Recipient of the Curator Open Call 2019

Curated by Zulkhairi Zulkiflee (Sikap)
Chapel Gallery, Objectifs
2 Aug to 15 Sept 2019
Tues to Sat, 12pm to 7pm / Sun, 12pm to 4pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays
Admission is free

Please note this exhibition is rated Advisory 16 (some mature content). 

The exhibition catalogue is available online here.

:: Opening Reception: Thurs 1 Aug, 7pm
Admission is free to all the following programmes. RSVP via Peatix at
:: Opening Performance: Getaran Jiwa by Farizi Noorfauzi: Thurs 1 Aug, 7.30pm to 8.30pm
:: Panel Discussion by Artists: Sat 3 Aug, 2pm to 3pm

:: Guest Talk by Dr Nazry Bahrawi: Sat 17 Aug, 2pm to 3pm
:: Guided tour by artists: Sat 17 Aug, 3.30pm to 4.30pm
:: Closing Performance: Bujang *apok by nor: Sun 1 Sept, 4pm to 5pm

The vernacular term “Mat” is often used as a shorthand for Malay males with the first name “Muhammad”. It may also be used to describe Malay males characterised as delinquent or disobedient.

Using this term as a point of departure, this exhibition seeks to challenge common assumptions about Malay identity by presenting artistic responses that unpack gender relations, class affiliations and cultural politics through the works of three emerging artists: nor, Farizi Noorfauzi and Zulkhairi Zulkiflee.

This exhibition curated by Sikap is the recipient of the inaugural Objectifs Curator Open Call, part of our ongoing effort to broaden perspectives by supporting curatorial research and innovative ways of presenting image-based work.


:: Opening Performance: Getaran Jiwa by Farizi Noorfauzi
Thurs 1 Aug, 7.30pm to 8.30pm
In Getaran Jiwa, Farizi Noorfauzi explores different unconventional methods of wearing / unwearing a traditional Malay garment known as the ‘kain pelekat’, as a way to uncover the garment’s historical narratives.

:: Panel Discussion by Artists
Sat 3 Aug, 2pm to 3pm

:: Guest Talk by Dr Nazry Bahrawi:Repel One Korner: Decolonising Mat and Art
Sat 17 Aug, 2pm to 3pm
:: Guided Tour by Artists
Sat 17 Aug, 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Today, we increasingly recognise that we may have internalised colonial, Eurocentric standards in terms of aesthetics, perceptions of beauty and of modernity. Walter Mignolo’s concept of the “decolonial option” suggests that we are able to step away from these entrenched forms of order, and that multiple other frameworks and blueprints for existence are possible.

In her text Twenty-Five Indigenous Projects, Linda Tuhiwai Smith offers 25 ways to exercise the “decolonial option”, which articulates possibilities for one to begin to move away from historically Western-centric research methodologies.

In this guest lecture, Dr Nazry Bahrawi, senior lecturer at Singapore University of Technology and Design, will discuss Smith’s reading, and how the artworks in MAT show various ‘options’ taken to delink from Eurocentric standards and modernity’s regulations.

Participants are encouraged to have viewed the exhibition and to have read the text Twenty-Five Indigenous Projects (get a PDF here) by Linda Tuhiwai Smith prior to the guest lecture.

:: Closing Performance: Bujang *apok:
Sun 1 Sept, 4pm to 5pm
Rated M18. Some mature content.
Bujang *apok is a collaborative performance and spoken word piece by nor, Atiq and Zeha, exploring the intersections of Malay identity, religion, life experiences of racism, queerness and love. 

About the curator

The exhibition is organised by ​Sikap,​ a project ​group that engages in organisational experiments and focuses on notions of mutual support, autonomy in idea, and artist-centered actions. Founded by Zulkhairi Zulkiflee, Sikap has supported three projects thus far: LUCKY show (2018) at Lucky Plaza Singapore, ​Malais-a-trois (2018) (as part of Sobandwine’s 233 Joo Chiat), and ​an intimacy that allies us… (2019)​, at 203 Lavender Street. ​Zulkhairi has also been featured in for his curatorial efforts.

About the artists

NOR (b. 1993, Singapore) is an artist whose works investigate the performative aspects of our identities. Her work is rooted in self-portraiture, exploring themes such as gender, sexuality and ethnicity through photography, film, performance and spoken word. Some exhibitions include a solo presentation, ​In Love (2018)​, Coda Culture, and group exhibitions like ​Waning, Waxing (2018)​, ION Art Gallery, and ​Deciphering Clothes: The Troublemakers’ Wardrobe (2018)​, Hatch Art Project. nor is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in NTU’s School of Art, Design and Media.

FARIZI NOORFAUZI (b. 1998, Singapore) is a multi-disciplinary artist in Singapore who works predominantly with media and performance art. He is interested in investigating the relevance of culture, specifically within the unique socio-cultural context of Singapore as an intersection of diasporic cultures. Recent exhibitions include ​ORTHODOX (2019) at Coda Culture and Undescribed #3 (2018)​ at DECK.

ZULKHAIRI ZULKIFLEE (b. 1991, Singapore) is a visual artist, educator and exhibition-maker based in Singapore. His practice explores the notion of Malayness in relation to knowledge production, the social agency and distinction/ taste. Recent exhibitions include ​Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With (2019)​, MOCA Taipei, Taipei; ​Tell me how they kiss you, tell me how you kiss (2018)​, Telok Ayer Arts Club, and ​The Direction I Rub One Matters (2018)​, Grey Projects.


Buro 24/7 Singapore: Artist-curator Zulkhairi Zulkiflee on ‘MAT’ and the evolution of Malay identities in Singapore

ArtsEquator: “MAT” at Objectifs: Pluralisms, perceptions and podcast failings

Art & Market: Review of ‘MAT’ at Objectifs

Plural Art Mag: The Revenge of the Lazy Native

Header image credit: No Corner by Farizi Noorfauzi