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Women Artist in Malaysian Visual Art History and Development

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Abstract

The National Visual Art Gallery, which is located in Kuala Lumpur, has become the main organization responsible to manage and oversee visual artwork collections. The Gallery has been collecting various disciplines of visual artwork since its establishment in 1958. Based on previous related studies, which include observations from the past and current visual art exhibitions, the documentation on history and development on the visual art of painting and revolution of modern artists in Malaysia was well established. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the history of women artists in Malaysia, in order to determine the visual artwork development that contributes to the visual art movement of this country. Then, several samples of the selected artwork produced by women artists were classified and categorized appropriately. A suitable method was used to interpret and trace the relation of history in how it influences the style of visual artwork in Malaysia. It is hoped that through this study, the uniqueness and creativity of the women artists’ artwork can be brought to attention and subsequently appreciated. Indeed, the establishment of women artists’ artwork through this study is to highlight the uniqueness and the creativity of the women artists’ artwork.

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This paper discusses on the impact of thematic approaches taken by Malay artists in Malaysia since the 1990's.Malaysian art has become increasingly diverse in terms of its approach, subject, theme and media. This growing artistic diversity is discussed within a postmodern framework and is representative of a shift in tendencies away from a purely Malay/Islamic-centred artistic tradition to a more postmodern approach that is inclusive of Malaysia's emerging middle class. Since the 1990's, works produced by Malay artists have taken a more critical perspective aligned with the postmodern situation or situasi percamoden in accordance with Malaysia's leapfrog into modernization. Through their works, Malay artists raise concerns and issues pertaining to the consequences of development and modernization, and explore themes ranging from social problems, environment and urbanization, and contemporary issues thereby employing postmodernist approaches in their art. What is obvious is, that Malay artists are concerned with the immediate and near future, rather than looking back or glorying the past. These artistic tendencies epitomize the challenges, divergences and even connections of perspectives that define the growing Malaysian middle class especially in the context of the construction or even deconstruction of Malaysian society.
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