The Skin of My Skin
A textile visual arts group exhibition
24/03 - 19/05
9am - 5pm (Monday - Saturday)
AFKL, Lorong Gurney
This exhibition originates from the call for project in visuals arts launched by the Alliance Française of Kuala Lumpur at the end of 2021, as a space and institution dedicated to the promotion of cultural initiatives, and with regards to the endeavors that the artistic sector has endured lately. Indeed, the contemporary artistic scene in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley is vibrant and hectic, especially regarding emerging talents. Our goal is to make this space available to the latter in order to promote their art, and share their works with the greater public.
AFKL is presenting The Skin of My Skin, a group exhibition of 3 artists:
Dian Yong, Maryam Vafaeinejad and Nadia Nizamudin focusing on textile.
Dian Yong (Yonger) is a 23 years old fashion designer based in Malaysia. Yonger was one of the designer that showcased her wearable artpiece in Kuala Lumpur Fashion Weekend 2021. Her latest creation, Motion de La Mer is a piece of wearable art which has been designed, drafted, and sewn by Yonger herself. Discover more of her designs on Instagram @yonger_official
Maryam Vafaeinejad is an enthusiastic self-starter with more than 8 years of experience in fields related to creative communication, art and creative services with strong foundations in emotional intelligence. Having evolved in an international environment in different countries, Maryam's current project is creating a harmonious relationship between two characteristics from two different Asian artistic and cultural backgrounds. These two elements are ink from East Asia and textile from Central and South-East Asia. Both techniques have been widely used to narrate and communicate ideas and stories in the history of these regions. Maryam questions them, and similatenously uses them again to make her own statement, thus perpetuating these two century-old traditions.
Nadia Nizamudin is a KL-based visual artist, working primarily on textile painting and
mixed media collage. Her artworks use found, reclaimed or recycled materials and are always bold and
bright. They carry narratives of loss, relationships and hope. Nadia is currently an Instrument Engineer in the oil and
gas industry but has retained an art practice since her university days, alternating between printmaking, collage, painting, and
currently embroidery and textile work. She has exhibited internationally in Malaysia, Scotland, and recently in the
US. She is represented by London online gallery Subject Matter Art. Her work can be viewed here.
The skin, the envelope of the body, acts as the body's boundary between the "inside" and the "outside". Our skin completely changes in cycles of two to four weeks, during which we produce – and thus lose – a layer of outer skin. In a lifetime one ‘changes’ body 1000 times on average.
Then, there is also the inherently human act of covering one’s skin with another skin, layer, of thousands of different materials. On those materials, we have made inscriptions and records, which speak directly to who we are, where we come from, what time and place we have lived in. Some have attributed the basic form of the letters and numbers of the first alphabets to the fabrics used for clothing, most often made by women. Could it be the act of wearing this additional skin that distinguishes us from animals? If we have a thousand different bodies in our lives, how many skins of skins will we have in our lives? With all these changes of skins, and in all these forms, are we always able to discern where the body is? That is to say, when we remove all these skins, is there anything left under them?
This inevitably leads us the paradox of Theseus: Plutarch, in the 1st century, tells the story of the king and hero Theseus, and how a ship has its old parts replaced by new ones. This story will then serve as an example for philosophers to explain the logic of things growing and evolving through time: some claimed that it was the same ship while others argued that it was actually a new one, made of new parts. A similar story have been applied to an axe: if I first change the handle, and then change the blade, is it the same axe? The same concerns appear in an ancient Buddhist text which talks about a traveller who encounters two demons. The first one begins to remove the traveller’s body parts, while the other begins to replace them with the parts of another corpse. In the end the traveller, confused, asks himself: is this still me?
Nadia Nizamudin and Dian Yong (Yonger) straightforwardly look into these disruptive forms on the supposed materiality that envelops us. They manipulate that second skin, the skin of the skin as a material with history and a foreseeable becoming. Here, clothing acts as a statement, soaked with the artists’ individual stories, ethics and beliefs.
In Maryam Vafaeinejad's work, we witness another type of dialogue between fabric and ink. We Westerners will have to be disciplined in order to attempt an understanding of emptiness, one of the millenary questions in Eastern painting: how to represent emptiness? What is the skin of emptiness like? The skin of the formless, of the uncreated? Does time have a skin? The surface-form inverts the interior of the content to the surface as an expression of subjectivity, of inner life. But how to express the inexpressible? The stain of the fabric-surface appears as a mechanism to bring us closer to the uncreated, to what lies in another dimension without form and is brought to our dimension in a beautiful birth.
The Skin of My Skin is a visual art exhibition conceived and presented by the Alliance Française of Kuala Lumpur. Edith Ho, founder of the Gallery des Artistes, is the patroness of this exhibition.