Artists coming together for Langkawi Art Biennale 2016

Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 is bringing 33 countries, 128 artists, 216+ artwork together towards making Langkawi an international art destination.

Today, is another day of surprises! Even as the “Exploration” painters and sculptors are intently working on the final touches of their masterpieces, more artists are still coming in. Meeting them is such a privilege.

Towards the evening, our Patron, YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar came to meet and greet some of them.


Heidi Fosli/Norway, Shahril Azwan Salleh/Malaysia, Freddy Sofian/Indonesia, Abdul Mansoor Ibrahim/Malaysia, and Jik Villanueva, Philippines


Heidi Fosli/Norway, Pandora Apostoloska Sazdovska and Saso Sazdovski/Macedonia, Lawrence Dinesh Wilkes/New South Wales, Australia and Helen Crawford/Adelaide, Australia


Helen/Australia, Saso/Macedonia and Dinesh/Australia exchanging notes about their sculpting instruments

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Saso/Macedonia, Dinesh/Australia and Jik/Philippines: a meeting of sculptors

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Indonesia meets Norway: Freddy exchanging pleasantries with Heidi

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Light moments with Mansoor/Malaysia, Pandora/Macedonia, Freddy/Indonesia and Charly/Reunion Island, France


Heidi Fosli/Norway, Fe Madrid Pepito/Philippines, me, Celso Pepito/Philippines and Charly Lesquelin/Reunion Island, France on the way to The Cottage


Mickael Boyer and Charly Lesquelin/Reunion Island, France, LAB2016 Patron YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar, Jean-Daniel Orian/Mauritius, Hairul Azizi Amat Tokimin/LAB2016 Coordinator and Donald Eaton/Reunion Island, France

LAB 2016 Sculptors in Focus: Mauritius Team

For the past days, I have been excitedly following up the progress of the many sculptural works being done for the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 at the marble factory and in Zul Idris’ place. Like the rest of the sculptors, the Mauritius group were all powdered with marble dust, working under the temporary shelter they set up as they took turns hewing, cutting and polishing the marble pieces. They also did the same work on the log: cleaning it, shaping and molding it to what it is now.

Jean Lewis Dick, a teacher of sculpture in Ecole Sculpture de Bambous, Mauritius worked with his students Jean-Daniel Orian, Nicolas Mariette, Ryan Azenor and the only female in the group, Baliram Ourmila to come up with these masterpieces.


Title: Observation
Message: Let’s explore the underwater world

The first time I asked the Mauritius group what they are going to produce for their Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 sculpture project, Jean Lewis Dick told me, “We will allow the materials to tell us what form it will take“.

It took them some time of exploration in order to get acquainted with Langkawi Island before they got together and brainstormed what visuals they are going to portray. They came up with these marble pieces showing a figure enjoying the sea. The relaxed smiling figure seemed to show appreciation for the seascape represented by the fish.

On the other hand,the tree that was once dirtied and was just lying around in the place now stands up, proud with the images carved on it. One sees an eagle, the famous symbol of Langkawi swooping down from the top. The image is approriately centered by some buffalos in the middle of the trunk. One also sees some leaves adorning the figure and the images of ducks below with their necks and bills pointed upward, all representing Langkawi’s rich biodiversity.


Title: Let the tree open its heart to you;
Message: The harmony between nature and animals under the theme Exploration.

These sculptures are just some of the artwork we are going to see and experience for the forthcoming Langkawi Art Biennale 2016. We will be seeing more art coming from various parts of the world in the coming days.

Initial Installation works at LAB2016: Freddie Sofian, Indonesia

In this installation work, Freddy Sofian of Indonesia chose this simple chair to express a very significant message.

The chair, he says, symbolize a position, a status. Some people want to take this “seat” that signifies status or position and would do anything to get such, even to the point of hurting others. For him, such “greed” for position should have no place. As an artist, he does not like such aspiration for power, position and status. Thus, that rope that he tied around it would prevent anyone to take that seat of position or power.

It is worth noting that even the simplest artifact could carry so many messages to be expressed.

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Zul Idris, the former owner of this chair says “Every nation has sat on that chair.”

This is just one of the many art installations we will be seeing at Langkawi Art Biennale. Come, join us!

This time, I have to help  Freddy carry his chair.
This time, I have to help Freddy carry his chair.
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Paintings of the LAB2016 “EXPLORATION” Artists

In my earlier blogs, I introduced our group of “Exploration” artists (Celso Pepito, Fe Madrid Pepito from the Philippines, Charly Lesquelin from France and Freddy Sofian from Indonesia) tasked to do paintings related to their Malaysia exploration. As of today, husband and wife Celso Pepito and Fe Madrid Pepito have finished their first sets of paintings for the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016.

