The Malay Traditional Wood Carving Style
“I’ve disposed or destroyed at least more the 3/4 what is considered as ‘damaged’ work, only to realise that creative collaboration can elevate our craft work’s value”, Mastercarver Adiguru Muhaimin Hasbollah shared his most difficult moment in wood carving journey during devastating flood in 2014.
After meeting and learning about the craft during our craft & design workshop, En Azrizal and I showed interest in some of these so called ‘damaged’ works. We felt that there was a strong story to be told, perhaps reflecting the microcosm of the arts and craft industry itself, slowly fading away going against time.
The intent of the project is to celebrate the resilient spirit of craft, injecting new creative energy into the work and to share it with the world.
During the creative process, artist Sharina Shahin, Adiguru Muhaimin and I had plenty brainstorm session over how should we begin to reintroduce this familiar architectural features over several weeks. From plentiful sketches, photo collages, ceramic and plaster of paris experimentations, we had to explore the basic qualities of what makes these ‘damaged’ works beautiful.
Through it, we found themes of elevation, unity, memory and even playfulness to be narrated into these ‘damaged’ works which seemingly made sense and felt wholesome to describe these new found creative energies.
With the assistance of Mr. Pital, owner of the private gallery, Rumah Lukis, BAHKOLEKTION’s two week exhibition we held received rave reviews from the arts and creative communities. Also, with the grace of MTIB and CWSB, the event was extended to another week so as to allow more government officials to experience the project itself.
“The BAHKOLEKTION was Rumah Lukis’s first exhibition under the cultural and heritage series.
As a ‘ process-based gallery ‘, the act of salvaging and reinterpretation of the woodcarving pieces by the curatorial team have shown that creative process does not necessarily stop after the final output.
This creative rescue mission between a prominent traditional woodcarver and contemporary designers was a multi-generational learning process in both techniques and ideas…”
Mr Pital of Rumah Lukis
The Langkawi Style Wood Carving
Langkawi doesn’t have a wood carving history nor culture”, as Azizul, Anuar and I chat over breakfast on the day I left the island.
Our conversations also revolved around politics, work-related relationships and family. Working as woodcarvers, I couldn’t stop but to think the challenges they go through woking in the arts & craft industry.
Trained in Lombok, Bali, the work of both craftsman I recently got acquainted to through Mr. Ary from CWSB has a very impressive portfolio and sense of artistry. Using timber sourced responsibly, they meticulously inspect the timber before transporting them back to respective workshops.
Azizul, in his work, explores motives from the natural surrounding, such as floral, branches, whirlpool, fire, while Anuar’s work expresses similar elements using lines in basic shapes of round, square and rectangle.
Developing their own their distinct style for 26 years, their collections reflects the spirit of the Langkawi Island, that is serene, calm and laid back. Perhaps that is why their works are considered synonymous to holiday resorts and spas elegant art deco pieces.