Unimas to explore the meaning of signs and symbols in ‘Qualisigns’ art exhibition

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts lecturer Sylvester Weilding Jussem proudly showing one of his artwork entitled ‘Dancing Movements’, inspired from Bali dancers during his recent travels. It took him three days to complete the art piece and currently it is being showcased at the faculty's gallery.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts lecturer Sylvester Wielding Jussem proudly showing one of his artwork entitled ‘Dancing Movements’, inspired from Bali dancers during his recent travels. It took him three days to complete the art piece and currently it is being showcased at the faculty’s gallery.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: According to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts lecturer Sylvester Wielding Jussem, the attitude towards art in Sarawak is subtle yet hungry at the same time.

“People are hungry for art. But many do not know what they want. It is like they are lost,” said Sylvester when met at the faculty’s art gallery.

The market today is filled with factory-churned artwork, making them the preferred choice for people to hang on their walls, rather than buying them directly from the artists.

“A good example would be in town, where high end restaurants and cafés try to outdo each other with their art expression. Some turn out well, while others end up like a rag tag expression of a lost soul. All because they simply copy what they see in Google,” Sylvester said.

“There are many artists in the city today who could do better and know their art well. Even in our faculty, we have good interior designers and artists who has done well after they graduate. In art, when you put your heart and minds into it, it will bring you far.”

The faculty will be showcasing 45 art pieces by its academic staff at the Exhibition of Creativity, Innovation, Technology and Research in the Arts (eCitra) at Sabah Art Gallery from Oct 24 – Nov 17.

This year’s exhibition carries the theme, ‘Qualisigns: Exploring Semiotic Through Art Making’ and the art pieces will include paintings, sculptures, mix media, digital arts, ceramics and art installations.

Travelling nearly 1,200km from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu by bus, the faculty team is up beat to showcase their work to the public next week.

eCitra was first held 11 years ago in 2005 at Balai Seni Lukis Negara in Kuala Lumpur and this will be the fifth exhibition held outside the campus in order to capture art students from around the country and even foreign students to pursue their studies in art in UNIMAS.

Faculty lecturer Awangko Hamdan Awang Arshad also said eCitra in Sabah will also be a platform to promote the university to Brunei students.

“We chose Kota Kinabalu because, they have a strong art community there. They are many galleries for local artists to showcase their work and with Brunei not having any art schools in the country, we want to show what we can produce to budding art students and to spur their interest to come here in UNIMAS,” said Awangko.

Awangko also said the faculty wants to hold eCitra exhibition in the university next year, in conjunction with UNIMAS’ 25th anniversary.

“Sarawak needs more platforms for artists to showcase their work. Only through galleries and more art shows will help to educate the public to better understand and appreciate art. The public should know that arts and crafts are two different things. Arts, is produced through expression and years of fine research. While crafts that you see in the market these days are mostly produced for the sake of money, where each of the pieces are mass produced,” said Awangko.

In keeping creativity and local talents alive, Awangko calls upon local corporations to support the faculty in terms of sponsorship since arts areavailable almost everywhere in the city these days.

“Why should we buy mass produced art work that has no substance, when we could be helping local talents to go further? Who knows, we could have the next Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso or Jason Pollock from Sarawak. It all starts with good ground support,” Awangko added.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts lecturers (from left) Dr Yakup Mohd Rafee and Awangko Hamdan Awang Arshad will be part of the team of lecturers showcasing 45 artwork at the Exhibition of Creativity, Innovation, Technology and Research in the Arts (eCitra) at Sabah Art Gallery from Oct 24 to Nov 17, which includes paintings, sculptures, mix media, digital arts, ceramics and art installations.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts lecturers (from left) Dr Yakup Mohd Rafee and Awangko Hamdan Awang Arshad will be part of the team of lecturers showcasing 45 artwork at the Exhibition of Creativity, Innovation, Technology and Research in the Arts (eCitra) at Sabah Art Gallery from Oct 24 to Nov 17, which includes paintings, sculptures, mix media, digital arts, ceramics and art installations.

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