3 Elements is just a small exhibition, but it is well worth a visit.  Hidden away on the 3rd floor of Dewan Sri Pinang in the soulless Penang State Art Gallery, it showcases the works of three Syrian and Jordanian artists, each one of whom uses a different “element” for his work. 

Nedal Balyh is a Syrian architect who relocated to Penang as a war refugee. His element is Ink, and there are two of his works on display, in which he portrays traditional Arabic symbolism and geometric patterns in a precise architectural fashion.


Anees Maani’s element is wood, and his sculptures are all about the element itself, very minimalistic in style, intending to bring out the texture and solidity of the wood. A Jordanian sculptor who also works in bronze, aluminium and stone, has had solo exhibitions in Jordan, the Netherlands and Malaysia, and has participated in many other group shows around the world. He has two pieces in this show.



Aboud Fares, photo credit Albert Foo


Aboud Fares, an increasing well-known Penang-based Syrian sculptor, has five pieces in the show, all of course in metal, the element for which he is justly building a name for himself. Aboud’s welding of iron rods, melting, shaping and building result in either abstract pieces of art, or functional objects that can be used as chairs, or indeed the fully-functional electric bicycle on display in this exhibition. 

As I was lucky enough to visit the exhibition when two of the three artists were present, I was able to test out the bicycle myself, not however achieving the same speed as Aboud himself did! If when you visit he artist is not there in person, ask the ladies at the reception desk very nicely and perhaps you can have a go too! 

3 Elements is at Penang State Art Gallery, on the 3rd floor of Dewan Sri Pinang, until April 24th 2019. It is open daily 9am until 5pm, closed for lunch 1pm-2pm, and also closed on Fridays and public holidays.