as Malaysia, where cultural and religious identities juxtapose and unity is constantly challenged.

The bug reflects the artist’s autobiographical exploration of identity and her own spiritual turmoil between Islam and Buddhism. The head piece is modelled after a Muslim headscarf. Her body is completely covered (except for the face and ankles) and the orange mirrors saffron robes worn by Buddhist monks.

Having been exhibited internationally for almost 10 years, this exhibition at Wei-Ling Contemporary is the most extensive showing of The Buddhist Bug series to date with all elements of the project on view, including video, images, installation views and a live performance.


'The Buddhist Bug', Wei-Ling Contemporary, RT01, Sixth Floor, The Gardens Mall, KL. Aug 18. For more info, see here


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