Mak Nah’s Rhythm, First Draft, Collection of Footage, Process of manufacturing the Labu, March 2020, 01h 23 min, Color, HD Digital Video, ©2021 Katharina Copony
All images: ©︎Shooshie Sulaiman, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery, Photo by Kenji Takahashi
Shooshie began producing art as a means to “salvage and heal” herself from the feelings of loss and sorrow experienced due to the sudden death of her father. She earned her BA in Fine Art from MARA University of Technology in 1996, after which she received the National Art Gallery of Malaysia’s Young Contemporaries Award. Ever since she has continued to work widely across the globe, taking part in international exhibitions such as “Documenta 12” in 2007, and holding a solo show at the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris, France, in 2016.
Furthermore, in 2014 Shooshie set up MAIX (Malaysian Artists’ Intention Experiment), a new collective artist platform offering research, exhibition, and discussion facilities in Malaysia. Through both her personal practice and involvement with MAIX, she continues to work actively while forming communities with members across diverse fields.
In Japan Shooshie is known for her participation in numerous group exhibitions including “Emotional Drawing” (The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo/The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, 2008), “SUNSHOWER Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now” (The National Art Center, Tokyo x Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2017), “Yokohama Triennale 2017 ‘Islands, Constellations & Galapagos’” (Yokohama Museum of Art and other venues), as well as her continued participation in the artist in residence program “AIR Onomichi” (Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture) initiated in 2013. Shooshie is also scheduled to present a solo exhibition at the Onomichi City Museum of Art in 2023.
Her work is housed in the collections of Kadist Foundation (Paris, France), Singapore Art Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
In her solo exhibition “Lore of Equator” at Tomio Koyama Gallery in 2021, she presented a series of 100 “Labu Sayong” handcrafted water vessels made by traditional Malaysian techniques of pottery making, which is her “creative activities of the public sphere” under the theme of “the conservation of art”; a new idea that the artist has continued to explore since 2019.
The film, produced in collaboration with Berlin-based film director Katharina Copony, shows Mak Nah, the sole female ceramicist who is presently able to work with this technique, is producing “Labu Sayong” through a relaxed and meditative process of seemingly engaging in a dialogue with nature and channeling one’s soul and spirit into the work.
In hopes to preserve this precious tradition, Shooshie works with members of MAIX to support and provide ideas to female ceramicist Mak Nah. It is further planned that the sales of these “Labu Sayong” will be used to fund the establishment of the Labu Sayong Museum.