Monday, October 20, 2008

Yusof Gajah

Yusof Gajah is know in the art circle and to friends as “Yusof Gajah” and for a good reason, too. The elephant is a constant inspiration in his artistic career. Yusof is also Malaysian’s foremost naïve artist . He was born in 1954 in Negeri Sembilan as Mohd Yusof Bin Ismail. He was educated in Singapore, and received his art training at the Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia and the Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia in Yogjakarta.
Yusof has won several awards for his work, both nationally and internationally. He was awarded the Grand Prix ( The Real Elephant) Noma Concours for Children’s picture Book Illustration by ACCU in Tokyo, Japan in 1997. He has held a number of solo exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia , Japan and Norway .
He now paints in his studio in Batu Caves Selangor.

Yusof Gajah Biodata

YUSOF ‘ GAJAH ‘ ( Mohd yusof bin ismail )

Born : Johol , Negeri Sembilan , Malaysia
: 10 feburary 1954

1972 - 1974 : Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia , Jogjakarta , Indonesia
1975 : Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia , Jogjakarta , Indonesia .
Address : 24 Jalan Berjaya 5 , Taman berjaya , batu caves 68100
Selangor , Malaysia

Contact : 6013 3310954
E mail :

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Selected Exhibition

1972 – 1975 :- Group exhibition in Jakarta , Kediri , Jogjakarta , Madura , Surabaya , Bandung Krawang ( INDONESIA )
1980 :- Anak Alam Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
- Anak Alam Group Exhibition , Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka , Kuala Lumpur
- Contemporary Asian Art Show , Fukuoka Art Museum , Fukuoka , Japan
1981 :- Young Contemporaries , National Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
- Solo Exhibition GAJA GAJA , Gallery Six , Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
- International Art Exhibition , The Press, information and cultural Crop of Australia (PICCA) and Arts council of Australia .
1982 :- Group exhibition , Yayasan Sabah , Kota Kinabalu , Sabah
1983 :- First Okhstok International Children’s Picture Book festival , Japan
- 4th exhibition of world picture book , Yokohama and Fujinomiya , Japan
1983 -1989 :- Pameran Terbuka , National Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
1984 :- Sabah Art Gallery , Kota Kinabalu , Sabah
1985 :- Two man show , Sabah Art Gallery , Kota Kinabalu , Sabah
1986 :- NOMA concours for children picture’s book illustration , Tokyo , Japan
1987 :- Biennale of illustration , Bratislava , Czechoslovakia
1989 :- Joint exhibition of Biennale of illustration , Tokyo , Japan
- BIB 89 , Bratislava , Czechoslovakia
1993 :- BIB 93 award winning works , NOMA concour , Tokyo , Japan
- Solo Exhibition “ Naive Painting “ Art Case galleries , Kuala Lumpur
1994 :- First Contemporary Malaysian watercolourist Association Exhibition , Balai Seni Maybank Kuala Lumpur
1995 :- Pameran Karya Cat Air Terbuka , Sabah , Kota Kinabalu , Sabah
- Contemporary Malaysian Watercolour Association Exhibition , Nanyang Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
- Jawi Stroke , Bukit Jawi Golf Resort , Penang , Malaysia
1996 :- Pursuing a dream – from the collection of Rahimie Harun ,
Galeri PETRONAS Kuala Lumpur
- Art from Sabah , Galeri PETRONAS , Kuala Lumpur
- 11th International Watercolour Exhibition of Asia , Galeri PETRONAS ,
Kuala Lumpur

1997 :- Solo Exhibition “the gajah series “ Kai Boon Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
- APS art exhibition , Galeri Petronas , Kuala Lumpur
- BIB 97 ( Biennale of illustration) Bratislava , Slovak
- Solo Exhibition ‘ Decorative Naive ‘ Mon Decor Galeri , Jakarta , Indonesia
- Malaysian Drawings , National Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
- Decorative Naive , one man show , Gallery Space Pause , Ichigaya ,
Shinjuku – ku , Tokyo , Japan

1998 : - Solo Exhibition “ Decorative Naive “ Aiseyman Cafe , Kuala Lumpur
- Menemui modeniti , 40 tahun Angkatan Pelukis seMalaysia ,
Balai Seni Lukis Negara , kuala Lumpur
- Childlike dream , SOGO Department store , Kuala Lumpur
- Nature and daily life in Asia , Africa , and Latin America
from picture book illustration exhibition ,Tokyo , Japan

