Shooshie Sulaiman, who lives and works in Malaysia, is recognized as one of the leading contemporary artists of Southeast Asia. She continues to work widely across the globe, taking part in international exhibitions such as “Documenta 12” (2007), the Singapore Biennale (2011, 2022), and Gwangju Biennale (2014), also presenting her work in Japan in the group shows, “Emotional Drawing” (The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, 2008), “SUNSHOWER Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now” (The National Art Center, Tokyo / Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2017) and “Yokohama Triennale 2017 ‘Islands, Constellations & Galapagos,’” among others.
Ever since being invited to participate in the “AIR Onomichi” artist-in-residence program in 2013, she has been developing a long-term project spanning a decade in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture.
In this project, Shooshie, while engaging in dialogue, sharing ideas, and communicating with local residents, examined and dismantled each and every component of an abandoned former greengrocer’s. Usable materials are employed in the production of architectural and sculptural works, while other waste materials are transformed into paintings and other artwork, thus giving rise to practical acts of creation. This process, in which change and development are a prerequisite, is an important stance that forms the basis of her work and thinking.
From September 16th to November 12th this year, a solo exhibition titled “NEW LANDSKAP shooshie sulaiman” will be held at the Onomichi City Museum of Art, cohesively showcases Shooshie’s creative activities in Onomichi over the past ten years, while bringing focus to the theme of “landscape.” The concurrent exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery presents wooden sculptures, paintings, and drawings produced in Onomichi throughout the last decade.
【About “fake.M”: The trajectory of an internal journey born through a resonant relationship with the landscape】
The title of this exhibition, “fake.M” derives from “Fake Migration,” a phrase devised by Shooshie herself, referring to the way she has travelled back and forth between Onomichi and her home and studio in Malaysia ever since being fascinated by this region in Japan.
Unlike a typical artist-in-residence, Shooshie does not aim to produce results within a limited timeframe. Instead of “residing” in one place, her activities could be described as akin to the “migration” of migratory birds that continue to fly back and forth between places in correspondence to the seasons. Shooshie migrates between four places that serve as important bases for her practice: Kuala Lumpur, where she lives; her hometown of Muar; Perak (a state in the northwest coast of the Malay Peninsula) where she engages in a project with the indigenous Orang Asli people; and Onomichi. It is through this act of migration that Shooshie continues to gradually develop a cohesive knowledge and understanding of those regions, including human presence, nature, and even the universe.
In the writings, poems, drawings, and artworks she produced in her notebooks during her residency, it is possible to observe the trajectory of her inner journey as an artist and the expansion of her vision which were born through a resonant relationship with the landscape.
Shooshie states that the word “fake” refers to being in a “fake” situation, where one pretends to be something one is not, assuming that because one invited to take part in a project as an artist, one must create a work of art that seems appropriate.
The word “fake” has both positive and negative connotations, and situations that appear to be an act of migration but are in fact not, can be both positive and negative. Shooshie mentions that in order to know what we love and cherish, it is important to know the opposite, and “it is necessary for artists to create works by placing themselves in a precarious situation where both are present.” *1
In Shooshie Sulaiman’s work, “life” and “art” are inextricably linked. Her work will no doubt continue to change and evolve progressively, and this exhibition will serve as an important clue to understanding the current situation of Shooshie Sulaiman’s life and practice.
We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibition.
*1 Shooshie Sulaiman Interview: Fake Migration, and More, Interviewer Mika Kuraya, NEW LANDSKAP shooshie sulaiman catalogue, 2023
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