Painting the Pandemic: An Exhibition by Anurendra Jegadeva

wei ling pandemic art
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September looks to be the month many public spaces and events come back into functioning at full swing, so give this art exhibition a go!

It is hard to believe that Malaysia has been under the Movement Control Order for over six months already, and the world in pandemic management for at least nine. Business are finally getting to a stable operating procedure, and people are getting used to the new social normals.

pandemic art

But artist Anurendra Jegadeva has had his eye on such large scale socio-political upheavals for a while now.

“In many ways, our world has been heading in this direction for the last few years with the climate change, the resurgence of the strongman dictator, the failure of globalism and multiculturalism, the threat to democracy, the internet and its subsequent consolidation of tribes, the rich and poor divide, and natural disasters.”

Although work on this collection began before the world closed its borders, the ensuing lock-down shaped most of Anurendra’s process. Showcasing the personal point of view of a person handling monumental changes to everyday life, Anurendra channels humour and irreverence in this series.

The mask is a recurring symbol throughout this collection, indicating isolation and separation in both pandemic and social contexts.

As Anurendra is based in both Malaysia and Australia, his art centres on contemporary and historical themes. Many of his pieces feature autobiographical layers in complex realities of being in post-colonial multi-cultural Malaysia and Asian immigrant life in Australia, while also harking to global-shaping situations like the war in Iraq disseminated by television.

pandemic art
Orange Dancer (2020) Acrylic on canvas; 100cm x 107cm (Triptych) (1)

This exhibition, titled ‘SCREAM INSIDE YOUR HEART- New Paintings from Solitary Confinement’ captures the response to the pandemic and its handling, with the title taken from a news segment featuring a Japanese theme park attempting to reopen to the public. In efforts to reduce oral contamination possibly airborne during screaming on a roller coaster, the park executive took it upon himself to ride the attraction while wearing a mask and keeping his mouth closed, encouraging future riders that such a method was possible, and to ‘scream inside their hearts’ instead.

Anurendra channels such a bizzare yet effective statement to a poignant perspective, capturing the dilemmas faced by everyone struggling to adjust to the uncertainty that is today’s pandemic-stricken times.

With this collection, it is hoped that the message of togetherness in facing this new era regardless of background, politics, and systems can be remembered, and that the virus does not choose who to strike the most.

Location and Details

Address: Wei-Ling Gallery, 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 10am – 5pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
Exhibition date: 17th September – 31st October 2020


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