Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kimekomi Craft| Bringing Japan Home





I always say ‘In every country you visited, you’ll a piece of it home’, and for Kak Latifah, Kimekomi craft has found a new home. Malaysia.



A foodie will hunt for good food, a photographer will scout for beautiful subject, a fashionista clothes, and an artisan or craftsman, art and craft (obviously). And this is the story of Kak Latifah Hamzah of Pulau Indah, the artisan behind easy-tuck craft or kimekomi, as what the Japanese calls them; the birth place of this few centuries old craft.

Traveling to Japan in 2015 was certainly a life changing mexperience for Kak Latifah, marveling at kimekomi craft during one of her many subway train ride, has sparked Kak Latifah’s interest and now has become her greatest passion. And what makes it even greater is the fact that she combines our very own Malaysia heritage; batik and songket into this old craft from Japan. The result – astounding.


I remembered telling Sham that when you have a good story behind a great product, it makes us; digital storyteller easy to write. Well, ‘easy’ is an understatement really, the right word should be eager, excited, enthusiastic or perhaps passionate as we felt the artisan love and sincerity in producing the craft, and the depth is rather contagious and overwhelming. Thus me writing this, enjoying and appreciating the artisan and their craft even more.

‘Wah’ and ‘Ooooh’ was the first (and only) thing you hear as we entered her studio, just like her subway experience, we too went googoo gaga over the art pieces. This is especially amplified when we laid our eyes on her ‘kebaya songket girls’ as well as her ‘owl family’ piece. Awestruck (I wasn’t even this awestruck when I saw Sheila Majid during her concert recently). First thing that came into my mind (and I verbalized it [after all, I can only contain so much]) was ‘Kak Latifah, berapa harga ni?’ / how much does this piece cost?, wanting to own it.



One must wonder, why the fuss over her art piece?
Here’s the thing, not only she combines our batik and songket into this centuries old craft, she formulates it in a way that it portrays our beautiful aMalaysia heritage and hculture; girls wearing traditional malay attire such as baju kurung pahang, kebaya, cekak musang and etc, easy-tucked it with songket fabric. If Kak Latifah marveled at what saw in Japan subway, we now are experiencing and doing the same. In a magnifying scale. And more.

She strongly believes that there are more than one way to promote our heritage and culture – batik and songket, by using kimekomi craft, she is able to combine both our fabric (heritage) and traditional attire (culture) into a beautiful art piece that can be easily sold, transport and showcased to public.


Knowing very well that she takes custom made orders, participate in exhibition and sells some of her work of art online, I ask her on her next step and as I suspected - ‘beginner classes’. So, you guys out there, go to the link below and follow Kak Latifah on her Facebook and wait for her announcement on craft classes.

What is Kimekomi craft?
"Kimekomi" means to "tuck in" in Japanese. Farbric is of Japanese design silk brocade tucked (and/or glued) into grooves that was carefully carved into.


This craft dated as far back as early 18th century. A priest at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto named Tadashige Takahashi created a doll body from scraps of willow wood trees and covered it with left over fabrics used for the Shrine festivals, thus the name Kamo dolls. However, kimekomi doll is not temari ball craft as often confused.
  


For more info on Kak Latifah’s artwork : https://www.facebook.com/queenlscrafts/





Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor) and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.












Sunday, August 20, 2017

The True Meaning of Girl Power | Artsis Studio



This time around, Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 brought a refreshing flavor, one that I initially thought was a great idea, later spellbounded by the sincerity, intention (niat) and generosity that I definitely knew there’s hope in our community, humanity and country. (Yeah I know! Sounded a little dramatic but in all honesty, this is how I really felt). And this is how my self-reflection journey started…


A family that creates Art together, stays together.


That was how Uncle started his conversation, believing that art keeps his family united. He even jokingly told us that his love for art was not materialize during his younger days hence him imposing it onto his children, of which, it really paid off. Alhamdulillah. I doubt there’s any regret among them, in fact, I think they rather enjoy it (and appreciate it of cause). Fast forward years later, they are now a known artist in their own right; a career woman that combines passion and academic – successful marketers, graphic designer, PR specialist and town planner. And as if what they’ve achieved is not (good) enough, they decided to give back to the community by starting an art class for kids in the neighbor, hopefully expending to adult art class (of which I plan to enroll *wink*).


Having honored by The Malaysia Guinness Books of Records for having the most artist in a family created the curiosity in me, reason being their abah, fondly called by the children; Dato’ Haji Mohd Yusoff Jaafar was the former Commissioner of Police, Sarawak. Police force; a person whom many would presumably felt strict, fierce and boring. And Oh Boy! Was I wrong, he was everything but. He not only instilled the love for art into his kids at young age, he cultivated their talent, nurtured their genre and supported their interest. Unsurprisingly, some of his kids not only have painting as talent, they are also actively involved in music – also a form of art. This can be seen is some of their artwork.


