Laxman Bhujel’s Langkawi quill

Laxman Bhujel of Nepal has chosen the feather of an eagle to be used as a quill to write the word Langkawi in his sculptural piece. He conceptualized this piece from the word Langkawi: helang meaning eagle and kawi, red stone used as a chalk to mark goods. Combining these two elements, and using minimalist approach to his subject, he says he likes eagles for their sharp eyes and elegant movements.

15039631_1186713271408373_2024172703100621944_o
Laxman’s contribution to making Langkawi an international art destination.

Look at the process Laxman Bhujel of Nepal went through to produce his Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 masterpiece.


Laxman carefully examines instruments he will be using in his sculptural project.


Laxman meticulously shapes the “feather” portion of his creation. This is Langkawi marble he is working on, like the other marble pieces the sculptors used for their art pieces.


Laxman takes another piece to be used as the base for his quill.


It’s slowly taking shape. Sculpting is not an easy job. From conceptualization to actually hewing out the sculptures, it takes brains, muscle strength and might to get the images into amazing figures.

15235684_1346153388769688_3553440699815206380_o

Laxman Bhujel is a faculty member and Vice Principal of Sirjana College of Fine Arts in Kathmandu, Nepal. He conceptualized and served as the art coordinator of first international sculpture symposium 2012, Harnamadi. He is one of the participants in this year’s Unity International Sculpture Symposium held in Nepal.

Raju Pithakote’s White Drops and his Exploration Journey

Being with the LAB2016 Exploration sculptors and seeing them work on their pieces from start to finish was an exciting adventure.

One of these international artists is Raju Pithakote, a multi-talented artist who paints, sculpts, sings and plays various musical instruments. As a sculptor, he had been exhibiting his works in Nepal and abroad since 1993. He had been awarded the Fine Arts Award in 2012 and was given the 2007 Grand Award in the First National Sculpture Exhibition (ARAMBHA) in Kathmandu, Nepal.


At the hardware shop, Raju Pithakote, sculptor from Nepal carefully chooses the instruments he is going to use.


Working under the heat of the sun and with all the marble dust covering his whole body, Raju keeps on aspiring towards seeing his masterpiece done.

White Drops
It brings so much joy to see one’s work finished at last!

Raju speaks of his sculptural piece, which he entitled WHITE DROPS: “White drops are melting and flowing through the mountains, terrains and finally the depth of the sea. I have brought the white drops from the heart of Nepal, the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest. Let’s keep our mind, society, towns, country and the whole country clean.”

Journey

To another piece which he entitled JOURNEY, Raju says: “The world is beautiful. Let’s move ahead with positive thoughts to destination beyond our imagination. We will have a successful journey. Let’s become happy and make everyone happy to make this beautiful world a better place to live in. This is part of my exploration…”

Raju and I beside his Journey sculpture during LAB2016 Inauguration Night

I share the joy of seeing the fruit of these Exploration sculptors’ labors, and Raju’s outputs are just some of them.

Each piece has a beautiful story waiting to be told.

LAB 2016 Inauguration: From Migration to Exploration


Photo courtesy of Prof. Dato Ryza Yaacob

Yang Mulia Engku Raja Omar Ikram Bin Raja Abdullah welcomed distinguished guests during the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 Inauguration night. He delivered his opening speech in behalf of Yayasan Tunku Kassim, a non-profit organization founded by the royal family member Kedah, led by Yang Teramat Mulia Dr Tunku Monsor Ibni Almarhom Tunku Kassim.

Yayasan Tunku Kassim or YTK, according to YM Engku Raja “was established with the noble intention of contributing to the arts community focusing on various segments, among others conservation and restoration of local art pieces, relics and artefacts, providing support to the local artists through art development programme and getting involved in art educational projects at the national level.” He likewise acknowledged LAB2016 as one of the first initiatives taken to realize the vision, mission and objectives of YTK.

Likewise, he acknowledged the organizing committee who have contributed actively and voluntarily in the program, mentioning Mr. Liew Kian Yap, the Founder of Langkawi Art Biennale and Mr. Hairul Azizi Amat Tokimin, Coordinator of LAB 2016.

Here are excerpts from his speech:
“Once again, Langkawi island is hosting this remarkable gathering of international artists and art enthusiasts from all around the world after two years since the LAB inception in 2014. In this regard, I would like to congratulate Yayasan Tunku Kassim, Yayasan Wiba Prima, Artmalaysia, Yayasan Hasanah, LADA, and other agencies for the successful organisation of LAB2016.

Art is adored either for its beauty or to capture a mood or feeling or just an object of enjoyment for its own sake. The great debate on art, what it is and why it’s so great has been going on for centuries but there’s no right or wrong answers since art as most believe is all about ideas. The value of art is again another popular debate among artists, collectors and enthusiasts. Be it the work of a madman like Van Gogh, or the length of time the work took to complete, or the years of study, or the genius mind that translated his idea through art on canvass, the disputes are endless. Despite the differences, art never fails to capture the heart of its makers and admirers who embrace the same dream that art will never cease to exist, hence the reason we are all here tonight.

