'Rukun Iman' known as the articles of faith or the 'six pillars of Islam' are regarded as the foundation in which a Muslim's beliefs stand on. These pillars are very important and hold heavy weight to all Muslims. The name 'Iman', meaning 'faith' or 'belief ' is derived from the Arabic نما (amura) 'meaning to be faithful'. As a concept 'Iman' in Islamic theology denotes a believer's faith in the metaphysical aspects of Islam. It's most simple de nition is the belief in the six articles of faith 'Rukun Iman' (arkān al-īmān.)
In the inaugural solo exhibition entitled Rukun Iman at A2Z Art Gallery in Hong Kong, the South East Asian artist Engku Iman presents a selected body of works that expound the six foundations of her artistic practice: Religion / Culture / Society / Roles / Gender / Humanity.
Born into a Muslim family in Kuala Lumpur, Iman more often than not faces backlash from the Muslim community for her depictions and cultural references. Belonging to the groups Malay, Muslim and Women statistically places her the in the top three most repressed groups in the country. A crucial aspect of her drive and motivation is the artist feeling disadvantaged as an artist in her own environment. Iman feels strongly that Malaysians in general, undervalue art and art isn't appreciated due to the education systems not promoting art as a signi cant part of their lives. Despite not wanting to label herself an artist because she feels the term itself is corrupted, Iman uses art as a tool to be herself outside of the system. If only the privileged individuals know how or have the guidance and opportunity to appreciate art then as an artist Iman self assigned herself a mission and feels obligated to reach out to a broader community.
Iman's illustrations often feature a cameo like inclusion of a self-portrait, which is more than the deed of just capturing an image of her features. This inclusion of self portraits channels her beliefs into her work in a way that is both revealing and revolutionary, memorialising her young woman 'self' and ultimately her story. In her works that are deeply personal and broadly relatable, giving her audience an intimate look at subject's dear to her heart, or a particular moment in time, a platform is provided which nds a common ground. Moreover, the featuring of self portraits enable the artist to engage viewers into the core of her founding principles as an artist.
'An insigni cant thing has a certain secret–both beautiful and contaminated. Like the photographer's ability to capture important events, so do the creators with the intention of finding the implied meaning of something.
When such a thing is isolated from its original context–it still has a great impact on the observer or the audience. Being guided by the artwork's justi cations and within the gallery's atmosphere itself–the meaning of each moment can be understood well enough.
I chose six factors (Religion / Society / Culture / Roles / Gender / Humanity) that can be seen as a big in uence and form the reality of the artist. Every factor interconnected with other factors, as justi cation that these six determine realities of a person's reality.That intersection is seen as a complex form of reality - that it does not lie in a xed hierarchy - it does occur according to speci c circumstances and context. Each work can also be divided into two aspects: Subjective–A statement based on one's experience as an individual in the community as well as Objective—A factual observation based on collective and comprehensible agreement in general.' —Engku Iman
Press release courtesy A2Z Art Gallery.