Malaysia Contemporary Art Issues: Art as Idea-a View from Jalaini Abu Hassan

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Malaysia Contemporary Art

Art as Idea
A view from Jalaini Abu Hassan


In this discussion, we will discuss on how the art act as an idea in Malaysia contemporary art scoop and Jalaini Abu Hassan is one of the Malaysia leading contemporary artist will be the panel for this session. Jai has been known for his aggressive and rough, energetic painting and Malay identical can always be found in his paintings.

We also look at Jai's Beijing case study which lead him to produce Halal (2007) to get an idea of how the environment and new surrounding also can be idea to produce artwork. However, the discussion also bring us towards his earlier painting and how the painting process done to get such a mark or why did he leave his painting look unfinished to show that actually it is complete.

There will be area of interest and analysis of artwork which some of his work been view by different perspective and interesting critics which shown that reading a painting could be very subjective. It depends on the background of audience and how they accept the idea of artist also important on how the view would be made.

Issue Discussed

Issue that we discussed here is how idea can be form through experience, new surrounding, and social current issues. Through experience which is for Jai he has been into two discipline of art practise which is in Slade School of Art has known for strict, orthodox and conservative style of producing artwork whereas when he’s in Pratt, New York Jai has been more towards new fresh and very abstract in forming an artwork. Towards both different experiences, comes a unique presentation of artwork from Jai which is structured, very fond of block lettering yet very abstract in idea, movement and flow of drawing, leaving marks as a process of intelectual. Jai also believe that an artist inspiration or subject matter is always all about yourself or “personal”.

New surrounding is about Beijing case study which Jai been isolated and feel very alienated because of failure to mix around wth surrounding and the Chinese character make him uneasy with not knowing what the character mean/say. Then he realizes of how strong of the wording halal in our community then comes the idea to produce the “Halal” painting. How strong the word is been highlighted by using capital block letters that printed on left of the painting. This also include some of the social issues in the drawing which is how closeness of Malay and halal word but only for food source and how the handling of product. Hence comes to social, we still blinded fold, unaware of that our society need treatment badly.

Focus of Discussion

In this forum we discussed of the source and how idea is form. From Jai’s view, idea comes from experience, environment, current issues and social background of the artist. In this case, trip to Beijing is the ideal example of how new experience and surrounding effect the artist impression and uplifting a new idea from the current experience. Jai encounter of new knowledge when in Beijing encourage him to produce “Halal” artwork which contain the feeling of alienated and uneasyness feeling of the Chinese character lead him to use the character itself in the drawing.

One of the main ideas is halal word or term has been a very strong influence in our daily life even we unaware about it. In Beijing case study, it shown that the unfamiliar to the Chinese character has been a very strong reason not to believe of the source of food either it is halal or not. Although the Chinese characther only show the name of meat part, still he doubt about it because of the alienated feeling of that character. This show that how strong the wording halal for Muslim society in Malaysia and how the misunderstood can caused just because there isn’t Arabic or Romanic alphabet to stated halal.

Jai also feel that wording is very important to act as open channel for communication purpose and from the letter itself it...
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