FASA2020: Showcasing the Lecturers’ Works
By Danial bin Fuad

Long ago, to be an art educator, one had to be a good practicing artist, like Ansel Adams at the San Francisco Art Institute or Ismail Hashim, who was dean of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Pusat Seni. These days, as the need for lecturers outpace supply, more and more lecturers emerge from universities without any industry experience. To overcome that, several art schools have heldlecturer exhibitions to strengthen the art educators’ industry experience. This is the case for FASA2020: Unforeseen, an exhibition to show the capabilities of lecturers from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), in collaboration with three other Indonesian universities.

A total of 17 lecturers producing 70 works were involved in this virtual exhibition, each of them showcasing their abilities in their own genre. Although the quality of the works fluctuate, this move of showcasing the works is commendable. The categorisation of photography as a fine art has been debated ever since its inception in the 1830s, so it can be quite hard to create works for an exhibition. The line between fine art and vernacular (photography by non-artists for purposes such as forensic, scientific or governmental archives) is very thin.

Experimentation has always been a vital element in photography, as the invention of photography itself took various attempts. Aidah Alias, a UiTM lecturer, showcases various experimentation methods in her piece “/ɪˈmɪsɪb(ə)l/”. Bringing to mind photograms, a method made famous by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Aidah mixes and heats up liquid and oil before shooting the subjects. This results in an abstract image resembling a microscopic view of the artist’s visualisation of the Covid-19 virus.

Iwan Zahar works about life cycles

Other interesting work is from Iwan Zahar, a lecturer from Universitas Esa Unggul (UEU), Jakarta. Entitled “Life and Death”, Iwan produces five images for this work that consists of both dead and live animals. His artist's statement explains that this work is about how close humans are to the cycle of life and it can come to anyone, no matter the status. The most fascinating image from this work is one of a lamb facing dark clouds, as it shows that death is coming to us. . The shot of an almost-preserved dead cat is also another interesting piece as it resembles post-mortem photography, a genre that was famous during the Victorian era.

Muhammad Fauzi works recalled back photodynamism

Muhammad Fauzi, another lecturer from UEU also presents fascinating abstract works. Capturing motion is something photographers are familiar from the days when Eadweard Muybridge produced “The Horse in Motion”. Instead of freezing the motion frame by frame like Muybridge, Muhammad juxtaposes multiple movements and packs them into one image. The result is something abstract, dynamic, and full of motion. When viewing the image, Anton Giulio Bragaglia, an Italian Futurist photographer who invented photodynamism, came to mind. The artist's statement explains that the abstract movements produce the symbol of an ear. This relates to the pandemic as the ear is where information during the pandemic is received.

Double exposure photography was famous during the 1860s as a way for photographers to make extra money. Now, most double exposure photography is less related to commercialism than self-expression as shown in Norfadilah Kamaruddin’s work. She superimposes two images into one to express wearing multiple hats throughout her life journey. The way she juxtaposes two images and her selection of colors somehow gives out a nostalgic feel, strengthening her artist’s statement.

Educators pass down their thoughts and ideas; so to be a good educator, one must have a strong understanding of what one is doing. Given that this was a lecturer showcase, I was unexpectedly underwhelmed by what was on display. Perhaps the pandemic was the reason for the sub-par works. In any case, lecturer exhibitions are a great initiative, and I’m looking forward to a stronger FASA in the future.

FASA2020: Unforeseen is an online exhibition that can be viewed at www.photographyuitm.com/fasa2020 from 11 December 2020 to 31 January 2021.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author's own and do not reflect those of CENDANA. CENDANA reserves the right to be excluded from any liabilities, losses, damages, defaults, and/or intellectual property infringements caused by the views and opinions expressed by the author in this article at all times, during or after publication, whether on this website or any other platforms hosted by CENDANA or if said opinions/views are republished on third party platforms.

Danial Fuad is a participant of the CENDANA - ASWARA Arts Writing Mentorship Programme 2020-2021.

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