Solo Exhibition:-

Nor Tijan Firdaus

1st February – 26th February 2024

Core Contemporary Art, SJCC Gallery

*Click on images to zoom in

Hailing from Klang, Malaysia, Nor Tijan Firdaus, a UiTM postgraduate specializing in Sculpture and minoring in Painting, unfolds a new chapter in her artistic journey with the exhibition “SEEK.” Following her impactful debut solo exhibition, “New Formal,” where she reimagined the works of Western and Malaysian modern masters, Tijan takes a deeper dive into discarded materials, sustainability, and materialism in her latest venture.

Her academic venture as an MA student at UiTM Jalan Othman, especially a seminar on sustainability in Art and Design, profoundly influences Tijan. This experience sparks her contemplation of the environmental repercussions of waste, seamlessly integrated into her art. Juggling the demands of a young family heightens her awareness of accumulating discarded items, leading to reflections on the pervasive throwaway culture associated with technology, clothing, toys, and furniture.

The exhibition’s title, “SEEK,” encapsulates Tijan’s ongoing journey of discovery and introspection, particularly her stance on anti-consumerism. Within the seven works of art, Tijan employs the theme of games to articulate her concerns about ongoing consumerism. Popular imagery from well-known video games such as Pac-Man and Super Mario indirectly suggests that the addiction to video games is akin to consumerism—it’s insatiable. Beyond symbolic game imagery, Tijan uses toys to create assemblages for typography with messages like “I JUST NEED MONEY” and “WE WANT YOU,” continuing the narrative of the allure that product manufacturers use in consumer marketing to convince consumers that they need to buy the latest product, whether needed or not.

In this exhibition, four pieces deviate from the normal shape with cutout shapes of the ‘ghost’ from Pac-Man. In these cutout shapes, she embeds familiar visuals of landscapes such as mountains, trees, seaside, and flowers. This invites viewers to contemplate the metaphorical maze of human pursuit, mirroring Pac-Man’s consumption of pellets. The ‘ghost’ shapes stand as symbolic reminders of collective impact, with caution signs and animal symbols in “Keperluan ada Keperluan” and “The Price of Progress” starkly reminding of the devastation brought upon the environment and ourselves.

In “Keperluan ada Keperluan,” it is interesting that Tijan uses an industrial crop which is rubber trees. Despite rubber trees providing a lush green landscape, the plantation creates deforestation, and its byproduct, rubber, is one of the hardest waste products to dispose of.

Intriguingly, ‘Harmony Reclaimed’ presents a vivid mountainscape with jagged, polygonal peaks, artfully conveying the transformative impact of human actions on nature. Deliberate cuts in the artwork symbolize the toll on mountains, exploited for various resources in the name of progress. Tijan invites viewers to contemplate the visible scars etched on the Earth, a consequence of humanity’s unrelenting pursuit of development.

Conceptual pieces like “Silent Conversations” and “The Quest” delve into familiar landscapes of chessboards and video games. “Silent Conversations” combines a chessboard game with a dialogue box, symbolizing the ongoing battle between human progress and the environment, advocating for a more sustainable approach to development. “The Quest” seamlessly merges the beloved Super Mario video game with a nature background, vividly illustrating the stark contrast between our digital world and the natural environment, emphasizing the need for individuals to take action in saving nature.

In many instances when Tijan salvages e-waste for her art, she finds products thrown away with packaging still intact. This effect goes to show often consumers are buying products based on impulse rather than truly needing them, prompting Tijan to take action in her own artistic way to discuss her principles of anti-consumerism. In her earlier piece “The Allure of More I” from the Yellow group exhibition at Core Design Gallery, Tijan discusses the allure of consumerism and materialism. Through the assemblage of toys to create typography with the message of “I JUST NEED MONEY,” a very literal message that highlights human desires in pursuit of the latest technology, newest products, or the best materials whether needed or not. “The Allure of More II” with the message #WE WANT YOU is a continuation of the narrative of consumerism, illustrating how product marketing from manufacturers constantly reminds consumers to continually purchase. The constant pursuit results in significant waste due to the continuous upgrade and desire for new products, creating a pervasive culture of throwaway.

Building on the success of her debut solo exhibition, Tijan defies artistic norms, inviting viewers to engage with her art without excessive superlatives. Each meticulously crafted piece prompts reflection on the consequences of our technological footprint on the landscapes we inhabit. “SEEK: Nor Tijan’s Artistic Journey Continues” serves as a poignant extension of Tijan’s exploration of the delicate equilibrium between humanity and the natural world. Through her art, she offers a nuanced perspective on the intersection of art and environmental consciousness, inviting viewers to embark on a contemplative journey.