1999 : -RASA 99 , Bank Negara Malaysia , Kuala Lumpur
- AKU 99( self – potrait ) Galeri PETRONAS , Kuala Lumpur
- Two - Man Show Galeri Mas , Johore Bahru
- Solo Exhibition , Novotel Resort and Hotel , Phuket . Thailand
- Solo Exhibition , Gallery Space Pause , Tokyo , Japan
- The Philip Morris Group of Companies Art Awards Show , National Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur

- TERRA Art Festival , Gisborne , New Zealand
2000 : - Appear Innocent , The Gallery , ISETAN KLCC , Kuala Lumpur
- Landskap ke landskap , Galeri PETRONAS , Kuala Lumpur
- Solo exhibition ELEPHANTOIDEA , Tinta Galllery , Kuala Lumpur
2001 :- L’ ANIMALE IN ARTE , Tinta Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
- L’ANIMALE IN ARTE , Purna Budaya , Jogjakarta , Indonesia
2002 : - Solo Exhibition ELEFANTASTISK ARTIG . Krane Gallery , Tromso , Norway
2003 : - IMAJAN KEMERDEKAAN , Balai Seni MAYBANK , Kuala Lumpur
2006 : Central Markey 21 years . Central Market Annexe Kuala Lumpur
2007 : TIGA ALAM Central Market Annexe Kuala lumpur
2008 : MALAYSIAN NAÏVE ARTSHOWCASE 08 Central Market Annexe

Solo Exhibition

1981 : GAJA GAJA , Gallery Six , Kuala Lumpur
1993 : Naive Painting , Art Case Galleries , Kuala Lumpur
1997 : The Gajah Series , Kai Boon Art Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
Decorative Naive , Mon Decor Gallery , Jakarta , Indonesia
5th Solo Exhibition , Gallery Space Pause , Tokyo , Japan
1998 : Decorative Naive , Aiseyman Cafe and Bistro , Kuala Lumpur
7th Solo Exhibition , Novotel Hotel , Phuket , Thailand
8th Solo Exhibition , Gallery Space Pause , Tokyo , Japan
2000 : Elephantoidea , Tinta Gallery , Kuala Lumpur
2002 : Elefantastisk artis , Krane Galleri , Tromso , Norway
2004 : ELEPHANTOIDEA SERIES . Hyatt Regency Jogjakarta Indonesia
2005 Solo exhibition Bankers Club Kuala Lumpur
2005 Elephantoidea and The fat ladies Herman gallery , Stockholm Sweden

1974 : Pratita Adi Karya ( Sekolah seni rupa Indonesia , Jogjakarta , Indonesia )
1985 : 2nd Prize , Annual Painting Competition , Sabah Art Gallery , Kota Kinabalu
1986 : Encouragement Awards ( SIMEOT ) , noma Concour for Children’s Picture
Book Illustration (ACCU) Tokyo , Japan
1988 : Encouragement Awards ( TIDAK LAMA DAHULU ) NOMA Concours For
Children’s Picture Book Illustration , ACCU , Tokyo , Japan
1990 : Hadiah karya Terbaik , Peraduaan Penyediaan Illustrasi Buku Bergambar ,
1992 : Runner-up ( THE LAST TREE ) NOMA Concoure for Children’s picture
Book Illustration ( Asian culture for UNESCO ) Tokyo , Japan
- Best Children’s Picture Book National Book Council . Kuala Lumpur
- Best Children’s Picture Book illustrator National Book Council , KL
1997 : GRAND PRIX (THE REAL ELEPHANT) NOMA Concour For Children’s
Picture Book Illustration (ACCU 0 Tokyo , Japan

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Painting for an Exhibition Jogjakarta November 2008

Elephantoidea Series ( My Children 1 )
Acrylic , modeling paste on canvas
90 cm X 150 cm

Painting for an exhibition - Jogjakarta November 2008

Elephantoidea Series ( My Children 2 )
Acrylic , modeling paste on canvas
107 cm X 213 cm

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lucien de Guise: Naive art fits nicely with Malaysia's grace

ANYONE who has read this column more than once will be familiar with the Central Market Annexe. It's Malaysia in microcosm, at a pace that is more amphetamine than nasi lemak and with the emphasis usually on the avant garde.
For the next 10 days, there will be a more playful ambience, as "naive art" is in residence.

