Koboi Balik Kampung (2013)

Koboi Balik Kampung, Readymade Rockmount Western Shirt, 2013. Permanent Collection of the National Visual Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. (The image above is from an installation and performance at the National Visual Art Gallery in 2018).

The Koboi Balik Kampung (2013) Readymade from the permanent collection of the National Visual Art Gallery in KL is currently on display at the gallery. This item was a residual artifact from a performance at the Aliran Semasa symposium held at the gallery in 2013. This performance marked my Malaysian homecoming after ten years away in Western Canada.

I appeared at the event wearing a brand-new Rockmount Western shirt with tags intact. As the symposium began, my mother the late Sathiavathy Deva Rajah was invited on stage, to give me a traditional Indian/ Hindu blessing by placing chanthanam (sandalwood paste) and kunggumum (red turmeric powder) on my forehead. Then, facing the audience, I remove the shirt, draped it on a pre-installed hanger at the back of the stage and my mother consecrated it with the same chanthanam and kunggumum. The shirt was left hanging for the duration of the symposium and then presented to the gallery.

A version of the Performance was repeated in an intervention when the item was on show for the first time as a selection from the collection of the National Visual Art Gallery in 2018. My Mother and I were stopped from renewing the markings on the shirt by a curator and a conservator from the gallery. We debated notions of completion of an art work, ownership of an artwork, the artist’s rights to modify an artwork, the extensive conservational bureaucracy that encompases a work of art in a National collection and the effects of all of these on the state of an art work (is it active or is it inert, alive or dead!). Mother and I proceed with the portion of our ritual that did not interfere with what is now the property of the gallery. The image above was captured by my daughter Durga Rajah during this performance.

Kabali Da! 4

back in tokyo.png
Like our Thailavar Tun Dr Mahathir, I too am back (in a much more modest way of course!) I AM BACK IN JAPAN after about 20 years .. On my first trip in 1998, I saw our Rajinikanth beaming down at me from a cinema hoarding .. and thus was the seed sown that has flowered into the Koboi Balik Kampung roadshow that I am now taking round the world! I used to be a regular visiter to Japan in the late 1990’s under the auspices of the Japan Foundation and the Fukuoka Art Museum and I am really happy to be back here for Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition. Please come … all are welcome!

カウボーイとインディアンズ:東京版

コートヤード HIROO:2018年5月11日午後7
〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布4-21-2
Courtyard HIROO : 7pm 11th May 2018
4-21-2 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031 JAPAN
Tel. +81-3-6427-1185     info@cy-hiroo.jp

Image: https://www.facebook.com/niranjan.rajah/timeline/story?ut=60&wstart=0&wend=1527836399&hash=2187518281479683616&pagefilter=3

カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版

tokyotower
カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版
コートヤード・ヒロ: 2018年5月11日午後7
〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布 4-21-2
Courtyard Hiroo: 7pm 11th May 2018
4-21-2 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031 JAPAN
Tel. +81-3-6427-1185     info@cy-hiroo.jp

The Koboi Project is series of a photo-conceptual performances, involving photographic images, traditional icons, story telling, collaboration and conviviality. For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition at Courtyard Hiroo, Niranjan Rajah will present an 18ft banner of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth and an antique Momotaro doll made by the Kyugetsu Company. He will make an offering to the SUPERSTAR, to Momotaro-san and then, to one member of the audience. The visionary film critic and promoter Fumio Furuya (a.k.a. Jun Edoki), who is responsible for introducing Rajinikanth to Japan, has accepted an invitation to attend as an honoured guest. A scaled down version of the performance will be taken around the city for a series of impromptu interventions between the 7th and the 10th of May 2018, starting in Nishi-Kasai, Tokyo’s Little India. Niranjan will be accompanied by: Hiroyoshi Takeda – Autokaran, Chef; Tara Rajah – Cello; Jane Frankish – Poems on the Megaphone; Mikan Bindu (leader and choreographer) Hiroyoshi Takeda, Shinji Kashima, Hiroyo Yamaguchi, Saki Ito, Emiko Sawada, Yumiko Honda, Shinya Asanuma – SANDOSHAM Indian Movie Dance; Durga Rajah – Photography. For more information please visit: https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/momo

カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版

Autokaran

カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版
コートヤード・ヒロ: 2018年5月11日午後7
〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布 4-21-2
Courtyard Hiroo: 7pm 11th May 2018
4-21-2 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031 JAPAN
Tel. +81-3-6427-1185     info@cy-hiroo.jp

