Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pak Samad's Land

I am much fascinated to learn that author laureate A. Saman Said is also a talented artist and more fascinated still to learn how he uses his sketches as part of his preparation for writing.

E.N. de Silva writes in Starmag today:

For Pak Samad, as he’s widely known, the manuscripts are experimental overtures that are parallel and almost second nature to his work.

“When I write, describe a place, create a mood, drawing helps to extends the possibilities of imagination,” said the 72-year-old in a telephone interview before the launch of Daerah Samad. “I can’t do without those scribbles; they form the heartbeat to my writings.”

The images illuminate the words in compelling ways. For instance, one of his manuscripts appears to detail the thoughts of a person witnessing the marriage of his or her youngest daughter. To this raw and personal rumination, which was initially crossed out and then rewritten, Pak Samad added a swirl of jagged and cursive lines that seem to illustrate internalised and torn emotions.
The author/artist most often uses serviettes in cafes as his canvas, preferring those in Dome, Coffee Bean and Starbucks because of their better quality! He says he has a collection of over a thousand of them and has kept the ones which most informed his work:
The array of serviettes, which run through the years, deals with a variety of subjects, ranging from whimsical self-portraits and elaborately penned prose framed around calligraphic blobs and swirls to detailed sketches of those symbols of modernity, a mobile phone, a bottled drink and a wristwatch.

But one of the more compelling sketches is the signature piece of the exhibition, depicting two elegant, willow-like trees shooting out of some shrubs.

Examples of more formal sketches. The words in the sketch on the extreme left tell the thoughts of a father witnessing the marriage of his child while the jagged lines surrounding the words graphically illustrate the strong emotions present.
A discoloured stain, perhaps of coffee, lingers at the side of the red- and black-inked sketch, which, to me, somewhat emphasises how Pak Samad’s creative flights of fancy had to be made concrete on mundane, every day objects like coffee-stained serviettes.

“This particular sketch was about growth, regeneration,” says Pak Samad.

“I can’t quite remember when I did this sketch but I do remember the mood, the feeling and the intention – and that’s all that is important to me.”
The exhibition Daerah Samad: 100 Sketches by A. Samad Said runs until July 15 at Galeri Petronas.

Raja Ahmad Aminullah delivered the opening address at the opening of the exhibition and you can read it (in Malay) on the Kakiseni website.


lil ms d said...

wow. i cant even scribble. fantastic. pelukismelukis pens poems and draws, bernice shoots, writes, create, kam writes and does films, amir writes and does films too - we have a versatile literary scene!

afi m. said...

You even forgot to mention that there'll be a workshop, "Poetry in Motion" on June 30th!
I didn't know that he sketches, too. Now let's hope I can drop by at the exhibition sometime soon.

bibliobibuli said...

ms d - yes i'm gobsmacked too. feel decidedly talentless beside these guys

afi m - i don't know about the workshop. please tell ...

afi m. said...

I read it in the Star, Friday. Not much details, just the date. It's a workshop on "ways to translate the narrative form into the abstract and movement".
Also, there will be a curator talk and artist walkthrough with Pak Samad himself on June 23rd. :)

bibliobibuli said...

sounds very interesting! if i have time i will drop by thurs and see what's happening

bibliobibuli said...

found the link to the piece you mention

animah said...

Afi M, June 23rd? What time??

Perhaps there may be some merit to the doodles I make on hotel notepads during dull seminars. Actually, I only seem to draw coconut trees...