This is not a genre that has taken Malaysia by storm so far. The local art market wants to look grown-up, and naive doesn't seem to fit that bill. Some of naive art's siblings do, however. These include "marginal art", "outsider art" and "art brut".

The last can be the coolest thing on the Manhattan auctioneer's block when it was created by a dead ex-graffiti artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat. Madonna's ex-boyfriend may have wandered the streets of New York in bare feet before he died at 27, but his paintings fetch tens of millions of ringgit.

"Naive" artists tend to have decent shoes but less street credibility. The kampung is their home. When they are accepted by the public, the art community usually dismisses them as kitsch. It's a good thing they have their freshness and goodwill to fall back on. They can expect fair treatment in some countries more than others.
In France, there are many museums dedicated to their work. In most parts of Asia, their time has yet to come.

China is one of the exceptions. Not only is naive art a widely admired medium in itself, it also extends into the mainstream. This isn't just tourists returning with armfuls of Jinshan folk art. Many of China's greatest 20th century artists could be slipped straight into the "naive" pigeonhole. Pioneers like Ding Yangyong and Cui Zifan revel in the childlike, producing works of charm and occasional profundity.

Naive art does well in places where collectors have confidence in their own taste. That means France, Japan, traditional China and, to some extent, the United States. Elsewhere, there is usually anxiety.

Which brings us to Malaysia. There is art aplenty, but is there confidence? Is it uncool to be naive when the good fight is being waged for sophistication? Wawasan 2020 never mentioned seeing the world through the forgiving eyes of innocence. The vision was meant to turn Malaysians into street fighters in the global hood. I don't think art was mentioned, and naive art would surely be for softies.

It's a shame naive art doesn't receive more admiration in Malaysia. This is in many ways its natural habitat. It is colourful and gentle and non-confrontational. Malaysia is not about angst, and why should it be? This is a country blessed by God. It's not Aceh, Myanmar or Sichuan. Malaysian communities may bicker over dividing the economic and political cake, but at least there is a cake to be divided.

No matter how hard local artists try to get some righteous anger in their hearts, they could still be depended on to do the respectful hand-kissing routine for a Hari Raya muhibah advertisement. Politics in Malaysia is also surprisingly gentlemanly. When one party dislikes another, it hurls nothing more incendiary than an insult. Even the parliamentary insults are harmless; nothing about mothers or sisters.

If France had been playing Malaysia instead of Italy in the World Cup final, Zinedine Zidane would have played the full game. And France would have won.

"Malaysian Naive Art Showcase 08" shows just how appropriate the genre is to here. Malaysia may not be ready for it yet, but those naive painters keep painting away. The prime mover is the man who acquired a name to match his large but friendly works.

Yusof "Gajah" is not alone in his herd. In addition to more like-minded artists than most collectors would imagine, there are two young gajah involved. Yusof's son and daughter are keeping up the tradition although they have diversified from elephants into cats and dinosaurs.

Yusof Gajah is keen to get a museum going. "If there is no museum, then there is nowhere to see the works," he says in distress.

He would probably like people to buy the works as well, but the first priority is visitors. He ought to have a head start with naive art. It's a genre that can cut across all boundaries. It's not just for the 30- to 50-year-old professionals who are propping up the rest of the art scene.

I spotted some old folk at the show, and my comparatively young children put in a full uncomplaining 30 minutes. This is a personal best for them.

The time for naive art should be arriving soon, now that conceptual has reached the limits of desperate inventiveness. If art has to have a message (and Samuel Goldwyn of MGM believed "messages should only be sent by Western Union"), then it doesn't have to be a big angry message in the bad-boy tradition.

Yusof Gajah and his circle make oblique references to mankind's place in the natural world, for example. Like so much naive art, it is handled with charm and humour - that rarest of all intrusions in art.

Good-natured attitude does not always come cheap, though. Few of the paintings at this exhibition are below RM1,000 and some are very much higher.

This is not unreasonable for works with a certain professionalism and a lot of imagination. Despite appearances, they are not easy to paint. Like Malaysian politics, there is a fragile balance to be maintained.

Younger readers who want to give it a try should join Yusof Gajah at a workshop he is holding on Saturday at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.

The writer is curator of the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, October 3, 2008

hari raya 2008

Photo taken during Hari Raya Adil fitri 2008

Black and white series

Gajah di jogjakarta

Monolith Garden Oslo

Monolith Garden Oslo
sejok/// minus 10