July - December 2022
Exploring Art Through Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s Collection
Titled Time Together: Exploring Art Through Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s Collection, the inaugural virtual art exhibition features 57 artworks by 29 senior, established and young Malaysian artists, including Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal, Datuk Ibrahim Hussein, Khalil Ibrahim, Latiff Mohidin, Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah, Yusof Ghani, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Anurendra Jegadeva, Kow Leong Kiang, Yee I-Lann, Fauzul Yusri, Liew Kung Yu, Haffendi Anuar and more.
The exhibition captures the stories of Malaysia through the journey of time, from the meaningful representations of the selected artworks to the life journeys of the artists themselves. These Malaysian narratives are exemplified in such artworks by Latiff Mohidin (1960); M Zain Idris (1970); Ahmad Khalid Yusof (1980); Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng (1991); and Kok Yew Puah (1993), to name but a few.
The journey began as some of these senior artists were granted scholarships to receive tertiary education abroad in the 1950s, and upon their return they applied their knowledge as educators in the newly independent Malaya.
A number of these artists were advocates for the advancement of Malaysian art; some of whom had either established or participated in art associations, became integral figures in art institutions and galleries, and became ambassadors and promoters of Malaysian art on the global stage.
In recent years, Khazanah Nasional has also initiated capacity-building programmes to increase the skills of young Malaysian talents in selected disciplines through the Khazanah Residency Programme. The programme includes the Khazanah Press Fellowship, Khazanah Art Residency, Khazanah Design Residency and Khazanah Public Service Residency.
Khazanah’s collection of contemporary art includes works by Haffendi Anuar – a Cohort 2 participant of the Khazanah Art Residency programme in 2018. Since completing the programme, Haffendi Anuar has pursued his art fulltime and is currently based in London, the UK – an exemplary success story that contributes to the positive impact of talent enrichment.
Curated by Malaysian art consultant Sarah Abu Bakar and designed by Malaysian architecture firm Fei Architect, and photographed by Wesley Wong of Giclee Art Sdn Bhd, the Khazanah Virtual Art Gallery consists of five thematic virtual reality spaces – the Lobby; Traditional House; Peranakan; Pavilion and Glass Room.
The concept of the design is anchored in the theme of national identity to complement the original curatorial approach of celebrating Malaysia.
Fei Architect founder and principal, Ar. Lam Shen Fei, who took part in the Khazanah Design Residency 2019, describes the design purpose as a “…relook at architecture, interiors and landscape to depict the architectural styles of Malaysia, while taking into account that the online gallery will be accessed by foreigners, academicians, art enthusiasts and students. Such styles are crucial to creating a narrative that casts an impression during the virtual tour. This intention subverts the backdrop of ubiquitous white plain space of Western art galleries.”
The music accompaniment is an orchestral piece by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) titled Lenggang Mak Limah, composed by Abu Kassim and arranged by Ahmad Muriz Che Rose. The song was originally recorded by Indonesian singer, Bing Slamet and featured in the 1960s LP Semalam di Malaysia, a duet album with Malaysia’s Tan Sri P. Ramlee.
This project is also in memory of a key team member, Mohd Suhaimi Ahmad an independent art advisor & collector who sadly passed away in November 2021.