Merdeka 50: A Celebration of Malaysian Art

02 Aug 2007 – 16 Sep 2007

Perdana Leadership Foundation & Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia present Merdeka 50: A Celebration of Malaysia Art in commemoration of Malaysia’s 50th year of independence.

Visual art in Malaysia received recognition from the establishment following independence. The National Art Gallery was established one year later, in 1958, with the acquisition of art works as part of the cultural heritage in contemporary visual form.

The 67 artists who have participated in this exhibition range widely in their experience of independence. Some were born well before the birth of Merdeka. These individuals were able to savour the atmosphere of passion that arose from the call for independence. There was the utter confidence of nationalists, the doubting pessimists, the cynics and the fence-sitters. A number of artists participated in events celebrating this auspicious occasion.

For younger artists, the influences have been different. There has been an ever-growing torrent of information technology and nationalistic symbolism. At the same time there is a probing into mist-laden ethnic roots and myth-laden regional roots. The exhibition curator has divided the artists into four groups: ‘Flag Bearers’, ‘Current Chroniclers’, ‘Oblique Turners’ and ‘Memory Enlisters’. Each of these has taken a different approach in expressing a view on independence. Some are more direct than others; all have something to say in this historic year. Above all else, they show the diversity that has always been the true spirit of Malaysia.

*Publication for the exhibition is available at the Museum Shop, please click here for more information.