Exploration x Expression – Anahita & Syahbandi

“Everything we feel deeply must be expressed” – Hans Hartung

And for every person, the need to explore and communicate may be met through different means. Some write, others talk. For artists – they draw and paint.

In Exploration x Expression, Anahita Ghazanfari and Muhammad Syahbandi transposed their inner thoughts into art works, uniquely interpreting and conveying their deeper individual feelings. Separately, their pieces are apparently in blunt contrast to each other, a clear depiction of their total opposing personalities. Yet in collaboration, their differences seemingly vanish – perhaps a reflection of human’s natural instinct to sometimes underplay the concept of “Self” in favour of a broader, collective purpose.

Anahita Ghazanfari. Muhammad Syahbandi Samat. Introverted Dreamer. 90.60cm. 2016
Introverted Dreamer; 90cm x 60cm (x2); 2016


The exploration to the inner depths of his mind was intense for Syahbandi. The 13 works produced forms a narrative on the anger, frustration and fear he has had to overcome. It speaks of both challenges faced and the continuous battles within himself. “Hati 23 Tahun” is a collage of objects, including the tools of his trade, representing his lifetime experience of internalised conflicts. The somewhat morbid self-depiction is a notable departure from his previous interpretation of fairy tales and mythology.

Dedaun atau Deduit
Dedaun atau Deduit; Ballpoint pen on canvas; 29cm x 49cm; 2016

Illustrating a path of terror and uncertainty, Syahbandi’s pen on canvas exudes a soft delivery to an otherwise harsh story, starting with “Dedaun atau Deduit”. Thereon, it intensifies with stronger accents, starker contrasts and dimmer exposures, such as “Monster Under the Bed, Never a Nightmare Will Be”.

The notion of ‘self’ is often under-rated, unrepresented and indescribable. Finding the meaning of ‘self’ is almost impossible without looking at the surrounding that moulds, influences and inspires a person.

Anahita’s exploration of ‘self’ can be traced through her works during her residency. Taking time to familiarise with her new surroundings, she spiritually assimilated into the environment and internalised the outside world into her personal space. Bringing the lush greenery into her paintings, Anahita was inspired by the natural landscapes, which reminded her of home. The re-connection with her roots stirred emotions and realisation of self, and the need to express this in her series of works, “Life in Leaves”.

Reflecting on her evolved ‘self’, two of Anahita’s major works for the residency saw her amalgamating her worlds into a still capture, with hints of herself, Seremban’s landscape and the Iranian culture.

In what is perhaps the most poignant moment of this program, the duo trawled the streets of Seremban to feature 12 Seremban locals from various backgrounds, documenting their stories by photography and light hearted conversations. Extending their exploration of ‘self’ to the local community, the pair’s collaboration series convey the stories of those whom society may have taken for granted – or simply have not paused to ask, “Who are they?”

Anahita Ghazanfari. Harbouring Dreams Number 1. Acrylic on Canvas. 160.120cm. 2016.
Harbouring Dreams Number 1 ; Acryllic on Canvas;  180cm x 120cm; 2016


Exploration x Expression is a true manifestation of the artists’ self-expression through the lens of their emotions, thoughts and experiences. The physical is but a form that contains the soul, and so it is the heart and soul that sembilan’s season 4 artists seek to reveal to us. Congratulations to both artists for taking that step to reflect and share with us your journey in self-exploration and expression.

– From the Curator’s desk, Chalk and Raddy

Exploration x Expression will be open to the public from 21st May until 31st May 2016 at PORT commune (No.3, Jalan 51/201, Seksyen 51, Petaling Jaya).

The launch of the event will be held on 21st May 2016 at 3.00pm.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s