Young talent drawn to exhibition by Malay artist association

Miss Nuryn Qistina, 17, with her body paintings. She was inspired by a music video to juxtapose an angel against a fallen one has lost his wings. Mr Muhammad Amirul Azman, 23, with his two entries. The buildings in the photographs express simple plea
Mr Nur Iman, 27, with his art pieces at Kontemporari 2017. The paintings use balloons to represent time and emotion. ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Miss Nuryn Qistina, 17, with her body paintings. She was inspired by a music video to juxtapose an angel against a fallen one has lost his wings. Mr Muhammad Amirul Azman, 23, with his two entries. The buildings in the photographs express simple plea
Miss Nuryn Qistina, 17, with her body paintings. She was inspired by a music video to juxtapose an angel against a fallen one has lost his wings.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Miss Nuryn Qistina, 17, with her body paintings. She was inspired by a music video to juxtapose an angel against a fallen one has lost his wings. Mr Muhammad Amirul Azman, 23, with his two entries. The buildings in the photographs express simple plea
Mr Muhammad Amirul Azman, 23, with his two entries. The buildings in the photographs express simple pleasures in life, he says.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG

Sometimes it's good to be just plain, says Mr Muhammad Amirul Azman, a 23-year-old artist who tries to depict this feeling in his artwork, currently on display in Ion Orchard.

The works of art are part of Kontemporari 2017, an exhibition curated by Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (Apad), an association of Malay artists.

"There is so much chaos in the world that sometimes when we try and achieve happiness, we get stuck somewhere in between, but that is okay," Mr Muhammad Amirul said, referring to his photograph of a pale pink building corner.

"Everyone starts off plain and simple like this building," he said.

Artists like him, who are not members of Apad, have never been featured in the group's exhibitions.

Now, in its 47th year, the association has for the first time opened participation to all Malay artists, and not just its members.

This has led to works by younger artists such as Miss Nuryn Qistina, 17, being featured. She focuses on body painting, using make-up, face paint and latex material.

"I couldn't find a canvas to paint on once, so I decided to paint on my face and it was nice to see a masterpiece smile back at me in the mirror," she said.

Mr Kamal Dollah, president of Apad, contributed a batik painting piece to the exhibition.

He said: "We are an old association and our membership number is declining. We have lost touch with younger artists, but our role is not to be a club but to be for Malay artists."

Most of Apad's members are over 50 years old. Mr Kamal said 20 new artists, many of whom are young talents, have been drawn to the exhibition since it was opened to non-members.

"The young artists will modernise Apad and help change the identity of the organisation itself," said Mr Muhammad Amirul.

There are 52 participants and 71 works of art on display.

•The exhibition runs from 10am to 10pm daily at Ion Art Gallery until New Year's Day and admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 24, 2017, with the headline 'Young talent drawn to exhibition by Malay artist association'. Print Edition | Subscribe