Paean to Indonesia's sea gypsies

Contemporary art pioneer Zai Kuning continues his exploration of Orang Laut, reports HELMI YUSOF

Published Thu, Jul 3, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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ZAI Kuning is throwing knives and choppers at his own artwork. The crowd that has gathered for the opening of his solo exhibition at Ota Fine Arts looks slightly nervous. Already, there are streaks of blood on his pants, caused by the knives bouncing back and smashing onto his legs.

"I wouldn't want to mess with the guy," whispered a young art dealer who's just set up an auction house.

The artwork that Zai is attacking is a large installation made of wood, steel, wax and other materials put together to resemble a ghostly-looking ship. The knives and choppers are aimed at the wood which absorbs the blows. Still, one can't help feeling that one is watching a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, with Zai as the mercurial Jack Sparrow.

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