Artist talk – Roslisham Ismail ‘Ise’

16 May 2012

EVENT: Art Forum with Roslisham Ismail ‘Ise’
VENUE: Cell Block Theatre, National Art School Gallery
DATE & TIME: 16 May 2012, 1-2pm

Malaysian artist Roslisham Ismail aka ‘Ise’ will discuss his current project commissioned by 4A.

During a previous visit to Sydney, he noticed from his weekly grocery-shopping trips that these retailers habitually spoke Malay amongst each other. This micro-community of Chinese-Malaysians illuminated how a ‘secret’ language could be used as an identifying factor and is particularly interested in examining and looking further into the lives and habits of these vendors; their families, their homes, hopes and dreams, as new migrants. Here, the ‘secret language’ that was initiated through maritime Southeast Asia, is invested with a new agency and purpose, becoming a means of camaraderie adopted to stand for a communal sense of belonging that layers their multiple identities as Chinese, Australians, Malaysians and Singaporeans.

Ise describes his modus operandi as ‘making friends and talking to people’. His practice often utilises an extensive network of collaborators all over the world he calls his ‘superfriends’ and often deals with the personal experience of urban communities through his interactions with different participants.

His recent installation project for Singapore Biennale 2011 explored a cross section of Singaporean domestic lives through an installation of six refrigerators storing groceries that the participating families would normally buy. The project provides an intimate portrayal of the way people live that is reflected through what they buy and eat.

Ise has participated in the Singapore Biennale, 2011; Asia Triennale, Manchester, 2011; Jakarta Biennale, 2009; Istanbul Biennale (with Ruangrupa), 2005. In 2006 he was the Australian High Commission resident at the Gunnery Studio, Art Space, Sydney and held his first solo exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in 2007.