An exhibition of artists’ field-notes from encounters with various faith communities across the Northeastern peninsular state straddling the Malaysia-Thai border. 8 artists and 2 curators went on field-trip to the largely rural Kelantan to engage in a circumstance whereby religious conviction pervades everyday life under the watchful moral investment of the state’s long ruling Islamic political party. The project also wanted to reflect on the complex and dynamic coexistence of minority faith groups practicing various religions, cultural rituals, spiritual devotion, and cosmological notions in a place synonymous with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia. The artists were tasked to investigate two larger questions on their journey: The first being the religious conviction and comfort of locals under the long rule of the state’s Islamic party — and the second, to reflect on the complexities and dynamics of minority faith groups interacting with this long rule. During the first week, the project participants were taken on a structured itinerary to meet with community leaders at Thai-Buddhist temples, a Temiar village, Rumah SAHABAT shelter for persons living with HIV, a Hindu Temple, a Gurdwara, Guan Yin temple, Malaysia’s oldest surviving mosque and the Kelantan state mosque. They also witnessed a Main Puteri healing ritual theatre and the Temiar’s Sewang healing dance ritual performed in a community setting. The second week was self-directed by the 5 artists who continued roving along the Malaysia-Thai border. This exhibition presents works that expose the artist’s individual modes of apprehending spirituality and religion through its attendant issues.
MalayMail: Three Artists Explore Faith in Kelantan
The Star: The State of Faith in Kelantan
Malaysian Insider: Finding the right language to faith
Time Out: Go Now: ‘Khabar dan Angin’ at Balai Seni Visual Negara
Artists: Kat Rahmat, Poodien, KG Krishnan, William Sim, Engku Iman, Yoke Tan, Nadia J. Mahfix and Alex Lee.
Curators: Ong Jo-lene and Yana Rizal
Venue: National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Organiser: Projek Dialog, a platform that aims to promote open and critical dialogue on religion, culture and sociopolitics in Malaysia.