“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” — Albert Einstein
Was Einstein right? Is imagination more important or essential than knowledge? As a child, I imagined the future with lots of beautiful colours. From the palest pink to shocking pink and all shades of colour comes with its wonderful and extraordinary story. I always imagined myself as a rocket scientist but at the same time an artist with an unusual talent. When do I do this? While sitting under the tree with books in hand and starting my own storyline; like now…
One day, my daughter came to me with her creation in hand.
“Look what I made Mom! It’s a brand new house for my Barbie.” Jasmine is showing me the LEGO creation as she describes its features. “This house is so special coz it’s a 2-in-1 kind of house! It’s a house and a floating platform for party and fashion show.”
“Why is that important?” I ask.
“So they can stay at one place and do so many things at one time.” She answers, indulging my obvious question.
“And you really think this new house is really special and she can have all the party and fashion shows afloat on the water?” I ask again.
“I am definitely sure!” And she walked away and back into her LEGO world.
This is the influence of the imagination at work. John Thomson in his book titled Natural Childhood writes: “If the imagination is well nurtured in its first dawning, it can be a sheet anchor throughout life.” We witness and observe children using this mysterious thing, the imagination, all the time, and they probably never thought about what it really is. The Dictionary of Psychology defines imagination as “the reorganization of data derived from past experiences, with new relations, into present ideational experience.” In other words it’s the ability to take old stuff with some new stuff mixed in and make a picture in our mind.
There is a reason we refer to imagination as “creative flow.” Great ideas do not arise from the deepest effort to expel our intelligence, but rather a process of “expressing” thoughts and energy without self-scrutiny. To take the old stuff with some new stuff and blend it together is not an easy job. But for him, this is his strength. A word from his high school teacher; Chin Peng Weng of Setapak High School, like a mantra for him to achieve something in the industry. It is like a constant encouragement for him to keep going and never look back. After that moment, he looked at the world like it’s some giant oyster and he is trying very hard to figure out the best way to pry open and seize the pearl inside. He worked very hard and captured every moment in his own special way.
He plays wild with his imagination but very humble in everyday life. From one series, he continues his journey with another series and until today he got more to come. He started with the Cakcibor or Dragonfly Series and from there he came out with other series such as Pemandangan Series, Itik Serati Series, Munajat Cinta Series, Malam (Night) Series, Bali Series and Jogja Series. His brush is like magic wand. It moves from one line to a thousand strokes. From one splash of colour he adds in another hue of purple and turquoise. His style is exceptional and he has his own unique unusual chic style of portraying things. He uses his imagination and he brings out the best in every painting. He portrays nature and people from his point of view and never fails to work wonders.
Every artist has a visual vocabulary, which is a number of things that they have observed and drawn in the past, like people, buildings and landscapes. Maamor’s boosts the works of art beyond the conventional, and gives it a life of its own. He transforms sorrow and grief into beauty and splendour by making the invisible visible. His work shows what cannot be conveyed in any other way. It seems to me that the artistic expression of the essence of existence is difficult to articulate in any another language than the arts. In my experience it can only be found in the act of creating form that comes from going inside the wisdom of the body. What is being revealed is genuine emotion that contains profound meaning both to the artist and the culture. This is how he expresses inner emotions and what it means to be a human being in this world. He wants to share his private and collective innerness with the public. By doing so he invites the viewer to share his voyage and self-discovery about life.
Kant (1899) describes the imagination as a natural function that lies at the basis of all perception. It provides the fundamental structure to what we experience, and what we experience is pre-determined by the imagination. While Harding (1967) notes that the imagination is the guide that the artist must follow to truly see with the mind’s inner eye. I do believe this is all related to Maamor. He went through lots of experience both good or bad, negative or positive. That’s what makes him a true artist in every sense and perspective and on top of that, his tools and equipment is always there to witness his journey as anak seni.
The arts across time and place reveal and share the timeless beauty and truth of all cultures, and may facilitate in understanding and empathy for ourselves and others. I am very confident that his journey will not stop here. He will continue to paint and he will draw from the heart and the imagination that is honest and sincere. A quote from Oscar Wilde perhaps best sum up his imagination and his journey over the years.
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a serious lack of imagination.” — Oscar Wilde
The exhibition was a great success. And below are some photos of the officiating ceremony held on the April 9th 2014 at 3.00pm. Officiated by Her Royal Highness Raja Dato’ Seri Eleena Azlan Shah.