All images credit: Ng Seksan

Earlier today Malaysian landscape architect, Ng Sek San uploaded several images of Pangrok Sulap’s artwork, a collective of woodcut print pieces that had been removed from an exhibition for being err… too sediyes.

‘Sabah tanah air-ku’ was displayed for only two-days at the recently held ESCAPE from the SEA exhibition at Art Printing Works (APW) Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur before it was taken down on 26 February. 

“This piece of work by Pangrok Sulap has been removed from the Escape to the Sea exhibition at APW because some katak bawah tempurung complained to the PM dept and TV3 that it is too sensitive and it has been censored,” Seksan said in a post on Facebook.

Seksan shared 12 images for his social media audience, asking people to judge for themselves if any could indeed be deemed “sensitive”.

He took close-up images of the 8 x 12-feet artwork, most of which highlighted pertinent issues in Sabah such as floods, illegal logging, Project IC and corruption.

Curious about what transpired, we decided to find out more from Pangrok Sulap via Facebook. Within minutes, Jerome Manjat, a member of the Sabah based collective replied us.

“The artwork, titled ‘Sabah tanah air-ku’ was removed after someone sent a complain letter to the Prime Minister’s Office,” Jerome reveals.

Following the complain letter, Japan Foundation had to take down the artwork. The exhibition was part of Japan Foundation’s Curatorial Development program.

“They had to take down our artwork because they did not want us to get into trouble, the issues that we raised were too sensitive,” Jerome said.

Deriving its name from the words “punk” and “rock” along with the word “Sulap” (a traditional farmer’s hut in Kadazan-Dusun), the group took a week to complete the artwork.

“But it took us a year to craft the idea behind it.”

It took four members of the group to finish the final product. Much of the ideas behind its conception came from all of its members.

Well received in Sabah for their protest art, the collective was formed in 2013 by Rizo Leong and has gradually grown.

Aiming to bring political awareness through art, the group has recently seen their artworks being exhibited across Malaysia. Meanwhile, several artists have slammed the removal of the artwork. More here.

So what do you think? Was this artwork really that sensitive? Do share with us by commenting below!

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