Celso Pepito’s painting shows the Langkawi Art Biennale’s patron YM Raja Ikram Raja Omar showing a thumbs up sign of encouragement to the people transferring the house, in a traditional custom of helping one another, called “Bayanihan” in the Philippines and known as the “Gotong-Royong” in Malaysia.

“When Cooperation is a must” ; 26.5″ X 39″; Acrylic on Canvas.

Celso Pepito speaks of his painting, ” For a great task to be done extraordinarily, being cooperative is not enough. One has to be selfless and not impose his own will but spouse a true spirit of unity and self-giving, thereby attaining the better good for many.”

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Jewel of Langkawi; Acrylic on Canvas; 20″ X 34″

Fe Madrid’s painting shows Durian Perangin Falls, one of the falls that the couple visited two years ago, during the last Langkawi Art Biennale 2014. She has entitled this piece as “Jewel of Langkawi” believing that Langkawi has a lot to offer to tourists in terms of places to explore. This particular scenery shows rushing water coming from the falls. Beautiful sceneries such as this can be likened to precious jewels one has to seek, like they did when they walked a long distance just to see this place.

With much excitement, we look forward to more paintings from the “Exploration” artists in the coming days before the opening of Langkawi Art Biennale 2016.

Sculptor in Focus: Angelico (Jik) Villanueva, Philippines

This will be the first in a series of blogs for the sculptors who have finished their works for the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016.

Today we take a look at Angelico “Jik” Villanueva and the pieces of sculptures he has produced for this event.

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Photo by Celso Pepito

Angelico Villanueva also known as Jik to friends, came from a clan of artists. He attended Fine Arts classes from the University of the Philippines. He started with painting but later veered towards sculpture, as he liked this challenge of working with three dimension materials, softening the look of stiff materials like wood, marble, brass, etc.

He had exhibited his works in various international locations such as New York, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hongkong, Singapore, among many others. He has also participated in international competitions and has garnered some awards.

One of his colleagues said of the way he worked for these LAB sculptural projects; “He worked like a madman. He finished his work ahead of all of us.” Jik finished three sculptural pieces in three days. Here are the pieces he is exhibiting for our Langkawi Art Biennale this year, with my description and the significant, interpretive thoughts he has written for each one:

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Fly High! These are two marble sculptures where one observes the dominant lines denoting the figure of wings.
As transformation in our surroundings is inevitable, we are exposed to constant environmental changes. But one must be always resilient to courageously face any situation. One’s capabilities are significant and may stimulate a positive influence. One must always grab every opportunity to discover. So go on and explore, soar to greater heights. Aim to always FLY HIGH!

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Emerged This piece of driftwood stands tall, again showing semblance to wings that soar.
For purpose of development, we are in continuous search and exploration. Everyone aims for progress to become prominent. We must then be bold to achieve a better environment for all. So come forth, manifest yourself and help with the best of your abilities.

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Voyage The body of the whale is made of Philippine jade, brass flippers positioned on top of a piece of Philippine coral.
Whales tend to migrate and explore, always in continuous voyage to find better feeding and breeding grounds. Like humans, they are in continuous search for food and habitat agreeable to them. Though the largest fish in the entire ocean, they are harmless and unafraid of swimmers. Whales are fondly known as “The Gentle Giants”.

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Exploration The human figure is made of brass and the boat is carved from hard wood with Philippine jade used as the base.
This artwork depicts a journey. A continuous travel for enrichment with all challenges to encounter. But with that also comes joy and triumph. Life is a celebration!

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These are Jik’s finished sculptures.

We look forward to more surprises coming from other sculptors in the coming days.

The show must go on…LAB2016 sculptors at work

The days have been so full of productive activities for the sculptors..We’re beginning to see some things coming out of their hard labors.

Look at this wood piece! This used to be a dirty stump of log lying there, but with the “touch” of these guys from Mauritius, some marvels are coming up!
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Mauritius guys show what they saw in Langkawi: a figure resting and enjoying Langkawi sceneries.
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These “fish” pieces will be integrated with their masterpiece.
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Another surprise coming out…
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Maxine using her full force, mind and body working together to bring out the beauty of the piece she’s working on.
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Laxman creating his “quill” composition, working on the details of the feather features of his sculptural piece.
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Raju continues to enhance his “mountain” piece.
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Of course, sculptors need to rest: lunch break.
Those slabs of marbles are great places to rest their tired bodies.
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It’s “under the tree” meditation and relaxing for Raju.
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(Photos courtesy of Maxine Xie Xian Xin and other sculptors)

LAB2016 Sculptors and Driftwoods, Dead wood, scraps, etc

November 10

There’s just so many activities going on around here. The LAB2016 sculptors work together doing their projects. There’s so much energy given to each thoughtfully crafted pieces.

