People of Remarkable Talents (PORT), an arts and culture agency under the Perak State Government, with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and the National Art Gallery Malaysia, announces its commission of the exhibition Pera + Flora + Fauna, as an official Collateral Event at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. PORT is honoured to present at this prestigious international art event, the artists and artworks that have been inspired by the rich histories and context of the state of Perak, Malaysia.
Pera + Flora + Fauna engages with the discourse around how indigenousness and nature are affected by mainstream cultural attitudes of industrialised nations, the very nations contributing to existing environmental problems. This leads us to question, can aesthetic thinking support the conservation and restoration of nature or indigenous rights and ways of life? Can indigenous populations across the globe challenge the mainstream documented (art) history written by the non-indigenous? Can indigenous populations achieve the liberty to collectively claim “their own history and narratives”, antagonising the dominant discourse? Pera + Flora + Fauna intends to address these questions drawing on different perspectives of man, nature, and their interrelation.
The exhibition features Malaysian artists and collectives, and an Italian artist, from multiple disciplines ranging across performance, film, sound, sculpture, and new media. The artists are Azizan Paiman (MY), Kamal Sabran (MY), Kapallorek Artspace (MY), Kim Ng (MY), Projek Rabak (MY), Saiful Razman (MY) and Stefano Cagol (ITA), with the contribution and participation of the people of the Semai tribe from Kampung Ras, Sungkai, Perak.
Pera + Flora + Fauna will take place at Archivi della Misericordia in Cannaregio, Venice; commissioned by Nur Hanim Mohamed Khairuddin, General Manager of PORT, and curated by appointed lead curators Amir Zainorin and Khaled Ramadan, and associate curators Annie Jael Kwan and Camilla Boemio.
The team is advised by Alfredo Cramerotti, the president of IKT and the director of MOSTYN, Wales.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the discourse expands through a forum where invited panelists Alfredo Cramerotti, Dorian Batycka, Henry Meyric Hughes, and Jo-Lene Ong, along with the curators and artists, will share their observations and interpretations around the concept of Ownership of Nature and History; attempting to contextualise the notion of the natural and the historic and why it cannot be independent of the intellectual, artistic, emotional, and technological resources available to us in the industrialised world. In addition, there will be three on-site performances by the artists; one which explores sound and body movement to heal the internal psychic and spiritual body based on Malay traditional healing rituals; the others inviting the audience to engage with the ongoing contest between capitalist-driven narratives of extractivism towards land and indigenous peoples, and the agency and creative resilience of indigenous communities in sharing their histories and holistic principles of coexistence with nature.