Anne Samat has an uncanny ability to make even the ordinary seem special. It is in her works, where traditional weaving techniques combine with toy soldiers, zippers and neon plastic chains, and it is also in how she drawls, “Oh sugar, don’t ever be afraid to be yourself.”
“It sounds like a cliche but it is so true, everyone should be able to feel like they can be honest to themselves,” says Anne.
The first edition of Anne’s Freedom series marks a transition of sorts in her artistic journey.
“Freedom stands for something greater than just the right to act however I choose – it stands for securing to everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” she adds.
It is this desire for freedom that took her from “a comfortable life to a far more fulfilling one”.
“Our true self is who we really are when we let go of all the stories, labels and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks of pretension,” she says.
No doubt, the Sultanate In The Eye, Monarchy At Heart exhibition at KL’s Richard Koh Fine Art symbolises a natural progression of things in her world, but it is also tells a tale of being brave enough to strike out in uncharted territory.
The space Anne, 44, now finds herself in is one where she shakes off the shackles and isn’t afraid to take flight.
“When I started weaving in my university days, I was completely absorbed in the colours and patterns. But I was also very concerned about containing it all within a frame,” recalls Anne, who holds a degree in art and design (textile design) from UiTM.
A few years ago, she broke free of convention by thinking outside the box – quite literally. She did away with the rigid frame and straight lines, and ventured into the great unknown.
With this show, she is finally spreading her wings.
Sultanate In The Eye, Monarchy At Heart, features elaborate eight floor and wall-mounted installations that merge meticulously woven segments with everyday objects such as nuts and bolts, washers, rakes and shovels, taps, sieves and cutlery.
They are majestic and imposing, some of the works stopping just shy of three metres in height. But above all, they are vibrant, colourful and harmonious, the many different elements combining to form a radiant whole.
“These works come from a place of total freedom. In creating them, I followed my heart, went with the flow, listened to what speaks strongly to me. In earlier works I was often unsure, but now all of that self-doubt that is a thing of the past,” explains Anne.
True freedom, to her, also means being able to open your heart to things around you and be receptive to opportunities.
“One has to collect the little things that come to you in life and learn how to connect them. Your experiences, your knowledge, love and friendships … they all come together for form the fabric of life,” she says.
“In my case, I connect textures and colours by weaving, and as a whole, they channel the complexities of life,” she adds.
The KL-based Anne shows off her expertise in traditional weaving techniques here; it is what forms the foundation of each sculpture, prominently located smack in the middle, at the heart of it all.
“It is weaving that forms the core of my work, this part of our culture that I embrace wholeheartedly. But by combining domestic paraphernalia with a traditional weaving technique. I believe that I’ve managed to inject a new life into these seemingly banal materials as they morph into something incredible,” she says.
Anne is certain that Sultanate In The Eye, Monarchy At Heart is just the beginning of her Freedom series, that it is merely the start of a great adventure.
“I have a feeling that as I continue to explore, these installations will just increase in size and number. Deep inside me I know there is more to come, because I have so much more to give,” she says.
Anne is currently showing her other works at the Yokohama Triennale in Japan. Other group exhibitions this year include Di Mana (Where Are) YOUng? at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Art Stage Singapore, Art Central Hong Kong and VOLTA 13 in Basel, Switzerland.
Sultanate In The Eye, Monarchy At Heart is on at Richard Koh Fine Art, 229, Jalan Maarof in KL till Aug 23. Open: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am-7pm. For more information, call 03-2095 3300 or visit www.rkfineart.com.