‘Progredi’ Exhibition Review

“The fact that I myself, at the moment of painting, do not understand my own pictures, does not mean that these pictures have no meaning; on the contrary, their meaning is so profound, complex, coherent, and involuntary that it escapes the most simple analysis of logical intuition.” – Salvador Dali

The exhibition, “Progredi” at Intermark, Kuala Lumpur, consists of artworks from 18 emerging artists: Amar Shahid, Amir Amin, Amirul Roslan, Azrul Azrai Mohyi, Ezwa Hasin, Fatah Taib, Fitriah Roslan, Izzat Hamdan, Kamal Sazali, Khairul Ehsani Sapari, Megat Zaim Zharif, M.N. Hafiz Hamzah, Nazrul Hamzah, Nizar Sulaiman, Putra Nazri, Shaliza Juanna Alfred, Syukur Rani and Zarina Abdullah. The exhibition is also a fundraising effort for the Malaysian Deaf Association.

A first timer to the corridors of the gallery outside the hall would never cease to, at least, freeze for a few minutes to look at the paintings. Denoting the outstanding and jazzy creativity of the current Malaysian creative sphere, the artworks span from Jawigraphy and abstract to pop surrealism and appropriation.

Its probably not too far-fetched to finally agree that the common denominator of the painting lineup is sociopolitical and environmental. The coverage is much more universal, reflecting the increasingly interdependence of the above elements around the world. Another possible contributing factor is the rebellious nature of the current youths in confronting the chaotic events globally.

Nizar Sulaiman’s “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” is outdistanced to me. Its distinguished delivery of what I would interpret as the various journeys in human destruction: capitalism and its “descendants”. Greed is the root of all the human evils resulting in an array of unsustainable natural resources application and destructive consequences, both to the present and future generations.

Inclination towards social and feminist activism is reflected in Azrol Azrai Mohyi’s painting of Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo, a Mexican symbol of social activism, has clearly been a significant symbol for the artist in the fight for social justice. It is also a depiction of the need to look beyond geopolitical borders in order to renew, revitalize and strengthen local socioeconomic transformations.

That brings me to Fitriah Roslan’s “Skulls I” and “Skulls II” depicting, well, what else, skulls: “bandaged” in numerous forms and colors. The wounded diversity of human perspectives and cultures? Hypocrisy to the bone? Go figure out yourself. The realist branchilds of Zarina Abdullah – Legend Series (Dali 2) and Legend Series (Dali and Eight White Mice) – struck me quite instantly. Some of the images portrayed in the exhibition may be seen as personal yet possessing a far-reached impact.

Kamal Sazali’s “Hingga Akhir Nanti” is a clever presentation of the artist’s hope for what his ending in terms of principle would be at the end of his life. Faith, in its strongest term, is known to affect humanity in unexpected ways, normally either harmony or disaster. Nevertheless, one may see this core belief having very tangible and crucial impact on the sequence of international events especially what’s presently occurring in the Middle East.

Shaliza Juanna Alfred’s surrealist “Let’s Roll” series is definitely nostalgic, at least to me, reminding me the game I used to play to kill time with my childhood friends. Could the rolled dice represent the complexity of the much more globalized world with too many possibilities, opportunities, and crises? Or, is it about the unavoidable and increasingly risk-taking nature of living in a globalized world?

The paintings, according to the organizer, has been selling like hot cakes. That’s good to know. So, come over and refresh your minds with these awesome and creative paintings.

Thanks and congratulations to Artcube and the artists for a wonderful and, most importantly, mind-provoking array of artworks.


Art exhibition reviews is one of Artists in Schools’ efforts in promoting arts in Malaysia. More importantly, we believe that it helps in the process of developing a more creative Malaysian society in the long run and to ensure the sustainability of art culture in the country.

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