MERDEKA AWARD - Inspiring the Culture of Excellence
Curator : GALERI PETRONAS
Duration : 01 April 2016 - 31 March 2017
Admission : Varies
Time : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Portraits, whether it be drawn, painted, photographed or sculpted, are often reserved for those who are deemed important. The common subjects captured in a stylised portrait were usually for people of power such as royalty and nobilities, important religious and historic figures. It was also common to honour important people who have outstanding achievements for their contribution to the nation and society. It is an honourable acknowledgement for one to be presented in a portrait that is a work of art. A portrait is often created to record the sitter as a significant figure in the course of history. Through the technical mastery of these artistic hands the sitters’ character are often elevated in a dramatically visual poetic expression.
The Merdeka Award was established in 2007 to recognise and reward excellent individuals and organisations whose works and achievements have not only contributed to the nation's growth but have also inspired greatness in the people of Malaysia. In commemorating the recipients of this prestigious award, the award secretariat in collaboration with Galeri PETRONAS commissioned portraits to honour 17 past MERDEKA Award recipients for their contributions in the areas of education, environment, health and sciences as well as for their outstanding scholastic achievements. Each portrait were produced in the medium of drawing, painting, mixed media and photography by notable Malaysian artists such as Dato’ Azman Yusof, Jaafar Taib, Mohamad Hj Hassan, Loh Bok Lai, Jeganathan Ramachandram and Long Thien Shih just to name a few. Committed in our mandate to make art accessible for everyone, GALERI PETRONAS takes the MERDEKA Award Portrait Series to travel for a wider viewership beyond the PETRONAS Twin Towers. In partnership with the State Museum of Terengganu, beginning from March 2016 these portraiture artworks will be exhibited for a year at the Galeri Seni Lukis at the museum.
A portrait is meant to record those who are seen as legacies for them to be remembered. Therefore, a portrait often represents true to life of a persons’ character, charisma and personality. These portraits would also carry markers or clues to identify its sitter in their respective field. Henceforth, the artists present to us beacons of our time through such charismatic and powerful portrayals such as the painting of Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Khlaid Khadir depicting his confidence and conviction to his profession. Some portraits provide for perfect representation of a scholar and thinker, such as that of Tan Sri Professor Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas which depicts him immersed deep in thought leafing a book in his hands, not just any book but a book with a profile image of Aristotle on its cover. Individuals such as Tun Fatimah Hashim, Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Paik Gan and Datin Paduka Mother A Mangalam were also honoured for their exceptional contribution in elevating and strengthening Malaysia’s education system. They empowered women and improved the livelihoods of marginalised communities were rendered in close up portraits. By emphasising in this manner, their facial expressions - the artist managed to bring out the sitter’s human characteristics of strength, warmth and compassion.
During wavering times, portrayals of confidence, strength and charisma are the reminders that we must embody these values in us. It is so that, we may continue the journey even in these trying moments with sincerity, perseverance, tenacity and resilience. In furthering our continuous commitment in encouraging for innovation and taught leadership, we hope these commanding portraiture should inspire and aspire us to push beyond our limits in pursuit of knowledge in fostering a culture of excellence amongst Malaysians.
The collection is now open to public at Galeri Seni Lukis of the State Museum of Terengganu and runs till March 2017. The venue is opened daily from 9.00 am to 5.00pm and located at Bukit 20566 Darul Iman, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. For further information please call Galeri PETRONAS at 03-2051 7770 or visit us at www.galeripetronas.com.my. You may also contact Museum Terengganu at +60 9-632 1200.