Every month, there is no shortage of public programmes, lectures and exhibition-related activities at Ilham Gallery, Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur.

The upcoming all-day symposium entitled How Easily Modernism Could Be Disturbed on Dec 1 looks set to be one of the gallery’s biggest art-centred public events this year.

The symposium coincides with Ilham Gallery’s current exhibition Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago (1960–1969), which ends in December.

The exhibition, focusing on senior artist/poet Latiff’s work from the days of his formal study of art at the Hochschule fur Bielende Kunste in West Berlin in 1961, to his return to Malaysia in 1964, premiered at Centre Pompidou in Paris in late February this year

How Easily Modernism Could Be Disturbed, the symposium, is presented by National Gallery Singapore and Ilham Gallery.

The panel will include Latiff, as the exhibiting artist, Indonesian poet, writer and playwright Goenawan Mohamad, art historian TK Sabapathy, art historian/curator Somporn Rodboon, Rahel Joseph, Ilham Gallery director, Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, NGS senior curator, artist/writer Zabas (Zainol Abidin Ahmad Sharif), art critic Lee Weng Choy, Simon Soon, senior lecturer, Visual Arts Department, Universiti Malaya, writer/translator Pauline Fan and Tamares Goh, NGS head of curatorial programmes.

How Easily Modernism Could Be Disturbed takes as its point of departure the conceptual concerns that governed Latiff’s modes of working in the 1960s as he navigated a divided Europe and insurgent South-East Asia. Join researchers, artists and curators as they address some of the key areas of thought about Latiff’s early works and art in the region, and its histories, conditions and voices.

Through careful evocations of Latiff’s poetry, writings, and selected audio-visual materials from his personal archives, each discussion will read modernism as one that is tempered by local forms of thinking.


The one-day symposium How Easily Modernism Could Be Disturbed  on Dec 1 at Ilham Gallery – 10am to 6.30pm – is open to the public. Free admission. Registration is necessary, seats are limited. Email: info@ilhamgallery.com. More info: www.ilhamgallery.com.