Art Kaohsiung 2018
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

30 November - 2 December 2018


Artist: Mahdi Abdullah

Vin Gallery is pleased to present Mahdi Abdullah’s latest works Two Sides of The Medal at Indonesia Pavilion at the Pier-2 Art Center.

The Two Sides of the Medal exhibition by Yogyakarta-based artist Mahdi Abdullah highlights dualism in life and the ordeals faced by women of his hometown Aceh during past military operations.

“The Acehnese women bore witness to the prevailing violence in the province, but I also wish to reveal the widespread violence and terrorism in Java and Sulawesi,” Mahdi told The Jakarta Post on Oct. 1.

The former journalist said not many people paid attention to dualism in life; black and white, heaven and earth, left and right, virtue and evil, visible and invisible. They serve as a “sign” to remind man of the choices he makes.

Mahdi’s painting titled Tamu (Guest), for instance, highlights the human and animalistic natures of a man. The painting shows a man with a butterfly perching on his finger. Behind him, a creature with a butterfly head and wings rests its right hand on the man’s shoulder.

“I choose butterflies because people here [in Java] believe that when a butterfly enters a house, it means a guest will come,” said Mahdi, who studied at the Indonesian Fine Art Academy (ASRI) in Yogyakarta as an audit student.

Mahdi criticizes some groups’ tendency of using religion to oppress women in his painting, Sound Up and Sound Down. Two loudspeakers are seen attached to a tall pole. Behind the speakers, a group of men scream at a veiled woman, who bends down and covers her face.

The painting cleverly depicts the opposing sides of reality. A mosque’s speaker is intended to convey a message on virtuous deeds, but it instead produces an adverse impact on people because it is too loud. In Aceh, the men preach about religious norms to gain power and oppress women.

Text Credit: The Jakarta Post

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