[Gallery impression, Being: Ahmad Zakii Anwar, NUS Museum, 2009]
Date: 26 April -7 June 2009
Venue: NUS MUSEUM
Ahmad Zakii Anwar's most recent series,Being, presents a sustained encounter with the body as an intertwined metaphor of the contemporary Self based on the Sufi premise of "knowing oneself and then knowing God". Zakii does not position Islam as a counterpoint to Western thoughts and ideas. Rather, he recognizes the contingency of history and ontology in opening an inquiry on the body, subjecting it to the vexing discourse of the contemporary, and the emancipatory nature of Sufi spirituality as productive acts of remembrance and communion. The lone figures allude to the body as a site which brings together physicality, mentality and cosmology, constantly transacting with rationalist positions on the question of body and mind. As a result, Being, stands as an ambivalent response to narrow assertions that Islam is essentially a rigid and ascetically rigorous religion, uniquely disengaged from the flesh.