Shailesh B R
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Pangrok Sulap, All nations are created special, 2021 (detail). Woodcut print on fabric. Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit: Colomboscope
Pangrok Sulap, a collective of artists, musicians, and activists based in Sabah, Malaysia, works with woodcut printing as a slow, performative, and process-based form of resistance to the rapidity of digital methods and circulation of information in the present-day. The word Pangrok is derived from the local slang for ‘punk rock’, embracing the DIY politics of the movement, and energetic live musical performances with a political message as part of their practice. Sulap refers to resting places for farmers in Sabah, also associating the collective with agrarian movements, and the politics of labour locally. Their works usually emerge from immersed engagement with the context they are responding to, especially when their practice takes them outside of Malaysia, and extensive conversations with local communities.
Their project for Colomboscope involved dialogue for several months leading up to the festival and collaborative research with the Sri Lankan music group The Soul, exchanging thoughts on the movement of people from the Malay archipelago to Sri Lanka since 200 BC, and simultaneities between the 1983 riots in Sri Lanka based on ethnic differences and the politics of Malay supremacy entrenched in the Malaysian constitution. The work also remains self-aware of the virtual exchanges between Pangrok Sulap and The Soul during the pandemic, and the limitations of such forms of communication, by foregrounding telepathy, intuition, empathy, love, and care as sensorial and embodied forms of language. The woodcut print produced and sent by Pangrok Sulap to Colombo based on these exchanges will be presented with a concert performance by The Soul at the Colombo Public Library.