Prof Jai (Jailani Abu Hassan) dari Batu Kurau
NEW YORK, May 1 2011 (Bernama) — With the theme “Bangsawan Kebangsaan” (National Operetta), Jailani Abu Hassan, a contemporary artist from Malaysia is back to this city in an effort to showcase his solo work which he called “Cerita Kita” to the Big Apple audience.
The two-week exhibition, which kicked off on Thursday night, took place at Tyler Rollins Fine Art (TRFA) gallery in Chelsea, the famous area and also home to most of the art galleries and museums in Manhattan island.
Jailani, 47, returned to the city with 12 art works, comprising a new body of mixed media works on canvas and paper for his first US solo exhibition in over ten years.
His first solo in New York was in 2000.
Speaking to Bernama during the launch of the exhibition, he said: “I want to showcase my works on culture which is an integral part of me. Yes, I am also here (New York) in a quest for knowledge but my works are about our (my) story.”
“I was born in a small village, and all of a sudden there was London, New York. I think it helped me to look at myself again.
“I was no longer a small kid from the kampong. I had bigger responsibilities as a teacher too. I could see myself as absorbing or borrowing or adopting certain foreign elements, digesting, re-creating and sharing.
“Both things have become the core ingredient in most of my work – the global and international, and this little kampung Malay retro-culture,” he said.
Jailani is also an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Art and Design at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
On preparations for the exhibition, he said TRFA contacted him Kuala Lumpur late last year to tell him that they were interested in showcasing his works in Ney York.
It took him four months to get read with all costs borne by TRFA.
Jailani received his masters degree from the Slade School of Fine Arts in London and a Masters of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in New York.
It was while living in New York City that he first began to paint with bitumen, which has since become one of his principal media.
Since his first solo show in London in 1987, his work has appeared in almost sixty exhibitions in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.
He remains fascinated by the power of iconic imagery, whether traditional or contemporary, and restlessly pushes the boundaries of drawing and painting.
Meanwhile, Tyler Rollins, the owner of TRFA, said: “Jailani’s work is infused with references to traditional Malay life and culture while being actively engaged in contemporary Malaysia’s rapidly changing society.
“My gallery’s primary focus is on contemporary art from Southeast Asia, and I generally feature solo exhibitions by well established artists with strong international reputations.
“During my visits to Malaysia over the past few years, I have of course seen a lot of Jailani’s work and was always very impressed with his depth and range.
“Malaysia has such a dynamic and diverse contemporary art scene, which is still little known in the United States, and I think Jailani’s exhibition will give American audiences a rare opportunity for an in-depth viewing of the work of one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists,” he said.