Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
New Urbanism
New Urbanism

This multimedia installation consists of nineteen ceramic toys arranged on a black open-frame curio cabinet on wheels. Ceramic toys and hybrid beings feature heavily in Umi’s work, here appearing as pastel-hued standing figures with blends of animal/human/machine/object features. Each piece is balanced on a small circular platform rising vertically from each compartment. Umi’s eccentric figurines are playful antidotes to the cabinet’s metallic lattice design and their ‘display case’ presentation, injecting pattern, deformities, and childlike paint-work into the otherwise cold and industrial frame. Considering the work’s title, such a contrast seems to express a refusal to the consumer logic and developmental sprawl of the modern age, highlighting instead the potential for play and absurdity to grow and cultivate against the repressing tangle of our urban environments. New Urbanism brings together the artist’s recurring interest in imagined hybrids of species, animals, nature, objects and machinery that speak to the issues concerning the modern world we live in.

Ceramic, cast iron, steel rod, and steel plate
176 x 41 x 25.5 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail
About Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail

Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail (b. 1975, Johor, Malaysia) is a contemporary ceramic artist who has been widely credited for pushing the boundaries of ceramic work in Malaysia. She obtained her BA Hons of Art and Design (Ceramics) at the Faculty of Art & Design, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam, Selangor in 2000. Umi has steadily participated in various group exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia, London, Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Dubai and Pakistan. In 2007, Umi and her husband Ahmad Shukri Mohamed (a prolific Malaysian artist and member of the Matahati arts group) launched “The Patisatu Studio” with a series of residencies, programmes and internships open to young Malaysian ceramists and students. Since then, the studio has also welcomed international ceramic artists as part of her goal to increase collaborations between the local and international ceramic art community. Her artworks have garnered several international awards including Top Under 40, Prestige Malaysia – Poised For Power (KL) awards in 2010 and in 2017, she won the award in Top 10 Winners, The Young Contemporaries ’06 organised by the National Art Gallery (KL).

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