Art has been in Alam’s blood by looking back at both of his parents being artists themselves. Alam then studied Industrial Product Design and since graduation, he has been working in the field of advertising.
Alam’s works are the result of him being caught under the enchantment of Japanese Bara manga-ka Gengoroh Tagame who elevates the beauty of the masculine figures. His recurring panda-bear character is inspired from what he believes to be his past-life.
Alam Taslim was one of the artists involved in TOP/BOTTOM exhibition in Jakarta last September. He showcased his series of painting titled my life in comical egg which he created a few months earlier. His other works ca also be seen in his blog here. RAP spoke to the panda-bear fans and found out what motivates him.
Question (Q): Tell us more about your piece in TOP/BOTTOM exhibition!
Alam Taslim (Alam): My works in Q! Art Exhibition: TOP/BOTTOM are titled “my life in a comical egg”. These two paintings narrate two contrasting perspectives of a masculine figure with Panda-bear mask. For “At the top of a tortured heart”, the Panda-bear character is portrayed to be more calm and able to control the situation whereas in “At the bottom of a broken heart”, he is floating in despair.
Q: How is the reception on such exhibitions (LGBT-related) in Jakarta? or even in Indonesia?
Alam: The reception for exhibitions with LGBT themes are filled with pro-contra, likewise the Q! Film festival itself. This is most likely because of the politic situation in Indonesia which is rather unstable. Like we have been informed, last month we were faced with demonstration from Islamic Defense Front which was accompanied with threats and also protest from undergraduates from University of Indonesia. But at the same time, we received various supports hence we were still able to carry out the festival (with all sorts of adaptations)
What’s certain is that the general public’s perception towards LGBT-related art still requires struggle and developments.
Q: Other than the work that you exhibited in TOP/BOTTOM show, what other art practice that you have been involved in?
Alam: TOP/BOTTOM is my second public exhibition. Before that, I was involved in Q-Art Exhibition : Fetish in the year of 2009. My other participation in Q! Film Fest includes being the designer for Q! Film Fest poster in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Other than that, my works are still in my sketchbooks, doodles on bedroom’s wall and conceptual photos which are mostly for my humble personal satisfaction J
Q: Do you particularly target LGBT-issues? If so, how are these issues apparent in Jakarta’s LGBT scene?
Alam: I approach issues which I like, love, passionate in and maybe because of that, I explore LGBT themes.
Looking at the macro scale of Jakarta, the city’s perception towards religious matters is more open compared to other cities. Pity to admit that the atmosphere towards LBT issues, despite the openness is still susceptible due to political agenda from various sectors which I can’t mentioned. Difficult.
Q: What do you think of homoerotic and LGBT-themed artworks in Jakarta?
Alam: Honestly speaking, I am not too concerned about homoerotica and LGBT-themes in any specific work that I’ve done. I do not want to be trapped in the categorization of art. For me, Art is just art. And love it. Or hate it :p
Q: Do you think there’s a need to highlight such issues, especially taking note of the conservative society?
Alam: Need but not frontal. Not challenging. We want to be accepted, not to force people to accept. It is better for us to show and prove that there is nothing wrong with LGBT issues.
Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?
Alam: Keep producing. Keep creating grandeur for this world. Isn’t it a handsome war strategy?
Check out Alam’s works titled “my life in a comical egg” in his blog here.