Fragments of My Identity is Rofizano Zaino, a.k.a Rofi’s first solo show, held in the Substation from 21 April to 7 May 2011. In this show, Rofi showcased a series of mixed media works on wood as well as acrylic on canvas paintings and an installation. Accompanying these works are texts pasted on the walls, related to the idea that he was exploring.
Rofi’s interest in the large umbrella theme of ‘identity’ begins by questioning his own. He puts himself as part of the Malay community in Singapore, into larger pool of citizenry in the city. Singapore, as a country of overcrowding numbers of foreigners, makes him questioning the identity of race, language and religion.
In the show, Rofi created works with symbolism and materials which are commonly related to the Malay community. Examples ranging from traditional mask, batik motifs, veils as well as the use of language itself.
The exhibition too ended coincidentally with the country’s General Election 2011, where the issue of overcrowding of foreign talents in the city was among the top-notch debate. In the midst of extreme commercialism and globalization, what makes a person Singaporean, or part of a certain community?
Rofi kept questioning what identity means, what it suggests and what it expresses. Dilemma within the young generation has challenged the idea of ‘rootedness’. In particularly the Malay community, what makes a Singaporean Malay different from indigenous Indonesian, Malaysian and any other part of the Malaya peninsula. Rofi did not seem to matter the differences, but challenge the perception towards it instead.
Half of the work showcased also explored the role of women, or at least questioning feminine identity regarding to global citizenship. Rofi created portraitures where viewers might be wondering on their specific race and religion. There was a range of shifting identity and overlapping details on those portraitures and Rofi intended it so to bring across a sense of multi-cultural community, which is happening today.
Not to be seen as a gay exhibition at all, the theme of identity, questioning oneself and exploring our stand in this globalized world is engaging within the scope of LGBT theme today. What makes somebody a somebody, and if this question is answered, is there a need of discrimination and social dissection among a community.
Rofi looks into his personal body and translate his experience into a larger group of people. Being a Malay, he does not seem to conform into the community per say, but evokes the issue of global citizenship. Has our identity multiplied into others that have nothing to do with our root?
Today, what makes a Singaporean, Singaporean?