Friday, December 8, 2017

Tong Tana @ KL Biennale

I recently participated in KL Biennale with the work called Tong Tana. This work is in collaboration with sound artist Kamal Sabran who did the sound for Tong Tana. KL Biennale is taken place at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur from 1 Nov 2017 - 31 March 2018.

Below is the description about the artwork:-

Tong Tana

Within the theme, five categorization applies socio-cultural practices in which I will approach the environmental shifts of deforestation and urbanisation of the Malaysian Indigenous people The Orang Asli and The Penan.

Tong Tana means ’in the forest’. It is a word taken from the Penan, a group of nomadic  people that live in the rainforest in Sarawak Borneo. The Penan are some of the last people remaining as hunters and gatherers, and they are noted for their practice of 'molong' which means ’never taking more than necessary’.

This practice is quite the opposite from the system in the world most people are living in today. The dominating world economic is generated by consumerism, blamed for growing inequality and wasteful use of resources.

As an interdisciplinary artist that have migrated to Denmark and lived here for the past 15 years. My work has been shaped and inspired by my new environment and cultural conditions which explores themes such as identity, migration, movement and displacement. The expression of longing is also shaped by the feeling of belonging and not-belonging to two different countries, Malaysia and Denmark.

The indigenous people have been the subject of debate in Malaysia and the international human rights arena. The rights of several indigenous groups, such as the Penan, have been neglected as they continue struggle for land rights. They  have a strong affinity to the land they live on and their environment is essential for their social and cultural conditions and survival as a cultural entity. The Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia continue to suffer day to day violations of their social, economic and cultural rights although Court decisions have acknowledged, that the orang asli have a form of native title to customary land.
At the same time the environmental shift due to deforestation, industrial logging, large-scale commercial oil palm plantations , road construction and large dams  which have  contributed to  forest degradation. These activities have created hardship to the indigenous people as a result of diminished resources.

This artwork for the Kuala Lumpur Biennale reflects a longing towards the country where I was born and grew up. The installation attempts to capture a sense of memory in relation to history, diminishing cultures and a new way of life. Tong Tana examines conflict, displacement, marginalization and urban progress with regards to the indigenous people of Malaysia through site visits to homes of the indigenous people in Malaysia and through the mass media.

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