The Langkawi Art Biennale marked its presence in this beautiful island in 2014 with its “Migration” theme participated by 250 artists from 38 countries. The first event organized by ArtMalaysia had seen overwhelming response from the artists and the audience alike.

The journey continues this year in 2016 and as an extension of the previous theme, in which the program amplifies the tune to “Exploration” theme by exposing participating artists to new discoveries of various areas Langkawi has to offer – from cultures and religion to local lifestyle, nature and even culinary adventure. All these elements combined, leads to a deeper connotation that is to be more environmentally conscious and to raise environmental awareness. I must say we are fortunate to be here to witness the expression of the artists throughout their Langkawi “Exploration” experience in their canvasses, sculptures and installation works.

The presence of significant number of artists, both local and international, as well as art enthusiasts at LAB2016, is clearly an indication that Langkawi Art Biennale has begun to establish itself as an upcoming premier international venue for art exhibition and art tourism in this Land of Eagle. Your presence throughout the week is indeed the lifeblood of this event and we sincerely thank you for that.

Finally, we are grateful that all of you are here tonight so we just hope that the work of arts you will be seeing and contemplating along the hallway and the exhibition room will capture your emotions in such a way that they manifest the consciousness of the artists relative to the “Exploration” theme this year. Let the art pieces speak to you whether they’re sending you pleasant, blissful, gloomy or sad messages through those frames and sculptures.”

Highlights: Artists/Performers Langkawi Art Biennale2016 Appreciation Night

This will be one in a series of articles featuring Langkawi Art Biennale2016 Inauguration Night.

Some participating LAB2016 artists performed and showcased their diverse talents during the Inauguration Night held last November 18 at the Langkawi International Convention Center.

Charly Lesquelin of Reunion, France sang the solemn “You Raised Me Up”, while Raju Pithakote rendered an upbeat Nepalese song “Firiri, Baby.”

Another artist who performed was Mazlan Noor from Malaysia who recited a poem. Due to technical errors, the translation was not placed on screen; here is the full translation of the poem, which was translated by Mazlan Noor himself.

if…what…then…will

if i can see the wind…the typhoon must be enormous
if i am in the rainbow…i will non stop singing

if i can hold the light…then how do I measure it
if i fly in the sky…what is there at the outer space

what is there inside the earth ?…then it must be very mysterious
what are there in the deep ocean ? then what is the north pole ?
and what is there in the south pole ?

if i am not good in calculating it
then I will lost in my journey

what is there at Mount Kinabalu ?..the land below the wind
and what is there at Mount Tahan…the Malaysian backbone of Titiwangsa
the amazing panorama that make me want to paint and paint

what is the forest… if i am in the middle of the jungle
the magnificient habitat of the flora and fauna
if I am in the Amazon…what will i see see in the trees
what can i find inside the leaves

if i am at the peak of Everest…i will be amazed with the Himalayan
the gigantic range the rooftop of the world
fantastic horizon created by the mighty God

if i am travelling in the huge Desert of Sahara
will i survive ? every steps that I move…I never stop phrasing God’s name
many things are unthinkable…many things are questionable

if i am at the peak of Pyramid…I like to see what is inside
the ancient secret of the monument..the mysterious building
with full of questioning and inquiring
to be pondered from period to period
generation to generation

if i am at the Agra…the Taj Mahal is so captivating
the symbol of true love…till now people are talking

when I was at Borobudor…seeing the sculptured stones is so amazing
carving of the rocks…portraying religious ways of a religion

what is the Great Wall of China…the meaning and intention of the king
to protect the people from the enemies..so that the people live in harmony

what is Nabawi’s Mosque ? if i am at Medinah
the tomb of the last prophet…the prophet name is Muhammad
and if I am at Mecca…who am I infront of the KA’ABA ?
the black cube building…to perform praying for one destiny
centralising the muslims to worship the GOD

Oh GOD
i do many mistakes…i have so much questions
i have so many sins….show me the wright way
the path to YOUR way

These are just among the many entertaining numbers presented during the LAB2016 Inauguration night.

Helen Crawford’s 1000 Beautiful Cuts

In response to the “Exploration” theme of the 2016 Langkawi Art Biennale, Helen Crawford from Adelaide, Australia created this interesting assemblage/installation.

Exploring Langkawi Island with these sculptors gave me the opportunity to observe and mingle with them. Aside from the items I saw Helen gathering from the marble factory and the scrap yard, she literally explored Langkawi Island by foot, bike, and van to gather these Items she found; objects which, according to her had spoken to her about the concepts she was exploring. The artist in her saw symbolism to each item, and their relationship within the work.

Helen describes her installation with the same passion she puts into her creation :
“The prow of the boat form rests on a block of resin, it glistens like amber or precious jewels, and with the plastic shipping rope forms a sense of ocean and water through which the boat moves. The scales have been placed to measure the weight and cost of our journey. They hold another representation of “boat” and create a visual sense of direction and forward movement. This actual rib from a local boat is however placed “sideways”, and is followed by an old oil barrel, beautifully rusted and textured. Atop we see sand and 99 shards of cut marble, representing the precious and sacred earth of Langkawi (with its 99 islands). Some marble shards are wrapped with sheep’s wool wafting softly up and away.”

