This profoundly beautiful exhibition by Maneerat Srikampa opened rather fittingly on International Mother’s day. I say rather fittingly because as one walks through the artworks, it is obvious that they are of deeply intimate private moments of women. They remain anonymous and quiet due to the lack of faces, and the focus on the batik clothing. The paintings feel infinitely universal because of this privacy and intimacy, despite being definitely south east Asian. There is a definitely a similarity between Srikampa’s work and the famous Malaysian artist Chang Fee Ming, as both artists portray stunningly detailed pattern work of traditional south east Asian dress. For myself as a woman however, I am more drawn in by these private feminine moments by Srikampa. Particularly the curation of the back room moved me and made me think of both my sister and my mother, during peaceful and quiet occasions when we had communicated without words.

Yet whilst being delicate and quiet in story, they are also equally vibrant and loud in colour. It is rare to see watercolour paints used in such a way to be so vibrant and yet also so controlled. Each fold in the fabric is immaculate and each curve of the pattern can be seen. Srikampa really exhibits an understanding of both the moment she captures, as well as how to use her media.

Maneerat Srikampa is definitely an artist to watch out for. She is not only technically skilled but also strong with composition and story. Her work is currently priced between RM3500-RM7500 depending on the size and the detail of the artwork. This is very reasonable at the moment because she is a star on the rise, but not right at the starting post, and if she reaches Chang Fee Ming’s level then she can command RM20,000 per painting.

Galeri Seni Mutiara is a beautiful heritage house next to the Sun Yat Sen museum and Opera and Puppet Museum on Armenian Street. The owner and his wife are always very welcoming and have run the place for many years. They are open every day from 11am-6pm and this exhibition really is well worth the visit. I think this is my favourite exhibition that this gallery has had for a while, and I found it deeply moving as both a sister and a daughter.

Spirit of Asean is at Galeri Seni Mutiara, 118 Lebuh Armenian, George Town, 10200. It is open every day from 11am-6pm  until 26th May 2019.

By Lusy Koror