I won't do it. Sorry

I won't do it. Sorry
This piece, “I won’t do it. Sorry.” No 4. 2023 (22.5in W x 17in H. Art print on IM-609 artist matte canvas 420gsm. 1/8 editions) is part of a breakthrough exhibition that shows that our cultural heritage can be multiculturally created in art forms, drawing talent from various ethnic groups, allowing the participants to understand more deeply each other's cultures. Read more here

WHEN Stephen Menon asked me if I wanted to take part in “The Truth Untold” (read here and here), an exhibition featuring Tamil calligraphy, I jumped at the opportunity. It would be a unique experience to explore Indian culture, exchange thoughts on the subject matter and put together some ideas that had been percolating in my mind for some time.

The title “I won’t do it. Sorry” draws inspiration from Albert Camus’ The Rebel published in the early 1950s. These words are the essence of rebellion.

“I won’t do it. Sorry.” No 1. 2023. 22.5in W x 17in H. Art print on IM-609 artist matte canvas 420gsm. 1/8 editions

In the book, which I read in the early 1970s, Camus (1913-60) stated that saying “no” is the behaviour of a social actor claiming his or her right and, therefore, affirming a value. According to him: “Rebellion cannot exist without the feeling that, somewhere and somehow, one is right. It is in this way that the rebel slave says yes and no simultaneously. He affirms that there are limits and also that he suspects—and wishes to preserve—the existence of certain things on this side of the borderline. He demonstrates, with obstinacy, that there is something in him which ‘is worth while . . .’ and which must be taken into consideration. In a certain way, he confronts an order of things which oppresses him with the insistence on a kind of right not to be oppressed beyond the limit that he can tolerate.”

“I won’t do it. Sorry.” No 2. 2023. 22.5in W x 17in H. Art print on IM-609 artist matte canvas 420gsm. 1/8 editions

Camus at the time read about and bore witness to historical events that started as rebellions but ended up as the worst of autocracies where the actors, collectively, went on rampages to kill, maim and abuse millions in the name of liberty, democracy and/or building a stronger human specie. He wrote:

One might think that a period which, within 50 years, uproots, enslaves or kills 70 million human beings, should only, and forthwith, be condemned. But also its guilt understood. In more ingenuous times, when the tyrant razed cities for his own greater glory, when the slave chained to the conqueror’s chariot was dragged through the rejoicing streets, when enemies were thrown to wild animals in front of assembled people, before such naked crimes consciousness could be steady and judgment unclouded. But slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or the taste for the superhuman cripple judgment. On the day that crime puts on the apparel of innocence, through a reversal peculiar to our age, it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.

Which is why I endorse the idea of rebellion, also of holding power to account. I did it in my own little corner, via the building of communication platforms where alternative, critical information can be disseminated – although, regretfully, such platforms like the mass media in the West now, can be turned into propaganda machines that buttress inhuman state and elite agendas. This is where I hope that the participants within such organisations would rebel. In the case of Gaza, after weeks of disinformation, over 1,300 journalists (as at Nov 13, 2023), many in the West, finally came out to protest. Read here. Indeed, in a much wider context, the worldwide protests against governments and companies that support the Israeli genocide in Gaza is an example par excellence of rebellion.

“I won’t do it. Sorry.” No 3. 2023. 22.5in W x 17in H. Art print on IM-609 artist matte canvas 420gsm. 1/8 editions

The problem with such mass rebellions however, as Camus rightly pointed out, is that they could negate the very impulses they originated from. Which is why it is very important that the seeds of the original feelings be planted into the alternatives to be grown.

“I won’t do it. Sorry.” No 4. 2023. 22.5in W x 17in H. Art print on IM-609 artist matte canvas 420gsm. 1/8 editions

The creation of such alternatives would involve lengthy negotiations and compromises. It would involve a communications nexus that allows for freedom, equality and trust. But that’s another long, long story...

Press Release by Art Voice on ‘The Truth Untold’

ArtVoice Presents “The Truth Untold”: A Fusion of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy by 20 Malaysian Artists

ArtVoice, a beacon of artistic expression, is excited to announce its upcoming art exhibition, “The Truth Untold.” This extraordinary event promises to be a vibrant celebration of creativity, culture, Tamil Typography, and Calligraphy. Featuring the works of 20 exceptionally talented Malaysian artists, this exhibition is set to captivate and inspire art enthusiasts and culture aficionados.

Title: The Truth Untold
Date: November 11th – 30th, 2023 Location: ArtVoice Gallery, Sentul
Curated by: Mr. Stephen Menon

“The Truth Untold” is a unique exploration of the world of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy, offering a fresh perspective on these ancient art forms that are deeply rooted in history and culture. Each of the 20 artists will present their unique interpretation of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy, infusing life into the characters and scripts, and unveiling the untold stories they carry within.

This exhibition serves as a testament to the rich diversity of Malaysia’s art scene. Each artist brings a distinct style and perspective to the forefront, creating a captivating fusion of tradition and contemporary art. “The Truth Untold” elegantly showcases the seamless integration of the Tamil script with modern creativity.

Renowned curator Mr. Stephen Menon has meticulously selected these 20 talented artists, ensuring that “The Truth Untold” represents the zenith of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy in contemporary art. Visitors can anticipate a thought-provoking journey through the world of Tamil script, where the boundaries between tradition and innovation blur.

“The Truth Untold” promises to be a cultural milestone, inviting visitors to engage with the beauty and depth of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy, while simultaneously exploring the creative expressions of the artists. It offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stories concealed within the graceful curves and lines of this ancient script, as interpreted by these 20 Malaysian artists.

ArtVoice cordially invites everyone to participate in this cultural celebration from November 11th to 30th, 2023. The exhibition is open to the public, providing a platform for art enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and the general public to experience the enchantment of Tamil Typography and Calligraphy.

Do not miss this remarkable event. “The Truth Untold” promises to unveil the hidden narratives within Tamil Typography and Calligraphy and inspire a deeper appreciation for these captivating art forms. Mark your calendars for this extraordinary exhibition.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact: Sharini Yogi – Gallery Manager
Phone: 016 3028 307
Email: shariniyogi@gmail.com

Read more about this exhibition here
Lim Siang Jin

Lim Siang Jin