Tuesday August 16, 2011

A unique presentation
By KIATISAK CHUA Photos by LIM BENG TATT - The Star Publications

ONE would usually not find a traditional grocery shop set up at an art gallery but such was the case at the Penang State Art Gallery in Dewan Sri Pinang in George Town.

This grocery shop is unlike any typical one — it is an art installation called ‘Kedai Runcit No. 12’ featuring emerging Malaysian artists Haslin Ismail, Rozana Musa, Izat Arif, Hoo Kiew Hang and Linda Nordin.

Curated by the recipient of the Young Curator Award in the National Art Award 2009, Shooshie Sulaiman, the installation is the second edition after a successful one at the Art Stage 2011, Singapore.

Shooshie said that the main concept of ‘Kedai Runcit No. 12’ was to allow people to experience art from a different perspective and dimension.

Visitors are also allowed to purchase items in the grocery shop.

“Usually, art displays that one can find in an art gallery is one-dimensional but what we are trying to do is to let the public view art from a different perspective,” said Shooshie.
Nostalgic feel: The grocery shop art installation at the Penang State Art Gallery in Dewan Sri Pinang, George Town, will take older visitors back in time. Visitors looking at the items sold at 'Kedai Runcit No.12'. The tikam-tikam game is on the top right corner.

She added that within the grocery shop, the artists’ works can be put in jars or hung inside a plastic bag, stored in biscuit tins or even taking the form of biscuit tin labels.

“These art works are placed among regular retail products that are found in a typical Malaysian kedai runcit.

“Just as the artists interact with the grocery shop to create their artwork, so will the visitors interact with the shop and items in a unique experience of art appreciation,” she said.
Two visitors checking out items in the grocery shop

Shooshie also called on young artists to be more original in their work and explore new areas surrounding them to produce their art.

“Nowadays, artists go to their studio from nine to five and produce their artwork in mass production. They must understand that art comes naturally from the things that you see that portray your everyday life,” she said.

A wave of nostalgia overcame visitors, especially the older ones, as they were greeted by a huge signboard made of wood with Chinese and Jawi language on it when they entered the art gallery.

Among the attractions for visitors is a traditional tikam-tikam game. One would have to pay 20 sen to play, where they would have to pull out a piece of paper and check if the number on the paper matched an item.

Visitor Seow Kee Chuan said that it brought back fond childhood memories when he saw the installation.
Days of yore: 'Kedai Runcit No.12' looks just like a grocery shop from the early 60s

“When I was a kid, I would always go to the grocery shop to play tikam-tikam. It was like playing roulette as you do not know what you would get for 20 cents,” said the 50-year-old.

The exhibition for ‘Kedai Runcit No. 12’ is open to the public until Aug 26, from 9am to 5pm.

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