Like a little Cheshire cat, I asked further, the genre of each of the sibling’s artwork, and the same time learning the name of the genre. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone I call it *grin*. I soon learn those painting with human element where in photography is called portraiture is called figurative in painting (correct me if I am wrong here), noticed that some of the sign-off is by Yati; the eldest sister. Then there’s Van Gogh style, one that looks like Starry Starry Night; not quite sure which sister mastered this genre, then there’s also na├»ve art of which I kinda like it. But one that captivated me the most is the sister (forgotten her name, silly me) that dotted on her paintings, claiming that she doesn’t fancy ‘a flat/solid surface’ and I told her that the first thing came to my mine is Australia aborigine art. I bet she’ll be famous if she exhibits her work of art there. You go girl!


My curiosity need to be fed, I enquired on the format of the art classes for kids. Guiding and nurturing kids’ talent is what we ‘all expected, but as usual, the family when over and beyond to teach these kids, they taught them to see beyond the bubble’, as it is not colourless, it came in many sizes and that it glitters. Grasp that and translate it onto the drawing board. Aside from that, the classes also share the background of the artist itself, the genre and history behind it. This way, the understanding and appreciation of art is more robust, more depth and full of soul, not a mere 2Ds; on a piece of paper.

After asking my usual ‘Why, When, Who and What’, I came to realized that I actually ran out of questions (which is kinda rare for me, those whom know me well will vouch for this).



‘Teruja’ and ‘terkesima’ is an understatement when you meet them Art Sis; a true to life Girl Power.


So, step aside Power Puff Girls, bow to them queens! *flip tudung*


Artsis Studio
Email : artsisstudio@gmail.com
FB Page : Artsis Studio
Instagram : @artsisstudi
Mobile : +6018-327 0902
Town : USJ 9, UEP Subang Jaya




Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor) and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.











Thursday, June 8, 2017

Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah | Intricacy of Kelarai




Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah; a mosque similar to Istana Kenangan that I never knew existed until now.



The intricacy of kelarai or woven strip bamboo; a heritage art form of Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah wall has made this mosque famous nation wide. Also known as Masjid Kampung Kuala Dal, it shares similiarity with Istana Kenangan in Bukit Chandan of which it was influenced by.

Located just 4.8km from the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar, this unique 1936 mosque with arabes motif was financed by Al-Marhum Paduka Seri Sultan Iskandar Shah, the Sultan of Perak and was built by a Chinese craftsmen, helped by the locals. Leafy windows (approximately 20 of them) decorated with "straight punch, no silat" carved with peanuts, Crescent moon and stars are located around the masjid (mosque). It is said that what makes Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah unique is because of the architectural design, aside from its kelarai with arabes motif, it is aslo said to resembled a bird cage.



The story behind it is pretty interesting, according to Jabatan Warisan Negara, the mosque was built after the Sultan had fulfilled the vow to build a mosque when one of his children recovered from an illness and will donate RM 8,000.00 to build a new mosque on a piece of land granted by Juragan Abdul Shukur bin Mohamad Ali. This decision was made upon Sultan Iskandar Shah returning from a picnic at Lata Bubu, seeing his subjects praying in a dilapidated madrasah. Being a pious leader, he believes that a mosque is not just a house of God but an important place for the community. Therefore, he had commissioned the construction of Masjid Ihsaniah Iskandariah of which named after him.

The architecture of the mosque was inspired by the Sultan himself, where else the construction of the mosque was built by Chinese artisans and assisted by local residents. The ornamentation and wall of the mosque are also carved and woven by locals making it even more special. However, the mosque was not used in 1976 after a new mosque known as Al-Wahidiah Mosque was built just next to it.




In 2008, Jabatan Warisan Negara (Department of National Heritage) has initiated the conservation work on the mosque. Upon the the completion of restoration work on 17 Dec 2009, DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah officially re-opened the mosque on 6 May 2011 and it was accorded heritage status by the Jabatan Warisan Negara.



Above the importance of unique historical buildings and architecture, the National Heritage Department has carried out conservation work in December 2008. Among the problems faced by the project is the preparation of the backdrop due to the absence of skilled craftsmen and the lack of manufacturing materials ie bamboo oils Locally to create a cliff wall. Therefore, the National Heritage Department has obtained a wickerwork and bamboo source from Perlis State according to the original type. This conservation work has been carried out using systematic work arrangements to preserve the originality of original architecture.

- Jabatan Warisan Negara –







Both ‘Jelajah Kesultanan dan Warisan Melayu Perak 2017’ and ‘Perak World of Wonders -- Ramadhan Edition 2017’ Media Fam Trip are organised by Tourism Malaysia with KTMB as main transportation partner and Tourism Malaysia with #GayaTravel as media coordinator respectively.










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