The Indepedence Project at Galeri Petronas

I’ve been to Galeri Petronas several times now and I really like it. It is many times better than the disappointing Muzium Negara. The current exhibition at the gallery is especially not something to be missed. Really. The Independence Project, as the exhibition is known as, explores how a number of artists from Malaysia and Australia define the idea of independence.

The exhibition does not consist merely of framed papers with colors on it. There are collages that play tricks on the eyes as well as paintings that force one to think of the story behind it. Otherwise, the paintings would look like a meaningless arrangement of brush strokes. One really has to look beyond the obvious to understand the theme of an artist’s product.

My favorite is a slideshow that traces the history of this country with slight hint of irreverence. The irreverence is especially hilarious when it is associated with past leaders of this country. For instance, in the famed black-and-white photograph that has Tunku Abdul Rahman raising his hand in the middle of Merdeka Stadium to announce to the world of Malayan independence, an unfamiliar colored dude is sitting right beside one of the sultans. Another is a black-and-white photo of Tunku Abdul Rahman inspecting pieces marble and bronze after Tugu Negara was blown apart by communist forces. The same colored dude meanwhile is sweeping debris from the explosion off the floor. Though I can’t remember any other example, I do remember that I laughed incessantly due to the comedic value of the slideshow. That particular artist is a pure genious.

The exhibition has been going on since December and will end in February. Do check it out, especially the slideshow.

If you aren’t a fan of contemporary art, there is a smaller gallery inside Galeri Petronas that is carrying beautiful photographs of Alhambra and its surrounding. But hey, those photos could be savored over the internet, unlike The Independence Project.

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