Art Talk

FAIZAL SIDIK – Songket Paintings

I accompanied veteran artist, Fatimah Chik to the opening of Faizal Sidik’s Songket Paintings as I was intrigued by the idea of this golden fabric being depicted on canvas. Furthermore, the exhibition has been on since 2 Feb 2017 at the Museum of Asian Art in Universiti Malaya, our oldest university in Malaysia.

After a few wrong turns we ended up in the Petaling Jaya entrance to the university and the guard told us to turn left, left and left at the major junctions. Finally, we arrived!

Faizal Sidik and the Head of the Museum of Asian Art, En. Abd Aziz Abdul Rashid was there to receive us,..  as Fatimah Chik was the guest of honour. 

The welcoming speech by Head of Museum of Asian Arts, En. Abd Aziz Abdul Rashid 

Fatimah Chik, officiating the opening of Songket paintings / Catan  Songket exhibition. This exhibition will end on 28 February 2017.

It was a relaxed, casual afternoon among friends, family and supporters.  But Faizal Sidik’s work is far from casual.  He has meticulously done research and made many sketches, produced smaller paintings, leading up to the main pieces, totalling 40 works.


Faizal Sidik is an artist, curator and translator with a Degree in Fine Art (UiTM) and obtained a Master of Visual Art (Southeast Asia) at Universiti Malaya, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Redza  Piyadasa in 2003. He has numerous solo exhibitions and received Young Contemporary Art Award (YCA) in 2000 from National Visual Art Gallery of Malaysia.

He has also curated and co-curated many exhibitions for the National Visual Art Gallery of Malaysia and in 2013, he was co-curator for the 4th Singapore Biennale.

Faizal is also active in writing, contributing to Senikini, Arteri, Set, Dewan Budaya and several newspapers and blogs.

This is the latest collection of art works by Faizal Sidik, from 2010 to 2016. He chose to focus on ‘songket’ because it is a Malay traditional textile, famous the world over because of its opulent golden threads woven in geometric motifs. To carry these motifs on to the canvas, Faizal relates it to a narrative from the most popular Malay Literature called Sejarah Melayu, the original manuscripts of which are being stored in main libraries in England (London), Holland, Indonesia (Jakarta) and Russia.

One of the most popular stories in the Sejarah Melayu was about the Puteri Gunung Ledang and Faizal chose to depict the journey of Tun Mamat through the a mysterious garden of Gunung Ledang (Mount Ledang) in search of the fabled princess.

Intepretation of Tun Mamat’s journey through the mysterious garden..

Songket motifs – stylised version of bunga bintang, bunga tanjung (flowers), awan larat (clouds), gunungan (mountains), matahari (sun), butterflies and so on

Depicting scenes in the Mysterious Garden of Gunung ledang, displayed here with a piece of songket and costume with songket motifs (from the Museum’s collection).

Sketches in development

Further development of motifs

The final art work…painted in glossy paint on canvas.

 According to Faizal, glossy paint drips easily.  So it has to be painted flat and he has to patiently wait for a layer to dry before the next is applied.

16 feet..the longest art work of the collection.

You can still catch this Songket Paintings exhibition up to 28 February 2017 and also do take a look at the extensive collection of Asian ceramics such as kendi, bowls, vases, celadon crockery etc  are housed.

Photo credits : Faizal Sidik & Jane Khoo
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