Education & Community

Indigenous Arts and National Narratives: A Comparative Study of Indigenous People's Art and Representation within National Institutions

Institutions: National Art Gallery of Australia and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

I won’t give up.

Shaq is a contemporary artist of the indigenous Temuan tribe of Selangor. In his early year, land developer has encroached the jungle around his village and now it reflecting in his many works, that trauma in his childhood has fuelled his passion and led his to fight for his people land rights. He loves to explore many medium of art, from contemporary painting to installation art.

“In a rapidly modernising Malaysian state, I’m always trying to capture the tension and pressure faced by my people, whose lives interact with and respect the natural environment”, said Shahar.

“My work emphasizes the inequalities that exist between modern consumerism and traditional sustainable ways of life. My works is refection of my people and the rainforest in which I grew up, and to show the importance of nature to the Orang Asal. The presentation of artwork also captures a contemporary view of the struggle faced by Malaysia’s indigenous people and the aims is to contribute to a deeper understanding of multiracial Malaysia.” vThe study entitled “A comparative study of indigenous people’s art and representation within national institutions” is aimed to examine the main drivers that increase public understanding of indigenous culture through the representation of indigenous art and its integration into national narratives.

“During my attachment, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to learn from some of the best institutions and visit well known galleries and museums. I went to National Art Gallery of Australia, Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa and The EDEN Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, UK”.

“I wanted to delve further and develop a better understanding of indigenous histories, culture and art is dependent on the exposure provided within National institutions and the provision and quality of education and learning materials”, said Shahar.

He added, “The information received from these endeavours will enable me to adapt the findings to local context and I will be utilizing these in the next phase of my research”.

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