Penang Street Art 檳城與黃錦樹

Penang Street Art

A friend of mine introduced me to works by a Malay Chinese writer Huang Jin-Shu before my visit to Penang, and I decided to take his book Memorandum of the Nanyang People’s Republic with me to the trip. The book mainly talks about the Communist Party of Malaysia and brings out its concealed history, which I have never heard of before, thus I found this book very interesting to read.

There is a gallery named Run Amok at the Hin Bus Depot Art Center, in Penang. With the help of people who work at the gallery I found a wall to paint at the art center. I am not going to reveal who gallery curator is, but a few days ago he warned me that so-called museums in Penang are not worth visiting, unless you want to be a silly tourist.

When looking at the wall, I realized that I want to paint something related with Malaysia, and suddenly remembered Huang Jin-Shu’s collection of short stories. I am not that much familiar with the history of Malaysia’s Communist Party, but I am well aware of the “erased history,” which always gives me complex feelings. Creative freedom is limited in Malaysia and talking about the Communist Party is a taboo, therefore, I decided to portray people as animals. I replaced only a few parts and I did not show so clearly that “this represents that,” it is more about a feeling. I want to cherish the memory of the passing time and enthusiasm which is not accepted by the society, just like the history of the Communist Party that disappeared in Malaysian jungles, by painting on an old wall in Penang, talking about the Communist Party and creating murals.

來檳城前芳慈介紹一位馬來華裔作者叫黃錦樹,所以帶了一本他的小說上路;「南洋人民共和國備忘錄」,裡面以馬來西亞共產黨人為書寫主體,由於前所未聞,讀來覺得有趣。檳城的Hin bus depot art center 裡面冉阿莫畫廊大頭目的介紹下,我在園區喬到一面牆,大頭目是誰我就不說了,他前幾天告誡我在檳城叫博物館的都可以不用進去。
面對老牆,我想畫些跟馬來有關的事,自然想到黃錦樹的小說集。馬共歷史的確離我遙遠,但歷史被抹去這件事離我很近,讓我有些複雜的感觸。馬來西亞的創作自由有限制,所以把人物換成動物,置換了些隱諭的東西,沒有那麼明確的"這個代表那個",其實之前部分作品也沒有,有時候就是種感覺而已。