'Bayu', Installation view / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
'Bayu', an exhibition of Islamic contemporary art is held in conjunction with the international forum on Contemporary Islamic Art, Design and Architecture (CIADA) 2015. The exhibition, on view until October 31, 2015, showcases contemporary artworks from 11 student alumni artists from the NTU School of Art, Design and Media (Singapore). Emerging generations of artists whose practices are embedded in, or respond to this context, seek ways of discovering new dimensions in art-making, and that of self-actualization.
L-R: Javad Khajavi, Yazid Safaruan, Inkten Sufina, Izziyana Suhaimi, Syairah Malek, Aisyah Mariah, Faizah Omar and Noor Iskandar / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
'Bayu', which means 'wind' in Malay, engages with the metaphor of this undulating force of nature, both gentle and powerful. The wind transits through spaces, and breathes between pauses. The wind is both steadfast and surrendering, sometimes as a whisper of suggestion, and other times in a hurricane of gestures. Like the wind, the exhibition is an attempt to weave artistic journeys through the discourse and established conventions in Islamic art and design. While some of them may be intimate and personal expressions, they reveal critical nuances that expand into larger schemes of inquiry, and investigation, as artists seeks to translate their attitudes and agencies through art.
Co-curated by Javad Khajavi and Noor Iskandar, 'Bayu' shows how artists deal with the complexities and dilemmas of cultural historical identity, as they negotiate between subjectivity as well as universality. Rather than to resolve them, the exhibition offers a diverse range of the artists’ positions, presenting open-ended dialogues that broaden our understanding of their worlds.
Noor Iskandar explains, "With the conversations we had the week before during the International Conference of Islamic Art, Design and Architecture 2015 in Singapore too, I feel 'Bayu' comes at such an opportune time where the discourse on Islamic Art is right on the fore. 'Bayu' embodies these voices and journeys stemming from this geography, what is deemed usually as peripheral to the Islamic contemporaries from the Middle East and more monumental territories. 'Bayu' offers this Great Perhaps, this plea to be heard, offers a suggestion that faith and art is multi-dimensional and always non linear, and voices within the Faith radiates from all fronts. We yearned for 'Bayu' to gaze into the geography of hearts, bordering both on locality and also emotionality. Lastly, we proposed 'Bayu' to be a beginning of a beautiful conversation, gathering these stray voices from Singapore and this region especially, to make heard their artistic consciousness and deliberations to the grander sphere."
'Bayu', Installation view / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
ENGKU NUR HAFISZAH BINTE ENGKU ISMAIL
Nur Hafiszah is a freelance props-master whose works have been featured in the television channels Suria, Okto and Channel U. She was also the wardrobe stylist for the 2014 feature film, Banting which was produced by Papahan Films. When Nur Hafiszah is not busy with filming projects, she enjoys exploring other mediums such as video and painting.
Engku Hafiszah, Re(Cut), 2014, Two channel video / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Syairah is known for her intricate works of patterns, engaging with paint, ink, pencil and printmaking. All her original works are hand-drawn or hand-painted as she believes that the intimate connection between the artwork and the artist is the most essential ingredient in creating a meaningful piece.
Syairah Malek, Embrace, 2015, Textile Installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
A visitor looking at Syairah's work / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Artist-researcher Javad Khajavi’s practice extends traditional Islamic aesthetics into the discourse of new media art. Trained in animation and engineering, he is particularly interested in ways motion may transform the aesthetics and the language of Islamic art. His works draw upon varied sources such as Islamic calligraphy, tiling, Persian carpets and Persian poetry.
Javad Khajavi, The conference of the Birds, 2015, Projection on canvas / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Izziyana Suhaimi’s work explores the evidence of the hand and time. For the artist, embroidery is a meditative gesture, where each stitch represents a moment passed, or the artist’s thoughts, culminating in the final work standing as a manifestation of time. The notion of duality is central in her embroidered works, which are acts of creation, as well as ones that cut and unravel.
Izziyana Suhaimi, Waiting for the Northwesterly Winds, 2015, Textile installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Mala Hayati is a fine art photographer who engages with photography as a medium to explore new opportunities of expression. When she is not making images, Mala enjoys the simple things in life. She feels that enjoying a tub of ice-cream and reading a Haruki Murakami book will definitely make the world a better place.
Mala Hayati, Almoust Goodbye, 2015, Photo installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
For Noor Iskandar, art is a spiritual investigation that traverses the domains of poetry, emotions and even crises, as he explores the subjectivities of beauty and truth in contemporary society. The award-winning, multidisciplinary artist has exhibited at the Ion Art Gallery (2014), Affordable Art Fair (2013), and beyond Singapore. In 2014, he was awarded the Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Still Photography.
Noor Iskandar, Peace Be Upon The Hearts in Disarray, 2012, Photo Installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Noor Iskandar, Paradie, 2014, Textile Installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
MUHAMMAD YAZID SAFURUAN
The works of Yazid Sufuruan stem from Islamic cultural influences and principles. To the artist, just as grid systems create order in a graphic layout, religion is a tool that creates order in life, and it is through the existence of order that he finds beauty. Safuruan is a web specialist by profession who enjoys spending his free time with his family.
Muhammad Yazid Safaruan, Muhasebah-Introspect Utopia, 2012, Print / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Muhammad Yazid Safaruan, Muhasebah-Introspect Utopia, Installation view / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
NUR FAIZAH BTE OMAR
Social awareness is central in Nur Faizah’s practice, which seeks to raise critical issues, as well as possible solutions. Her works tend to present alternative views, such that opposing or differing perspectives can be received neutrally, and art becomes a platform for dialogue.
Nur Faizah, The Hijab Dialogie, 2013, Textile Installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Nur Faizah explaining her installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Aisyah Mariah works in film, photography and writing. Home and nostalgia are recurring themes in her practice which is also an exploration of her culture and faith. The NTU undergraduate majoring in Digital Filmmaking lives by the following quote from her favorite filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad. "If your intentions are pure, if you apply your craft to observe humanity, and ultimately God himself, most often something powerful will suffice."
Aisyah Mariah, Aleph, 2015, Wall installation / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Inkten Sufina is a Singapore-based visual artist who works in graphic design. Also a graffiti artist, her drawings respond to the surrounding environment, using everyday experiences as a starting point. Inkten’s works deal with both the complexity of the digital medium, as well as conceptual modes of painting. She has been commissioned by Mercedes-Benz, MightyJaxx and Converse, and has exhibited at the urban art event Meeting of Styles.
Inkten Sufina, The Transitory, 201, Spray Paint and Acrylic on Canvas / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Visitors admiring Sufina's work / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
Aﬁq Omar is an analogue motion graphics artist. Using the digital camera as a tool, he creates landscapes and topographical textures within the macro world, and works with live mediums to create extraordinary visuals that are beyond conventional perceptions of the world.
Afiq Omar, Ferroux, 2013, Video / Courtesy of Jeremy Chua Photography
The international forum on Contemporary Islamic Art, Design and Architecture (CIADA) 2015 is a joint conference by the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU, Qatar).