UNPACK – REPACK: A Tribute to Ismail Hashim
(1940 – 2013) Exhibition
The Family of the late Ismail Hashim and Fergana Art present an exhibition titled “UNPACK – REPACK: A Tribute to Ismail Hashim (1940 – 2013)”. This exhibition features the works of the late Ismail Hashim at The Whiteaways Arcade, George Town, Penang from 23 June – 31 August 2014. The exhibition will then travel to the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in February 2015.
Curated by one of Malaysia’s most prominent artists/curators, Wong Hoy Cheong, the exhibition takes the audience through five rooms of Ismail Hashim’s creative preoccupations drawn mainly from the archives/estate he left behind. It features known works selected by friends and colleagues, recontextualisations and readings of Ismail Hashim’s collection of negatives, contact prints and test prints as well as personal documents, writings and photographic equipment and materials from his studio.
As the title suggests, this exhibition proposes to unpack and make transparent various trajectories of representation and presentation with the hope that the audience will come to their own understanding as they negotiate through the exhibition space, and encounter the interrelationships of the narratives.
“Ismail Hashim, the wit and soul of Malaysian photography, will best be remembered for his incisive socio-commentary.” Ismail Hashim: Legacy behind the lens, The Star Online.
One of the highlights of the exhibition includes Ismail Hashim’s last known project before he passed away. This work-in-progress, sparked off by an earlier work in 2009/2010, shows the artist engaging with a new series of time-lapse digital images of ants, possibly taking his photography practice towards a new direction in his attempt to embrace digital technology.
The broader aim of this project is not only to curate a tribute exhibition from the Estate of the late Ismail Hashim, but also to document and conserve his creative output, and to consolidate it into an archive for both public and educational purposes.
The exhibition together with its accompanying catalogue will be officially launched in August in conjunction with George Town Festival 2014. There will also be several talks and workshops running concurrently with the George Town Festival celebrations.
About Ismail Hashim
Ismail Hashim was born in 1940 in Ulu Sungai Ara, Penang. In 1959, he entered the Teachers’ Training College and three years later was seconded to the Federation School for the Deaf in Penang. He obtained further qualifications from the University of Manchester to become a qualified teacher for the deaf and gained a certificate in Art Teaching from the Specialist Teachers’ Training Institute (STTI) in Kuala Lumpur. His next few years were devoted to teaching art at the Federation School for the Deaf, an experience that he later counted as one of the most meaningful of his career.
In 1972, Ismail Hashim went to the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang to study Fine Arts. He then went on to gain a Masters in Fine Arts specialising in Graphic Design from Washington State University, USA in 1979. Back in Malaysia, he taught art in high schools for some years before returning to his alma mater, Universiti Sains Malaysia, where he lectured in the visual arts department and eventually became the dean of Pusat Seni (Centre of the Arts). A founder member of Aliran, Ismail put his degree in Graphic Design to good use, designing its logo as well as some of its most iconic magazine covers.
In 2010, Ismail Hashim was honoured with a retrospective exhibition at the Penang State Museum. He is remembered as a witty raconteur with interests as far ranging as art, music and politics by his family and his friends, colleagues and former students.