Friday, January 15, 2010

Finding his identity through works of art

"WHAT or where is my true home?"

it is a question commonly faced by most people who have relocated abroad.

It is also what constantly nags Malaysian artist Amir Zainorin, and one that found form of expression in his works of art.

Based in Copenhagen for the past seven years, Amir, 36, is constantly asked about his identity.

Delving deep into history and culture of his past, he came up with fifteen pieces of contemporary artwork that are being showcased in his first solo London exhibition at the Brick Lane Gallery in East London.

The exhibition entitled Mad(e) in Malaysia is being showcased by R A Fine Arts of Malaysia, and will run until March 30.

The exhibition was officially launched last night by the Malaysian Ambassador to Ireland Raja Nazrin Raja Aznam and attended by more than 60 people.

"The longer I stay away, the more time I spent looking into the question of identity and my roots," said Amir whose career spanned from advertising, banking, public relations, hotel and catering to driving school.

The diverse mix of jobs which saw him in different countries, such as Malaysia, America, Holland, Sweden and Denmark, enriched his experience and drove him further to satisfy his curiosity about his past.

"The question of identity is important while researching for this exhibition.

"I went back to study the history of the country from the era of colonisation to the modern-day Malaysia and beyond.

Amir's works reflect power relations, clash of traditions and modernity, East and West as he attempts to explore how the mass media shapes our identity and sense of belonging.

Speaking at the launch, Ambassador Raja Nazrin applauded Malaysia's pop artist as someone who had successfully blended the best of Malaysia and his experience abroad by producing works which are more universally accepted, rather than just Malaysian in nature.

"Amir's work is accessible on a global plane," he said.

One particularly poignant piece is entitled The Judge - Tunku portraying the first prime minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman as a judge, with batik designs in the background and a prominent display of the national flower.

Director of R A Fine Arts Raja Ahmad Aminullah said he was encouraged by the positive response received at the launch.

"No doubt the artist was born in Malaysia but his works are easily recognisable by citizens of the world."

The guest curator for the exhibition is Badrolhisham Mohamed Tahir.

A father of two, Amir did his apprenticeship with Malaysian pop artist Ahmad Azhari and has held exhibitions in Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, Stockholm, Holland and New York

                                                  the judge - tunku, digital print on canvas, 2008

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