Roslisham ISMAIL (a.k.a ISE)

  • 〈ChronoLOGICal〉, 2018, mixed media installation with video, drawing and participatory object. Dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist



The arrival of the Arab world in the Malay Archipelago began in the ninth century, when trading merchants crossed the Indian Ocean from the Hadramaut in Yemen. Engaging in commerce, scholarship, diplomacy and eventually entering local politics, the community gained particular local influence through marriage. In this installation, Ise works with oral histories recorded in his local community with friends and family, rural teachers and village elders, imams and historians to create a hand-drawn composition of miniature souvenirs, animations of historical accounts and textual drama. These works illustrate and narrate the various conflicts and claims of this largely Islamic territory located between the ancient kingdoms of Siam and the Malaccan Sultanate. lse reminds us that a mapping of time can never be logical, linear and certain; rather, such an endeavour supports the lore of the olden, mythical legends and childhood tales — histories determined by the voices that echo beyond the centralized tomes of doctrine and academia.

About the Artist

Born in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia in 1972. He lived and worked between Kota Bharu and Kuala Lumpur. He was a multidisciplinary artist whose works include installations, video art and participatory projects. Drawing on expressions of popular culture such as comics and graffiti, his practice explores links between these forms of expression and representations of alternative histories of place and culture.
Ise’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Laundromat Project, New York (2016); Bangkok University Gallery (2014); Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur (2010); Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur Gallery (2008); Australia High Commission, Gallery 4A, Sydney (2007); Kedai Kebun Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2007) and Asia-Australia Art Centre, Sydney (2006).His work has also been presented in group exhibitions at Sharjah Biennial (2019), the Pattani semasa, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (2018); Nasi Gunung Cooking Performance project, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (2018) MAIIAM, Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand (2017); Escape from sea, Nationalart gallery Malaysia(2017); Mode of liaison, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2017); Sunshower, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2017); Goethe-Institut, Singapore International Festival of Arts (2016); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); Center Of Contemporary Art, Singapore (2015); Arter, Istanbul (2014); OPENHAUS, ZK/U, Berlin (2014) and Asian Art Biennale, Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Taichung (2013), among others. Ise is the founder of Parkingproject, an artist’s space based in his apartment in Kuala Lumpur, and a co-founder of the Malaysian art publication sentAp!.