Updated: Feb 17, 2021

A Decade: Fadilah Karim 2010 – 2020: Malaysia is a country that encourages its’ talented artists in exhibiting their beautiful artworks in the eye of the public. ‘A Decade’ is the close representation of an artistic work that explores beyond the life of a woman. A woman stands for many roles. They become a daughter, a wife, a mother, an excellent employee, and an individual themselves, all at the same time. This prolific Malaysian artist, Fadilah Karim shares and presents a total of 50 artworks including an additional 90 in her raisonné catalogue at the White-Box, Map@Publika, in the month of December.

When visitors first enter through the main door, they are greeted with an open space gallery. These pieces of extraordinary artworks are all hanged onto the wall with descriptions for the visitors to read. Referring to her narrative in growing from a little girl to a great woman, Fadilah Karim’s quiet realism illustrates her journey of life as she slowly grows, matures, marries, and now becoming a mother to her children. Fadilah Karim’s passion in doing arts doesn’t stop her from evolving as a woman and vice versa. Her obligations and responsibility as a woman doesn’t stop her from sharing her talents to an open world.

Each and every painting tells a very different story but somehow they all rendezvoused at the same time and place. Women can be seen in every artwork, from the moment we enter until the very moment we step out of the gallery. It shows that Fadilah Karim embraces the title ‘woman’ very close to her heart, implying them onto her exceptional paintings. In my perspective, these paintings are picturing a future of mine and every other teenage girl out there.

There’s this one painting with a man and a woman holding each other’s arms and bending inward, embracing each other, creating an intimate bond that can’t be seen. This painting alone tells me a lot of stories. It goes beyond the touches of skin, it tells a story about a relationship between you and whoever you picked to be in your household. It is interpreted in my mind as a bond between lovers, parents, and individuals. This special bond may seem intimate and loving but balance is needed to stay in the same form. Without balance, one might trip over and they both will fall. This shows just how important tolerance is between partners, especially married in a household with children. This artwork is one of my favourite pieces.

What ultimately brings this exhibition together in a very beautiful way is the story behind each of the artists’ works. It owns its narrative, it owns its direction and sense of purpose. The visitors are able to view the timeline of Fadilah Karim’s life throughout her paintings. It feels very intimate and special, especially to couples and families who are viewing it together. Perhaps, this moment captured the realization of worth and love beyond human. It is natural to fall in love with things and people around us but it is appears as odd to fall in love with ourselves. This exhibition has taught me to embrace my growth as a person and to love the process towards adulthood.

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