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Sneak peek: Escape from the SEA art exhibition

Escape from the SEA

Escape from the SEA’ is a group exhibition by The Japan Foundation KL in collaboration with the National Art Gallery and Art Printing Works (APW). Running until April 23, the artworks in the exhibition explore questions surrounding borders, identity and history within the context of Southeast Asia.

The exhibition is spread between two galleries – the National Art Gallery and APW – and features works by artists from across Southeast Asia and Japan. It explores the fluidity of our region’s shared history, while highlighting issues unique to the artists’ locality.

The exhibition ran into some controversy recently for removing one part of the two-piece artwork by Pangrok Sulap. The artwork, titled ‘Sabah Tanah Airku’, consists of two 8 x 12 feet tarps with woodblock print; the piece that was removed was a portrayal of some of the sociopolitical issues affecting Sabah. Various artists have come out to condemn the removal, calling it an act of censorship. In protest, Pangrok Sulap has withdrawn from the exhibition completely.

Nevertheless, here are some other works you can expect at this exhibition.


The Complete Futures of Malaysia (Chapter 1); Ali Alasri, Faiq Syazwan, Mark Teh, Wong Tay Sy
This part installation and part research project intends to generate discussion about our nation’s future. The project includes children’s artworks visualising a post-Wawasan 2020 Malaysia being displayed next to newspaper clippings and other artworks relating to the Wawasan 2020 ideal, as well as 50- and 100-year projections of what our country might look like in the future.


1001st Island – The Most Sustainable Island in the Archipelago; Tita Salina
This video made by Jakarta-based artist Tita Salina shows traditional fishermen in Jakarta creating and building an island made up completely of waste and garbage. Her project is part of a larger statement against the land reclamation that Indonesia plans to carry out in the area. The video highlights the present condition of the fishermen while contemplating their uncertain future in the face of such development.


chronoLOGICal; Roslisham Ismail aka Ise
In this work, Ise traces the history of his hometown Kelantan. He chronicles the timeline from ancient times as far back as 15,000 years ago up to the present. In ‘chronoLOGICal’, Ise juxtaposes Kelantan’s rich history with folklore, which conjures up an image of the state as being mythical and epic.

'Escape from the SEA' will be on until April 23. For more info, visit