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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What is Art?

Congratulations to the world famous British architect, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, for his appointment as the new trouble ridden Royal Academy of Arts announced today. The position at the 1768 founded establishment has always been held by artists. Yet of late, it has been filled with turmoil surrounding administrative matters. Sir Grimshaw’s first task is then to bridge the gap between the artists and an administration that is perceived with much mistrust. All the best.

Last week, the £25,000 Turner Prize, one of the most important and prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe, went to Jeremy Deller. This prize, started in 1984 is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art. However, Mr Deller was once upon a time, in fact, advised not to take arts for his CGSE at school.

Speaking about modern or contemporary arts, names like Tracey Emin and Damian Hirst would first come to play. Many argued about their arts are not actually arts. Tracey once had displayed her unmade bed (with used condom among other things) as a piece of art. Damian is on the other hand famous with his animals in formaldehyde art. Both are indeed famous and managed to get huge dosh into their pockets from their arts.

I remember that I hated art subject at school. I guess it was due to rather slim vision of what is considered and taught as art. ‘Lukisan’ time at primary school was only about a piece of off-white newspaper quality paper and watercolour. And since I was and still am not good at watercolour, the whole thing just put me off. Nevertheless, I did owned quite a few watercolour sets then, coz I guess it was the one and only thing artist would have. I did, however, represent my primary school in a state ‘pertandingan lukisan’… and what was it? A lukisan batik, what an obvious cliché. It was two of us, me and a friend H (now an accountant at DRB-Hicom) who were considered to be good in lukisan. I remember, another friend, also H (we were at boys only school then), who always drew nice funky Harley-style motorbike whenever the cikgu said ‘lukisan bebas’, and his drawings were great (I can’t draw like he did). Yet, he was not considered as an artist then. Similarly, those who could draw Tempe Asuka were also not taken aboard the artist bandwagon (I did know how to draw this Jap hero, and Space1999 ship). Mmmm…

I was actually rather a lazy ‘artist’ then. One day in Standard 6, I was so very malas to participate in the last double period lukisan. Our young lady teacher left the class to draw whatever we like and would come back at the end of the lesson to check. I then just took the great opportunity to wonder around the class (40 of us) admiring at others masterpiece. A few minutes before the school ended, I quickly took out my brush and crudely painted something like this….

© atok

When Miss X came into the class, she began to go around checking all of our arts.

Stopping at my desk, she asked (or rather half scolded): “Apa ni!?”
I said, “Permandangan di Stesen Bas cikgu”. (Yes, all piece had to be named, how proper).
She said, “Hah? Awak jangan main-main dengan saya!”.
I then explained, “Saya duduk tepi stesen bas. Tiba-tiba bas ni datang berhenti depan saya. Yang saya nampak nil ah, yang saya lukis ni…. tayar dia je. Yang ni skrew dia, cikgu”. (Explaining my modern art)

I guess she wanted to laugh (as the rest of the class did) but couldn’t resign to being cheated from her anger. I was left to clean all the mess left by my classmates instead, which was not a bad punishment after all, I reckon…..

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