50 years ago, in 2019… I made a work called ‘In The Skin of A Tiger: Monument To What We Want (Tugu Kita)’. The installation of banners was based on 13 shapes in a magical configuration. It’s a monument to change – a memorial for Malaysia’s 14th General Elections, which saw the ruling coalition voted out for the first time in the nation’s history. The work is also about expressing collective desire on a large scale.
This year, during Covid lockdown, I made a series of prints that played with the original composition in 20 different configurations. This series is called ‘Country Musik: Movements #1 – 20’. There are 3 editions for each configuration. Edition 1 is kept intact as a set. Edition 2 is for sale individually here on my website. Edition 3 was given to friends in exchange for writing a personal ‘letter to what we want’. These letters are being serialized on my blog.
Together, the 20 compositions are a kind of music that reflects the massive shifts of 2020 – from the Covid pandemic to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan goverment in March, just before the nation went into its first lockdown. These movements therefore played out in confined, private spaces. As we stepped to the tune of larger forces, it felt important to keep a lookout for our desires. ‘Country Musik’ is my way of putting the score back in our own hands. Given limted parts, we still make music, we make meaning, we make this country what we want it to be.