Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jawapan Galeri Petronas

From: Tengku Nasariah Bt Tengku Syed Ibrahim (CEO/PETROSAINS)

Subject: RE: GALERI PETRONAS PRESENTS MERDEKA SHOW 2008 - WALLSCAPES

Dear Encik Hasnee,

Thank you for your email to GALERI PETRONAS, and giving us a chance to respond.

We would like to address your questions and concerns:

1." Why on earth that Petronas Gallery commisioned artists from CHINA origin to depict our own MERDEKA?"

2. "Why must we pay foreign artists instead of local artists? Are the local artits not good enough ? Now is a struggle time for EVERYONE especially LOCAL ARTISTS !This is not a healthy situation if Gallery Petronas is really want to help Art Development in Malaysia. You are spending public money ! No wonder that art development in other countries are better than us because we have this kind of attitude. "KERA DI HUTAN DI SUSU KAN ANAK DI RUMAH KELAPARAN."

3. What is the LOGIC behind commisioning these foreign artists? What do they know about Malaysia? Only from the photos that you gave them...
As an artist I always beleive that Gallery Petronas is the Craddle of Malaysian Art.But this prove me wrong. Gallery Petronas is just a organization that only know how to spend PUBLIC MONEY.

Firstly, the artwork was commissioned by an independent Malaysian art collector, Datuk Yap Lim Sen and not GALERI PETRONAS. It is not a depiction of Merdeka per se, but an example of history painting with Malaysian content by internationally renowned history painters who have won major international awards. The artwork was graciously lent to us for public display by Datuk Yap.

GALERI PETRONAS' main objective is to help support the Malaysian art movement by providing a versatile space for local and international artists to display their works. In doing so, international exhibitions and public programmes (such as forums and dialogues with the artists) provide much needed exposure for both our local artists and audiences to international art practices which will in turn help develop the Malaysian art scene further.

I trust that having answered Question 1, all the questions following are no longer relevant.

“As an artist I always believe that Gallery Petronas is the Craddle of Malaysian Art. But this prove me wrong. Gallery Petronas is just a organization that only know how to spend PUBLIC MONEY.”

I would like to correct the misunderstanding that is prevalent in this statement. Please be informed that GALERI PETRONAS is funded by PETRONAS which is a multi-national corporation which generates its own profits from operations locally and, even more, internationally. As such we operate from corporate funding, not ‘public money’ (such as taxes which form the basis of government funding). Like any other responsible Corporate citizen, apart from maximizing profits for the owner (government)& paying corporate taxes ( government), we do invest in Corporate Social Investment ( CSI) for the good of the community and its future – and this art gallery is one way to give to the nation something PETRONAS believes to be valuable for the holistic development of society. In terms of national objectives, ours is only a complementary role to the National Art Gallery, which is the government agency in charge of developing Malaysian Art & artists. This certainly does not stop us from doing what we can to contribute meaningfully to the Malaysian art scene.

I am glad that we have this opportunity to answer your questions - thank you for bringing them to our attention. However in the future, we would appreciate it very much if the factual clarification is sought first before copying others. We hope that your concerns have been laid to rest and that you will be able to enjoy the exhibition better.

We look forward to receiving you at our next shows at GALERI PETRONAS.

Selamat Berpuasa !

Thank you and warm regards,
T. Nasariah
Director, GALERI PETRONAS

Subject: Re: GALERI PETRONAS PRESENTS MERDEKA SHOW 2008 - WALLSCAPES

Hai, thank you for the invitation. I just want to raise few questions to Petronas Gallery Management regarding the SPECIALLY COMMISIONED WALLSCAPES by 3 CHINA ARTISTS.

1. Why on earth that Petronas Gallery commisioned artists from CHINA origin to depict our own MERDEKA?

2. Why must we pay foreign artists instead of local artists? Are the local artits not good enough ? Now is a struggle time for EVERYONE especially LOCAL ARTISTS !This is not a healthy situation if Gallery Petronas is really want to help Art Development in Malaysia. You are spending public money ! No wonder that art development in other countries are better than us because we have this kind of attitude. "KERA DI HUTAN DI SUSU KAN ANAK DI RUMAH KELAPARAN."

3.What is the LOGIC behind commisioning these foreign artists? What do they know about Malaysia ? Only from the photos that you gave them...

As an artist I always beleive that Gallery Petronas is the Craddle of Malaysian Art.But this prove me wrong. Gallery Petronas is just a organization that only know how to spend PUBLIC MONEY.


HASNEE A.RAHMAN

1 comment:

((( ))) said...

another response, in response to GP's response, to an email that was in response to the merdeka mural as a response (fuh!!)... taken in its entirety from www.myarthost.com run by latif maulan (register to gain access). except for the nickname ARTFAN, i have no idea who the original writer is... :

Merdeka Mural and the performance of national
Wednesday, September 17th 2008, 3:18 AM

" In terms of national objectives, ours is only a complementary role to the National Art Gallery, which is the government agency in charge of developing Malaysian Art & artists. "

The complains brought about seem to reflect a broader resentment to the national organisations for failing in thier functions to serve the national art movement. PG's attempt to dissolve themselves from this role by quoting the function of the NAG is not fair. The NAG is a govt body run by civil servants whereas PG is free to pick the best and are able to pay for the best but in reality they have fallen even furthur back from the NAG in serving their role. This is reflected in the very boring shows done by PG and also in the terrible collection of art they have put together todate. The current batch of shows put together by PG have no head nor tail and do not reflect the growing strength of Malaysian contemporary art. The private sector has taken on the role of spear heading the entire contemporary art movement whereas PG is still stuck in showing works of artists that are well past their prime or of young artists that they deem worthy to promote, the criterion of which only they themselves seem to understand.

"GALERI PETRONAS' main objective is to help support the Malaysian art movement by providing a versatile space for local and international artists to display their works. In doing so, international exhibitions and public programmes (such as forums and dialogues with the artists) provide much needed exposure for both our local artists and audiences to international art practices which will in turn help develop the Malaysian art scene further. "

The above paragraph by T. Nasariah puts things in perspective. It all sounds very good and grand but the reality is T. Nasraiah herself has limited knowledge of the arts and is dependent on the curator of the day and she is obliged to support their actions without knowledge of the facts. The resentment being shown should signal to her that all is not well, in spite of the noble sounding goals that she espouses. The subjectiveness of art requires people of knowledge and integrity and not just people who are well meaning. This is the problem in all our organisations. The staff reports to management, who lack know how, but are obliged to support whatever unfolds, inorder to protect the organisations.

While not wanting to discourage T. Nasariah from her efforts, i feel she is better served to have a wider range of contacts in the art circles if she genuinely wishes to fulfill the noble goals she espouses. It is not an easy job but it is ridiculous to have national or quasi national organisations that are total failures in this field. I can only hope that while she is right in assessing the mistakes of Hasnee A. Rahman, that she will take stock of the frustrations welling up in the art circles of the poor performance of PG in fulfilling the very goals that she herself has spelt out.