With the sculptural May 13, 1969 by Redza Piyadasa as a blurry backdrop this image, titled 8 My Country, from the Dendang Koboi Gelap, 2016, indexes the question of nation in the context of image making and art collecting in contemporary Southeast Asian art. It marks the irony that this work, one of the few art works that contemporaneously addressed our national tragedy, does not stand proudly and self-reflectively in the proud light of the Balai Seni Lukis Negara of Malaysia but instead, presents itself nakedly to the gaze of others in the National Gallery of Singapore.
May 13, 1969 was remade in 2006. The original was destroyed in a performative act. Dendang Koboi Gelap, 2016 is the 4th series of the expansive Koboi Project.
A is for Anwar! Make or break Anwar has called the scene … leaving others to fall in line … or not … Some might see this a an expression of a sense of entitlement but which leader achieved anything, even the position of leadership to begin with, without such a sense of rightness in him or herself … the outcome of course is always uncertain … we have to wait and see!
“After three stints in prison and more than two decades of waiting, Anwar has had enough. He may have the number. He may not. But after Muhyiddin’s sickening betrayal, the prime minister has lost his right to condemn anyone of trying to topple his backdoor government. Even if the entire UMNO bloc shifts its support for Anwar, one should not be surprised at all.” So says the Malaysian Chronicle.
Make or break, for better or for worse, Anwar has made his play … the future is uncertain but the game goes on!
2018 Merdeka Award recipient, the late Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim, is standing 2nd from the left in this image from the Koboi Balik Lagi series. He is married to my cousin Rathy (not in the photograph), and is pictured here with members of his family, Gana and the late Jega, as well as my late parents. Professor Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim is the preeminent historian of independent Malaysia. He also the co–authored the Rukun Negara. As such, an image of Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim, signifies the nation as definitively as any distinctive Malaysian landscape.
The second series of the Koboi Project includes an image of Koboi standing before his alter ego, SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth. This image was shot in Penang in 2013. This series which is titled Kedualan Si Koboi, was published in 2015.
The Koboi Project begins with the Koboi’s return to Kuala Lumpur in 2013 after a decade away in Vancouver. This homecoming was treated both as lived experience and as an enactment. This return was photographed and became the first Koboi series, titled Koboi Balik Kampung, published in 2015.