Haffendi Anuar is an artist from Malaysia, whose work spans sculpture, painting, installation and drawing. Based in both Kuala Lumpar and London, Anuar’s experience of life between continents has led to an interest in using his creative practice to explore postcolonialism, architecture, ways of living and identity construction.
Rumah Berkaki (Legged House) presents two aspects of Anuar’s artistic output. In Unit (2021), he uses sculpture to explore the iconography of the kain pelikat, a colourful sarong worn by men across South and South-East Asia for centuries. Inspired by memories of playing with his father’s kain pelikat, Unit experiments with the garment as an architectural form and as a signifier of physical bodily presence. Depicting a same-sex male couple and their child, Unit sets the kain pelikat against Malaysian ideas on love and masculinity and gives form to Anuar’s exploration of his identity as a queer South-East Asian artist.
The kain pelikat also forms part of Anuar’s Cobweb series. These paintings revise existing photographs, one from the artist’s family albums, the other from the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Both are structured around a web, intended to reference an overarching post-colonial legacy. Together, they document Anuar’s shifting sense of self and interrogation of the Western gaze and institutional histories.
This exhibition is part of Ikon’s Arrivals programme for Summer 2022, concerned with the international movement of people and ideas and organised to coincide with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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Haffendi Anuar is a multidisciplinary artist living and working between Malaysia and UK. He was the joint winner for the first outdoor sculpture commission for the Battersea power station development in partnership with the Cass Sculpture Foundation in 2017 and was the recipient of the Vivien Leigh 2020 award from the Ashmolean Museum.