Pangrok Sulap / Est. 2010, Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia /Sabah tanah air-ku 2017 / Woodcut, offset ink on block-out blind, ed. 5/10 /Diptych: 414.5 x 300cm; 411 x298.3cm / Purchased 2017 with funds from Ashby Utting through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art / c The artists

Pangrok Sulap
Sabah tanah air-ku 2017

On Display: QAG, Gallery 5

The title of Pangrok Sulap’s large-scale diptych in APT9 translates as ‘Sabah, my homeland’. The work details the realities and aspirations of a region frequently marginalised within Malaysia and whose natural resources are regularly exploited. The two panels present contrasting visions of Sabah. The first is the dream of an autonomous state: bright and open, with figures appearing in a landscape featuring Mount Kinabalu (Malaysia’s highest mountain and a World Heritage Site), together with the state anthem’s final line, ‘Sabah Negeri Merdeka’ (‘Sabah independent state’). The second panel is thematically darker — it addresses the disappointment regarding the treatment of the region’s land and people, as well as concerns over corruption, illegal logging, persistent flooding and migration issues.

A collective based in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, Pangrok Sulap consists of artists, musicians and social activists dedicated to empowering rural communities through art. ‘Pangrok’ means ‘punk rock’, while ‘sulap’ is a hut used as a resting place by farmers, and their slogan is ‘Jangan Beli, Bikin Sendiri’ (‘Don’t buy, do it yourself’). The group began woodcut printing in 2012, making banners and posters to raise awareness about social and environmental issues in Borneo’s regional communities. Today, they address issues of importance to the people of Sabah — from illegal logging to official corruption.

Contemporary context

How does Pangrok Sulap:

  • challenge ideas of the past?
  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Pangrok Sulap:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Pangrok Sulap:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Pangrok Sulap:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?