Monday, May 12, 2014

Bamboo shoot as energy metaphor

Yellow Bamboo - Schizostachyum brachycladum
This  bamboo is  native to Borneo

 You need to be an artist to recognize the energy power of the bamboo shoot.  Bamboos belong to the grass family (Gramineae) from which the big family is divided into two sub-amilies :- bamboos and bamboo grasses.  The are many clumps of this yellow bamboo grown at the park.  It is interesting to notice that its young shoot has to thrust itself from below the ground to gradually stand straight. From this raw power when noticed young in a few species are the edible shoots.  These are severed from the main clump, cut and cooked thus providing us with energy.  More significantly however is how Latiff Mohidin , a Malaysia artist sees in bamboo shoot  the energy metaphor.

"Stupas" by Latiff Mohidin
Ink, 13.5 x 8.5 cm ( Bangkok, 1964)
 For Latiff Mohidin, the bamboo shoot provided a natural motif symbolizing much energy.  In a series of  early artworks done in Bangkok in the early 1960's, he captured the energy movement in creative expression and the transformation that ensued in his studies called the 'Pago-Pago' series.  His use of earthly colours helped re-enforced the natural dynamics of the metamorphosis process.  The painting in mixed media entitled 'Pago-Pago' is iconic of Latiff Mohidin's interpretation of the bamboo shoot as metamphor for the energy movement or process in creative expression and transformation.
Top : Metamorphosis 1 ( Ink on Graph Paper, 7.5 x 16 cm ; Bangkok, 1964)
Bottom : Metamorphosis 2 ( Mixed media, 12.5 x 23cm; Bangkok, 1965)

Pago-Pago ( Mixed media, 26 x 18.5 cm; Bangkok, 1964)
(Note: All the illustrations above are taken from the book,"Line - from point to point , Latiff Mohidin) , published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, 1993)

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