KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Media OutReach - 14 December 2021 - Art exhibition "I Know You're Somewhere So Far" comprising of 63 works of art completed in four years by one of Malaysia's leading young abstract artists, Mulaika Nordin, was officially launched by Nori Abdullah Badawi at KEN Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.
In her second solo exhibition, Mulaika explores concepts of disconnect and isolation from the lens of an empathic teenage artist as she navigated a constantly changing environment culminating in the period of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The young artist, who turns 18 in the middle of the show, paid homage to her teenage years as she enters adulthood and begins to venture into the real world.
Despite the show's overarching dark themes, it acts as an ode and a closure to Mulaika's childhood, creating an optimistic nod towards the experiences from this chapter of her life.
Nori Abdullah Badawi said, "I hope everyone takes something away from the show; give yourselves permission to feel. Maybe ask yourself what would these situations look like for you if you could paint? What is 'Semangat' to you? What about darkness in this pandemic? Take the time to feel – after all it is all of Mulaika's feelings that have brought all of this to life. Now it's your turn."
"As an art lover, I've been so fortunate to have attended many shows; we have such captivating, stunning and heart-stirring works right here in Malaysia, a country continuing (though sometimes only just about), but nevertheless continuing, to embrace its DNA of diversity. From the roots of its people all the way to the mix of just about anything you can think of today, our differences have brought difficulty, but more importantly richness, beauty, and growth," stated Nori, when speaking at the launch.
A striking component of this exhibition is how Mulaika depicts the light and dark side of human nature and modern-day society in Asia. The works provide an insight into not only the young artists' thoughts on the matter at hand but is the output of the collective consciousness that rings true on a societal level especially as COVID-19 has impacted how society deals with issues.
Mulaika said, "I Know You're Somewhere So Far is a mirror. I made these works as a way to express myself but also as an observation of the world around me."
There has been a dramatic increase of the prevalence of mental health and psychosocial problems globally since the COVID-19 pandemic started, due to many reasons including lockdowns causing physical disconnect and isolation, on top of the emotional strains caused by financial and economic problems. This especially paints the current socio-economic landscape of Asia.
The youth today, remains highly connected over social media, which juxtaposes the way the pandemic is dealt with – to physically isolate people as a shield from the virus – that naturally creates a disconnect and the unfortunate consequence of suicide. This highlights the importance of conversations, awareness and resolutions surrounding this topic, especially to remove the stigma and taboo around mental health and suicide in many Asian societies.
Mulaika's artwork expresses issues of mental health, with works such as 'Every 40 Seconds', which is a commentary on suicide rates; and 'Homosapiens' and 'Slave of the 21st Century' that touches on the realities of the society as we know it today.
"I Know You're Somewhere So Far" exhibition is hosted by the Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF) and runs until 19 December 2021 at the KEN Gallery in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free. For more information visit www.mulaika.com