Art Talk

SAGER II 2012 - House of MATAHATI
By Nikki Liaw


House of MATAHATI (HOM) was the place to be last Saturday night, for the launch of their Southeast Asia Art Group Exchange (SAGER) Residency exhibition. The length of the gallery was filled almost to the brim with visitors and artists, and of course, artworks!

From left: Mr Bayu Utomo and the six resident artists.
What is unique about this residency is that it is regional, entailing 30 days each in our own lovely Kuala Lumpur, and the very artistically-rich Jogjakarta and Manila. The participating artists are also from these three nations, and they enjoy studio and gallery visits, and are introduced to art collectors and communities in each others' countries! Imagine what these creative artists could learn and experience in 3 months across 3 countries... well, you won't have to imagine it because it's all on display for you to view at HOM.
Wong Chee Meng with his artwork Notice (2012). Yes, that really is his number.
The resident artists from Malaysia are: Wong Chee Meng and Azam Aris (hmm both Taiping boys!), from Manila: Amer Abdullatif and Carlo A. Gernale and from Yogyakarta: Andi Ramdani and Iqro' Ahmad. They will be in KL unitl 30 April, and would be more than glad to share with you about their SAGER experience! As Bayu Utomo Radjikin himself says, “A residency can really make a difference to an artist’s career. It’s a chance to work without any disruptions for a specific period of time, and as they’re taking in so many different things around them, you can almost always expect exciting changes in their works.”

Whoa! This is the somewhat site-specific Tertutup Merah (2012) by Iqro' Ahmad.
While in Malaysia, the artists worked upstairs of the gallery to produce artworks that exemplify the results and studies (HOM) of their cross-country residency thus far. In KL, they visited the studios of local artists such as Husin Hourmain and Ahmad Shukri Mohammed & Umibaizurah Ismail, viewed exhibitions such as Amron Omar's Pertarungan at the National Visual Arts Gallery, and even visited collectors such as Ms Fatimah and Mr Pakhruddin Sulaiman! Visit their blog to get a glimpse of the action.

A gallery view, with more of Iqro's artworks in the foreground.
This is only the second installment of SAGER, and it looks to be going strong indeed. The six artists will move on to Jogjakarta and Manila in July and November respectively, and will exhibit there as well. What a way to build a region-wide network and awareness! Kudos to House of MATAHATI for organizing this programme, along with TENGGARA Artland (Indonesia) and Projectspace Pilipinas (Philippines).
Andi Ramdani conversing with visitors before his artwork Act With the Words (2012), a collab with Wong Chee Meng
Read our review and see the full artworks in ArtMalaysia Magazine Issue 19, out in June 2012. If you missed the preceding Meter Diameter show, catch our coverage in that issue too!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the current opinions of the author and should not be construed to reflect the opinions, policies or positions of any entity other than the author's.