Art Talk

BINGKAI BERANGKAI by Jalaini Abu Hassan
By Swee Chin PAN

8 PM

Jai and family (Photo: Courtesy of VWFA)
I am a big fan of Jalaini Abu Hassan, affectionately known as ‘Jai’ and I have followed his career for several years now. He knows which of his artworks I like, which others have bought. Yes, it is always very frustrating when you see the red dot on the pieces you like, don’t you agree? But then again a small fry like me don’t get invited to the previews and I have never really been on the ball to get to the gallery before the exhibition commences; or go to the artist’s studio before the artworks get to the gallery! So I can’t really complain…sometimes, I wish I am more kiasu!

I must say I really like the way Jai’s pieces have been displayed at Valentine’s this time round. Bingkai Berangkai literally means ‘linking or connected frames’. Jai wants to encourage new ways of interpreting and viewing his stories, where there are no spaces between the artworks nor specific narratives for the same. Hence the boundaries of how the images are contained are blurred, creating (to quote from the catalogue) a complex ambiguity where the significance of each work competes and distorts the understanding of the next. The responsibility of meaning therefore lies primarily in the selection of the viewer…as guided by their own experiences…Jai is indeed an innovative and thinking artist. 
When I asked Jai which of his artworks is his favourite, he had no hesitation. It is the one of his father as The Storyteller. It is very true that it is a tradition to tell stories – in all cultures. In this painting, his father is surrounded by the things he tells stories about – the land, the animals, the flowers, the butterflies…Now we can see where Jai gets his story telling flair from. Eva McGovern says it perfectly in the catalogue: Jai is a natural bard…For many years, his painting practice has embraced subjects located within popular culture, poetry, mysticism, Malay culture, social commentary and his own autobiography.

 Jai with The Storyteller

It was a very well attended opening with many faces – old and new. Jai’s immediate family were there, friends, fellow artists, collectors, students…all present to show him their support. I saw on Facebook that there were some who even dropped in earlier that day as they could not make it at the appointed time…this is the kind of support and friends this storyteller has!

Jai, Hanim & Pakha

Chemat & Nizam

Ee Jong & Arlene Ngan

Eva, January & Raymond

Faiz & Ilyas

Fats, Zariati, Salwah & Khadijah

Liza Ho, Adrian Ong & Marvin Chan

Marcus, Gustavo & Antoine

Muhendaran & Sri

Othman & Pakha

Siew Ying, Tara & Steve
 Kow, Jai & Ai Lei

 Bingkai Berangkai will be on at VWFA Kuala Lumpur until 3 November 2012
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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.