4 artworks from acclaimed Malaysian modern artist Ahmad Fuad Osman’s solo exhibition At The Finish Of The Day Even Artwork Is Not Vital on the Nationwide Artwork Gallery (NAG) in Kuala Lumpur have been taken down.
In an open letter launched on Feb 10, Fuad has requested that your entire exhibition, spanning three a long time of his profession, be closed instantly.
“All of the works that the curator and I proposed to exhibit on the NAG had been submitted for the museum’s consideration and suggestions. The gallery agreed to all of the works put in. So the choice by NAG to take down quite a few my works is profoundly troubling, ” says Fuad, 50, in his open letter, launched on his Instagram account.
Fuad obtained a written discover from the NAG dated Jan 21, informing him that the choice to take down these 4 works was made following a criticism from a board member.
All 4 works had been formally taken down on Feb 4, with clean areas left on the partitions set up space on the exhibition.
The 4 artworks are as follows: An untitled two-part 2002 work that includes “Lacking” poster work of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, an LED panel; a UV print on mirror titled Dreaming Of Being A Anyone Afraid Of Being A No one (2019), an oil portray Imitating The Mountain (2004) and an set up work Mak Bapak Borek, Anak Cucu Cicit Pun Rintik (2016-2018).
“The Nationwide Artwork Gallery despatched me a letter (Jan 21) formally informing me that they wished to take away the 4 works as a result of a NAG board member complained about them. Previous to the letter, that they had contacted me on the telephone by way of whatsApp (messages) on Dec 24 about their intentions. On Jan 23, NAG had briefly eliminated two of the 4 works from show, earlier than returning them to the exhibition on Jan 24,” elaborates Fuad.
“This act of censorship – and there’s no different phrase for it – is bigoted, unjustified and an abuse of institutional energy. The NAG claims that it’s censoring my work as a result of a board member complained that sure works are obscene and too political. However this is unnecessary. Up to date artwork in Malaysia has all the time challenged conventions and it has persistently made political commentary, ” he provides.
At The Finish Of The Day Even Artwork Is Not Vital, curated by Singaporean visitor curator Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, opened in October final yr, and was initially slated to shut on Jan 31. Nonetheless, it has been prolonged to Feb 29.
The artist commented that there’s “loads of difficult materials” all through the exhibition and wonders why these works had been singled out.
Fuad hopes to see additional public dialogue surrounding this NAG take-down of his works.
“It ought to enter into the general public document. There have to be accountability and transparency. Causes have to be defined, defended in public, and subjected to scrutiny and debate.
“The difficulty is bigger than only a few artworks or a single exhibition, or one specific artist’s observe. The difficulty is within the integrity of the humanities in Malaysia, and the method by which it’s served by public establishments,” says Fuad.
This act of heavy-handed censorship at NAG occurs months forward of the second version of the Kuala Lumpur Biennale, a large-scale worldwide artwork occasion scheduled to kick off in September.
The Nationwide Artwork Gallery has but to reply to Fuad’s open letter.