The Koboi Project is series of a photo-conceptual performances, involving photographic images, traditional icons, story telling, collaboration and conviviality. For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition at Courtyard Hiroo, Niranjan Rajah will present an 18ft banner of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth and an antique Momotaro doll made by the Kyugetsu Company. He will make an offering to the SUPERSTAR, to Momotaro-san and then, to one member of the audience. The visionary film critic and promoter Fumio Furuya (a.k.a. Jun Edoki), who is responsible for introducing Rajinikanth to Japan, has accepted an invitation to attend as an honoured guest. A scaled down version of the performance will be taken around the city for a series of impromptu interventions between the 7th and the 10th of May 2018, starting in Nishi-Kasai, Tokyo’s Little India. Niranjan will be accompanied by: Hiroyoshi Takeda – Autokaran, Chef; Tara Rajah – Cello; Jane Frankish – Poems on the Megaphone; Mikan Bindu (leader and choreographer) Hiroyoshi Takeda, Shinji Kashima, Hiroyo Yamaguchi, Saki Ito, Emiko Sawada, Yumiko Honda, Shinya Asanuma – SANDOSHAM Indian Movie Dance; Durga Rajah – Photography. For more information please visit: https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/momo

Koboi’s Guest: Jun Edoki

edoki
For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition, at Courtyard Hiroo on 11th May 2018 at 7pm,  I am proud to announce that visionary film critic and promoter Fumio Furuya (a.k.a Jun Edoki), President of Eden Entertainment Inc., has accepted my invitation to attend the performance as an honoured guest. In 1998, Jun Edoki had the audacity to bring the film ‘Muthu Oduru Maharaja‘ (Muthu Dancing Maharaja) to the Tokyo audience. According Naman Ramachandran in  his biography of Rajinikanth, Edoki  found the movie in Singapore and took a copy back with him to Japan. He watched it with his wife and,  Ramachandran quotes Edoki saying, ” It was absolutely fascinating – even without subtitles … We became addicted to the point that we had to see at least part of the movie at least once a day”.

With absolute faith, Edoki took the movie around to distributors in Japan until Xanadeux released the film in 1998. I myself was amazed, upon a visit to Tokyo in 1998, to find the image of Thalaiva beaming over the streets of the city. That encounter on the streets of Tokyo in 1998 set into motion the ideas and approaches that inform the Koboi Project. Under the prevailing international marketing practice, global products are deliberately  differentiated to address specific markets (what Roland Robertson called dochakuka after the Japanese term dochaku)… Muthu in Japan was a media product that ‘crossed over’ without any such a priori considerations … it made a heart-to-heart connection to become a massive box-office success sans  dochakuka.

Image: https://twitter.com/EdokiJun

https://books.google.ca/books?id=3mzyPGSfwKMC&pg=PT196&lpg=PT196&dq=jun+edoki+kandaswamy+muthu&source=bl&ots=60Hhzrrfdq&sig=v_LH-2Gp_GWmwGN69YQylahFAMI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiP1Lu0gt7aAhXqwlQKHcTDCu8Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=jun%20edoki%20kandaswamy%20muthu&f=false

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/modules/hi31v/syllabus/week18/robertson-1995.pdf

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Momotaro-san!

momomdiumMomotaro-san arrived in Vancouver today from San Francisco. He will be accompanying Jane, Tara, Durga and myself in May to perform in Tokyo. The Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition performance will take place at 7 pm 11th May 2018 at Courtyard Hiroo, as part of a show titled ‘Home’ in the Expanded Field’. Momotaro-san will be back in Japan in time for  Tango no Sekku (5th May) or ‘Boys Festival’ (now  renamed Kodomo no Hi  or Children’s Day) a day on which he is traditionally celebrated and honoured throughout the land. Momotaro or  ‘Peach Boy’ is known to have been born of a giant peach found by an old and childless. Momotaro grows up and as a youth, he goes off on an adventure to overcome the Oni (ogres) on Onigashima (Ogre Island) and becomes a hero.  Momotaro is, for the Japanese people, a symbol of boyhood, vitality, and valiance. He is also a martial figure.

 

Sathiavathy Deva Rajah

29314262_10156147022193232_1854508514102214656_o (1)On the 17th March 2018 I presented at the dialogue session of my Gift of Knowledge Installation at the Piyasasa Gallery. I also did a casual gallery tour with members of the audience and in the above photograph I am accompanying my mother Sathiavathy Deva Rajah as we look for acknowledgments of her contribution to the work of my uncle Durai Raja Singam whose life work is the subject of the exhibition. My mother was uncle’s favorite proof reader and language editor as she was mine in my UNIMAS days. As such she has contributed to seminal works such as Durai Raja Singam’s pioneering annotated bibliography of Ananda Coomaraswamy, Hasnul Jamal Saidon’s and my own 1st Electronic Art Show catalogue and to my essays in Insyirah: lukisan Sulaiman Esa dari 1980 hingga 2000 and Bara Hati, Bahang Jiwa.

Thanks Ma!

Image: https://www.facebook.com/dayang.kartini/posts/10156147022858232