At Wordplay we feel front doors are for bible bashers and salesmen, so I was unperturbed to enter the Grey Door Gallery by the back entrance last night.
Walking up the steel stairs, I noticed a mural of a woman sprayed across their surface, fully visible only from a particular angle. This matter of perspective seemed fitting, as the exhibition I was heading into addressed the theme of sin: Fajar Sugiartos latest collection of works, ‘Seven’.
The atmosphere was like walking into a mates lounge room – couches occupied with people chatting, laughing and drinking. It was refreshing to be in Claremont and not feel under-dressed in flats, or surrounded by pretentiousness. The tiny bar had a small but adequate selection of drinks (of which ‘40s’ were the flavour of the eve); the vibe was relaxed and friendly.
Armed with a cider and handful of Sherbies (nom nom nom), I circled the room to examine Fajars striking creations. A historical character represented each sin – greed, wrath, envy, gluttony, sloth, lust and pride. Tupac Shakur, Amy Winehouse, Adolf Hitler and Malcolm X among others illustrated our perceptions of ‘sin’; as well as conveying the implications of said sins in contemporary society.
Have we shifted away from strict moral codes of behaviour? Is gluttony not at the forefront of the consumerist culture we operate within? How does pride mutate from a noble quality into one of egocentricity? Are the motivations behind our daily actions driven by lust, by greed, by wrath?
As one of the minds behind the label Gfted, Fajar’s work is not only critically minded and confronting, it is admirable for his thought-provoking premise that unites the separate artworks. His art alone is full of movement and ambiance, but his unique approach to the human condition, our descent into sin and reckoning of our conscience marks him as a truly provocative artist.
By Lisa Morrison
Photos by Minkee Kang