Abdul Shakir, Digital sketch of Imbang, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
Imbang is a set of 6 Pohon Beringin (Tree of Life) elements in 3D render. The Pohon Beringin is a cosmological symbol of balance between life and death. The motif can be found in Wayang Kulit, a traditional form of puppet-shadow play originally found in the cultures of Indonesia and Malaysia.
Imbang means balance in the Malay language. As elucidated in its title, Imbang explores balance and duality in relation to self-identity: how we feel torn, divided and at war with different sides of ourselves. In this work, Grasshopper is fascinated by the internal struggle of negotiating his various ‘selves’. In many ways, his identity has been formed by reconciling with duality: designer and artist, Malaysian and Western pop culture, old and new, good and bad. But sometimes these sides of ourselves tell us different things. Which side do we listen to? Which side do we trust? How do we balance and stay connected to the different sides of ourselves?
In Maths, symmetry creates balance and allows for properties to remain unchanged under certain transformations. Transformation is possible when there is duality. By reflecting the symmetry of each visual to the shape of the Pohon Beringin, Sha explores the meeting of opposites and presents a natural tension that comes from it. People often see transformation as an act that replaces the old with the new, but what if we could bring them both to balance? Is transformation always better?
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Abdul Shakir (also known as ‘Grasshopper’) is a multidisciplinary multimedia artist and one of the co-founders of Filamen, which focuses on projection mapping, light installation and interactive installation projects. Shakir has worked in post-production and production agencies, and has done various projects related to design and art: graphic design, motion graphics, projection mapping and interactive installation. He has exhibited as Grasshopper in several local and international exhibitions. Some of the notable platforms in which he has shown his work are Digital Art Gallery, Graphika Manila 2021, Bangkok Projection Mapping Competition 2021, and Cosmolight Projection Mapping (Greece).