Syahril Azwan Salleh or Adi volunteered to drive for LAB2016 sculptors. I wondered if this driving task for the LAB participants is taking time away from his art projects. He smiled and said, “It’s okay. Am happy being able to serve.”

On the way, as he brought me to our new location, he shared with me some thoughts to ponder.

I asked him about those driftwoods he gathered and he said: “Working on these driftwoods is giving them a second chance to another way of life”.

“They have given us shelter, They have brought us to places. They have given us a lot of things. But somewhere along the line, somethings happen to these woods and they end up drifting. But we, as sculptors help bring them up to another level of usefulness. And once again, through the process and efforts we sculptors do to them, such fallen wood rises up and stands tall again as it once did.”

With Syahril Azwan Salleh, peeping through the driftwoods he gathered.
With Syahril Azwan Salleh, peeping through the driftwoods he gathered.
Helen Crawford washing this fiber material for her art piece
Helen Crawford washing this fiber material for her art piece
Lawrence Dinesh Wilkes focused on his piece
Lawrence Dinesh Wilkes focused on his piece
Ciezan Othman and Abdul Mansoor Ibrahim combine their efforts
Ciezan Othman and Abdul Mansoor Ibrahim combine their efforts
Anup Kumar Gupta in deep concentration
Anup Kumar Gupta in deep concentration
Jean Lewis Dick and his group from Mauritius continue their work on this log.
Jean Lewis Dick and his group from Mauritius continue their work on this log.
I wonder what will come out of this pile of driftwoods
I wonder what will come out of this pile of driftwoods

LAB2016 Sculptors’ Exploration Continues

November 9

Today, as I explored with these sculptors, I discovered that sculpting is not an easy job. Through makeshift shelter, heat of the sun( with the occasional rain), the deafening, roaring sound of the sculpting instruments, the marble dust blowing everywhere, the need for greater muscle strength as one wrestles with the marble slab and the instrument, and the creativity to make masterpieces,I can say these sculptors are doing a great job. I salute and give honor to these dedicated Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 sculptors..

Laxman and Raju seeking the right tools for their projects
Laxman and Raju seeking the right tools for their marble projects

Today, a group of sculptors went to the forest to continue with their marble projects.

On our way to the forest.  The green trees are so refreshing.
On our way to the forest. The green trees are so refreshing.
Our venue for the sculptors' production. We call it "The Marble Place".
Our venue for the sculptors’ production. We call it “The Marble Place”.

GEARING UP FOR WORK

Maxine comes fully geared, "battle-ready" for the task.
Maxine comes fully geared, “battle-ready” for the task.
And fully equipped with the tools, too, like a doctor ready for a major surgery operation.
And fully equipped with the tools, too, like a doctor ready for a major surgery operation.
Laxman securing the marble base of his project.
Laxman securing the marble base of his project.
Laxman and Raju waiting for their marbles to be cut through this machine.
Laxman and Raju waiting for their marbles to be cut through this machine.
Lewis; cutting and hewing gives off that marble dust that was blown by the wind all over the place.
Lewis’ cutting and hewing gives off that marble dust that was blown by the wind all over the place. Take note of his whitened arms! the marble dust gave all of us free powder.
Baliram did her share of the job.
Baliram did her share of the job.
Maxine, still looking good with her half-finished piece.
Maxine, still looking good with her half-finished piece.
Anup working on the details of this piece.
Anup working on the details of this piece.
Laxman concentrating on his "quill" project.
Laxman concentrating on his “quill” project.
Raju fully focused on his "mountain" project.
Raju fully focused on his “mountain” project.
The sculptors' makeshift shelter.  The heat of the sun did not stop them. At some point though, it rained and they have to rest for awhile.
The sculptors’ makeshift shelter. The heat of the sun did not stop them. At some point though, it rained and they have to rest for awhile.

Celso Pepito has posted Jiks Villanueva’s output in FB with these words: “Jik is more at ease with using bronze, copper and wood in his creativity as sculptor. Allowing himself to go with the LAB2016 theme, he gladly embraced EXPLORATION to hopefully discover other medium that might add to his creative transformation. For this artwork, he challenges himself using marble.”

Jiks Villanueva's work
Jiks Villanueva’s art piece, photo courtesy of Celso Pepito
photo courtesy of Maxine Xie Xian Xin
photo courtesy of Maxine Xie Xian Xin
Time together for lunch break.
Time together for lunch break.

POSTNOTE:

My discovery for the day: this egg container when lighted, gives off smoke that drives mosquitos away,

Now we’re beginning to see the formerly shapeless marble slabs are now slowly taking shape.

And everybody is happy, specially when two more sculptors from Nepal arrived today.