05 Jul 2011

Rumah Air Panas (RAP)

Established in 1997, Rumah Air Panas (RAP) is an independent art space run by art enthusiasts. It is both an artist studio and also a venue, which has featured numerous exhibitions, artist slides presentation and dialogue sessions. It aims to explore and coalesce visual arts and other cultural practices through collaboration in exhibition and project; documentation and exchange of ideas in discussion. The members of RAP support an independent, aware and concerted artistic practice in engaging the artistic community and the art public.

RAP, is essentially a collective of multi-disciplinary artists. There are about 15 official members, including painters, performance artists, installation artists, art instructors and writers. All members share duties and responsibilities in running and promoting their activities/events equally.

Today Rumah Air Panas, located on a small plot of open land surrounded by construction activities, has grown to be a venue for artistic experimentation, discussions and exhibition. A few experimental music gigs were even held there.

The idea has been proposed from early discussions between the founders: photographer Phuah Chin Kok, visual artist Liew Kungyu (a graphic-designer-turned-artist who is known internationally for his sardonic kitschy humour) and a handful of friends. They felt there was a lack of alternative spaces in Malaysia that nurtures a healthy perspective of art. They want a space that will place importance on the individual’s need for intimate expression and exploration. A space to be free from the conventions, expectations and dictations of market forces.

Local visual and conceptual artist Tengku Sabri Ibrahim recently concluded an exhibition entitled Inside: Continual Lessons. Jointly sponsored by Pustaka Cipta and Yayasan Kesenian Perak, the modest exhibition is a gentle and honest reflection of the artist. Here, he contemplates upon the act of creation as a means to understanding and embracing his creator. Observations of nature are laid down in text and the drawings are pasted on painted gray, empty walls around the rooms. They serve as stark signposts, inviting all to 'meditate in awe' within the bosom of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. This unique exhibition serves to reinforce the fact that alternative spaces must be provided to accommodate works of such nature.

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