Lakar Wanita Exhibition Review

A brilliant piece of art has many qualities and one of them is that it makes you think. It provokes you, positively. Better still, it makes you want to do something. I call that a sincere piece of art because when it touches your heart, it is heart-made. That is for me beauty.

Looking at the drawings at Lakar Wanita exhibition at the National Art Gallery – an exhibition of Malaysian women artists – I am unusually fascinated, not because they are beautiful in that conventional sense but because the artists have brought me to different ways of seeing and understanding things. Elliza Hashim, for example, made me stood for a long time with what I term as “series of paintings of emotions” or “characters”. These are very subtle expressions of feelings or human qualities (titling each painting) which I would normally find difficult to draw. But, she did it in a series of four paintings. I love them. In fact, I tried to guess what is the title of the third and fourth artwork.

“My “Heritage” Rindu” is a classic one by Rozlina Khairi. It is so trademark of her: prudently drawn outstanding subjects with soft and peaceful expression of a woman, this time with a cat. Can we recreate such mind-soothing ambience in Malaysia where everything seems to be moving so fast and pretentious? Was she so confident of the disappearance of such atmosphere that she needed to document it?

Women in kebaya in a series of three paintings by Sherin Ng Lay Hwa (Sherin Ng Loveart)is so nostalgic: it is not common now but still evergreen and fantastic. The faceless women yet active-looking may give you slight rush of blood but its therapeutic. It moves.

And, I want to jump into the group of girls in Sammi Ng Sam Moey’s Batikfly Garden!

I left these carefully-chosen thought-provoking paintings by 13 Malaysian women artists thinking that I may want to return. The ambience extra-soothing and I may want to drink coffee while watching them.