Born and raised in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Sivarajah Natarajan graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Arts with a degree in Fine Arts in 1992. Known as the “dancers’ painter” who deftly captures the fluid lines of the dancer’s silhouettes and dynamic movement on canvas, Sivarajah Natarajan expands the use of his keen eye and instinct to conjure compelling lighting and set design onstage for the Sutra Dance Theatre. As an artist, Sivarajah has successfully seized the moment and interpreted his artistic milieu, digesting these experiences and expressing them in nuggets of compelling images for us to contemplate. An artist who functions professionally in both the visual and performing arts, Sivarajah is a rare ‘integrator’ in the Malaysian artistic scene who shares his sensitive outpourings in the visual and performing arts with an individualistic and distinctive Sutra hallmark. For this exhibition, his works mostly portray Malay performing arts such as Mak Yong and Wayang Kulit – utilising mixed mediums on canvas.

 

Mak Yong, Main Petri and Menora

Main petri and makyong are two related Malay performing arts originally found in the regions of Patani and Kelantan, and in certain areas of rural Terengganu and Pahang. The photographs and paintings of main petri and makyong featured in this exhibition depict the manifestations of the restoration of the spirit or ‘angin Dewa Muda’. Dewa Muda and Dewa Pecil are two of the most important stories in the makyong repertoire, enacted for the healing of illnesses related to psychology. Angin Dewa Muda resonates with the extroverted Malay psyche, whereas Angin Dewi Pecil is with the introverted Malay psyche. A person with a thwarted angin Dewa Muda is one who, due to circumstances, unable to fulfil his extroverted predilections (say, the desire for attention, beautiful clothes, the wish to be admired, gregariousness etc). The drama of the life of Dewa Muda is used to cure a patient who would otherwise be depressed, losing his joie de vivre from unfulfilled desires. The menora, also featured in this exhibition is an intriguing acculturated form of menora-makyong, found in the Kelantan and Patani regions. This version combines both the Thai-influenced menora and the Malay makyong genres.