Syahrul Anuar

Tanah Di Bawah Angin

(The Land Beneath The Wind)

2021
3-channel Video, DCGAN images on Fine Art Photographic Paper, Teak Dresser

Tanah Di Bawah Angin is a visual exercise in various parts, to simultaneously mend and dissect the various viscosities of Malay mythical tales with the factual occurrences of the Straw-headed Bulbul within the Nusantara (The Malay World).  

The Straw-headed Bulbul is a recurring oral motif in the Nusantara and is at high risk of facing extinction in Southeast Asia — poached and hunted for its beautiful call and song.

The work pivots on a triad of narratives: the birds’ animist origins, an Islamic fable and a pair of Minangkabau pantuns. Working with the narrative and the bird in a metaphorical capacity unravels threads of multiplicity in negotiating and questioning the notions of Malayness: of ‘merantau’ (wandering), Islam and the Nusantara’s animistic past.