15137681_1186713314741702_8061127507415648063_o

15129070_1186713084741725_5560447585532045349_o

“Australian wool demonstrates my experience of interconnection and concerns for our global future and responsibilities to influence our future,” Helen further adds.

The marble piece Helen got from the forest “marble” place now stands prominently in the assemblage. She describes it in full: “At the rear, the marble form is created from a discarded burial marker, or tombstone. The boat moves away from this “fish” towards a plasticised ocean.”

What is the message she wanted to impart through this work? Helen articulately expounded:
“The work questions the capacity of our cultures, traditions and religions to respond adequately to the current state of global pollution. It questions who will be able to complete mourning if the balance is tipped too far and the weight of our desire for “more” becomes impossible for the natural world to bear.”

Helen Crawford’s 1000 Beautiful Cuts is one of the featured installations/assemblages displayed at the Langkawi International Convention Center as a part of Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 celebration.

“Draw me. I draw you!”

This had been the theme for Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 Exploration artists as they take time to rest, and even while eating. They have fun drawing each others’ faces whenever they have the time to do so.

This night before the grand opening tomorrow, Maxine Xiai Xin Xin, Celso Pepito and Zul Idris drew each other’s faces. Special thanks to Fe Madrid Pepito for taking these photos.

15032235_1198007786911851_4602879508346950265_n

13532833_1198007606911869_1051023101620852462_n

A taste of Kenduri Kindara for LAB 2016 Artists

Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 artists were given a treat today: a Malaysian brand of village feast : Kenduri Kindara. YM Raja Ikmar Raja Omar and his wife Madam Noriza Jamaludin along with Prof. Raja Dato’ Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob and Yayasan Hasanah’s Vice President Zainariah Johari graced the feast .

“Masak-masak” cooking was done by the village folks. Yatie, one of the ladies told me the names of some food: Daging (meat) soup, bubur kacang (green bean porridge) with jagung (vegetable soup), sambal belacan (shrimp paste).

Over some dancing of the ladies, and a special number by Raju Pithakote, LAB 2016 artists enjoyed their lunch.


YM Raja Ikmar Raja Omar and Yayasan Hasanah’s Vice President Zainariah Johari


With YM Raja Ikmar Raja Omar and his wife Madam Noriza Jamaludin and Prof. Raja Dato’ Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob


Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 artists

Highlights of Today’s Art Talk, Langkawi Art Biennale 2016

“Rome was not built in one day,” Mr. Liew Kian Yap, Langkawi Art Biennale Founder stated this in his message to international artists gathered at today’s Art Talk held at Langkawi International Convention Center. He referred to the many sacrifices that have been done to make this meeting of artists from all over the world a reality.

Gathering 128 artists from 33 countries is not a simple task as it entailed strong cooperation among teamplayers who are involved to make this vision of making Langkawi an international art tourism destination. Today we witnessed the gathering not only of the international artists, but also of the event’s sponsors, art enthusiasts and other key players to see this dream become a reality.

15129037_10211010839777261_5028359083651955500_o
Representatives from Reunion Island, Mauritius and the Philippines joined Mr. Liew Kian Yap, LAB Founder, Ms. Zainariah Johari of Yayasan Hasanah, a foundation of Khazanah Nasional and Prof Raja Dato’ Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob in this Art Talk session.


Prof Raja Dato’ Zahabuddin Raja Yaacob with LAB Patron YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar

\

15128980_10211010777615707_1704540129470397217_o

Today’s gathering of Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 international artists showed the beginnings of seeing the vision fulfilled.

LAB2016 Artists’ Night: A Celebration of Life

Everybody aims to make this Langkawi Art Biennale a successful event. To kick off the week’s forthcoming activities, Langkawi artists gathered together for a dinner fellowship, and celebrated through food, singing and dancing.

Mr. Sadao Ishida, a long-time friend of Mr.Liew Kian Yap and a supporter of the Langkawi Art Biennale celebrated his 90th birthday with artists from all over the world sharing the joy of long life for him.

Langkawi Art Biennale Founder, Mr. Liew Kian Yap and LAB2016 Patron YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar graced the evening along with some special guests. The highlight of the evening was the community dancing of all international LAB 2016 participants.

It's great to see Mr. Liew Kian Yap, Langkawi Art Biennale Founder and YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar, LAB2016 Patron together, towards making Langkawi an international art tourism destination.
It’s great to see Mr. Liew Kian Yap, Langkawi Art Biennale Founder and YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar, LAB2016 Patron together, towards making Langkawi an international art tourism destination.

Celebrating Mr. Sadao Ishida's 90th birthday with the Langkawi Art Biennale participants
Celebrating Mr. Sadao Ishida’s 90th birthday with the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 participants