If you think the social chaos, societal inequalities and economic sufferings, which have been worsened by the virus outbreak, this Labour Day might be a fair time to revisit how some Malaysian artists – through the generations – have portrayed workers and labour in art.
The local art, admittedly, documenting the salaried class experience isn’t a popular creative pursuit.
Social realism that portrayed attention to the highly unfair socio-political conditions between the two World Wars, hasn’t exactly been making a comeback among the new generation artists on global perspective.
The idea of being such a genre-specific breed of artist hasn’t taken a firm hold. But the times are changing.
A handful of today’s artists, including the Pangrok Sulap collective and art activist Fahmi Reza, have used their art to offer hope and also highlight the worsening conditions of the everyday working classes, and migrant communities.
Here is a number of small sample of Malaysian art produced on the labour theme.