Advocating equality and women rights in Malaysia, Sisters in Islam (SIS) is back with their annual fundraising exhibition themed Free/Bebas. In its 2019 exhibition, Awan & Tanah garnered a whopping RM177,283. SIS is hopeful that Free/Bebas would draw equally, if not more, enthusiasm from members of the public.
Free/Bebas is a visual and introspective study into the meaning of freedom. Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic where activities were restricted by the Movement Control Order (MCO), the featured artists express their definitions of freedom through an array of mediums such as oil, acrylic, textile, wood sculpture, monotype and other creative means.
In an effort to address the unique circumstances that have forced many of us to remain at home, SIS Executive Director Rozana Isa says that “being physically restricted does not mean we cannot be productive, creative or expressive”. In fact, contrary to notions that the lockdown has led many to live an unproductive life, Isa says that “We have even more contributing artists this year”, a tell-tale sign that people are itching to get back into the flow of things.
Veteran homegrown artists renowned in both the local and international art scene such as Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Ilse Noor, Dato Sharifah Fatimah Zubair, Chong Siew Ying, Kow Leong Kiang as well as young up-and-coming artists like Iona Donald, Ain Rahman, Lyne Ismail, Amir Mansor, Faiz Mahdon, and Haz Yusup are among the artist line-up.
Some of the artworks you can expect to see at Free/Bebas include CULT Gallery owner and prominent artist Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s Plant, Kettle & Persimmons. An immaculate acrylic painting, this detailed piece has a potted plant overlooking a vintage powder blue kettle, while a lone persimmon sits next to these two objects on a table.
Meanwhile, Faiz Mahdon conveys freedom through Unmentioned. A sweeping landscape with surreal-like elements to it, common bedroom objects like a bed and a desk appear at the centre. But unlike a typical bedroom setting, the room is juxtaposed in natural surroundings, complete with trees and greenery and a creek running next to it.
Promising artist Iona Donald showcases a woven piece, Phosphenes & Eigengrau. The vibrant yet intricate artwork inspired by her observation of phosphenes, a natural phenomenon where the eye sees splashes of light on an almost-black background. Conversely, eigengrau occurs when colour is perceived in the absence of light.
All the artworks are for sale and 50 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to Sister in Islam’s philanthropic efforts.
'SISArt 2020: Free/Bebas' is currently on show at CULT Gallery until Oct 10.