Sunday, February 14, 2010

Visit to Pakharuddin Sulaiman's gallery

When a whole motley crew of artists and collectors get together, it is usually at an exhibition opening, and it is usually a kind of an awkward affair -- you're there for the sake of the art gallery owner or the artist whose works are being displayed...well, not all the time lah...Other than these two people, you hardly know anybody else there, and pretend to look very interested in the paintings to escape from having to make small talk.

In November last year, such a gathering came together. But it wasn't at any of those commercial art galleries, and it wasn't for any exhibition opening. It was at Pakharuddin and Fatimah's gallery of their collected art works somewhere in Ampang. It wasn't the least bit awkward, thanks to Pakha's unique personality to bring all sorts of people into the conversation.

It felt, rather, like a much-anticipated tour -- the ones my school always arranged for its students to go on some educational field trip -- headed by Pakha himself! The "students" in this case included artists, friends and collectors. Among them were Tengku Sabri, Raja Shahriman, and U-Wei.

Pakha's gallery was really impressive, filled with paintings and sculptures. He knew every piece in his collection, the story behind each work and the reason for collecting them. Another part of his collection that was mind-boggling was his books -- lined up neatly against the walls. Another voracious reader, Tengku Sabri, was similarly impressed with his books, too!

After the gallery tour, Pakha and his wife took us to lunch -- the first choice, to eat assam pedas, had to be cancelled because the restaurant was closed. We finally went to an Indonesian restaurant where we all gathered around a long table like a big artist family gathering!

Pakha, as always, was very lively and had an interesting opinion, or unique perspective, on everything...entertaining us with all the latest news in the art circle...and the gossips! Tak kering gusi langsung to be in his company!

(The last two photos of me are with Raja Shahriman the sculptor whose works were at the time being displayed in a solo at Petronas Gallery, and with one of Pakha's collection which was my favourite, a work by Amron Omar)

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