Debate / Meeting
Soirée d'étude autour de l'oeuvre poétique de Latiff Mohidin
en présence de l’artiste et de Goenawan Mohamad28 Feb 2018
The event is over
19h - 20h30
A l’occasion de l’exposition Latiff Mohidin : Pago Pago (1960-1969) présentée au Centre Pompidou en collaboration avec la National Gallery Singapore, l’évènement Who Will Bear The News propose une rencontre entre Latiff Mohidin et Goenawan Mohamad autour de leurs œuvres littéraires et poétiques respectives. Cette soirée d’étude prend pour point de départ les questionnements ayant animé le travail de Latiff Mohidin au milieu des années 1960 alors qu’il parcourt une Europe divisée et une Asie du Sud-Est insurgée, période durant laquelle il fait la connaissance de Goenawan Mohamad.
A travers diverses évocations de leur œuvre poétique dans ces années, Terence Ward et Idanna Pucci animeront un échange entre les deux intellectuels, dont le syncrétisme culturel d’avant-garde prit racine dans leurs expériences en Europe autant que dans leurs cultures malaisienne et indonésienne respectives, formulant de nouveaux langages artistiques, dialogues et narrations.
L’évènement emprunte son titre au poème Who Will Bear The News[Qui osera annoncer] écrit par Latiff Mohidin le 2 mars 1964 à Colombo (Sri Lanka). Il est alors de retour vers la Malaisie après ses études en Europe, et se trouve sur le Viet-Nam, paquebot français sur lequel il a embarqué à Marseille. Il se souvient : « les passagers n’étaient autorisés à descendre à terre pour voir le port de Colombo que quelques heures. De ma vie entière je n’avais jamais vu autant de dockers aussi maigres et affamés. Des centaines d’entre eux étaient en mouvement permanent ici et là. Soudain j’ai entendu de l’agitation. J’ai couru vers le navire alors que certains des passagers commençaient à grimper aux cordages. Je ne savais pas ce qu’il se passait. Je n’ai pas dormi cette nuit-là. En partie parce que mon compagnon de chambre était un magicien saoul et particulièrement bruyant. Dans le poème, il y a trois mots distincts : aube, fleur, et amour. Ils me vinrent tous trois alors que je regardais l’immensité de la nuit sur l’océan à travers le petit hublot de ma cabine. Encore aujourd’hui je ne sais pas d’où me vint l’anxiété de cette nuit. Etait-ce dû au trouble sur le port ? Bien sûr, des années plus tard, comme vous le savez, une terrible et longue guerre eût lieu au Sri Lanka ».
19h – Accueil par Bernard Blistène, Directeur du Musée national d’art moderne (MNAM-CCI), et Eugene Tan, Directeur de la National Gallery Singapore.
19h15 – Présentation de l’exposition par les commissaires Catherine David – Directrice adjointe du MNAM-CCI en charge de la recherche et de la mondialisation – et Shabbir Hussain Mustafa – conservateur en chef à la National Gallery Singapore.
19h30 – Présentation des œuvres poétiques de Latiff Mohidin et Goenawan Mohamad dans le contexte littéraire et artistique du Sud-Est asiatique des années 1960, par Terence Ward.
20h – Dialogue entre Latiff Mohidin et Goenawan Mohamad, modéré par Terence Ward.
20h30 – Lecture de poèmes de Latiff Mohidin et Goenawan Mohamad par les auteurs et Idanna Pucci.
L’essentiel des interventions se feront en anglais
Latiff Mohidin (b. 1941) is Malaysia’s leading modernist painter and poet. His passion for painting and drawing was evident from an early age. He held his first exhibition at the Kota Raja Malay School in Singapore, after which he came to be identified as “the magical boy with the gift in his hands.” In 1960, Latiff Mohidin was awarded the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) scholarship to study at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in West Berlin, Germany. Upon his return to Southeast Asia in 1964, Latiff Mohidin embarked on an extensive journey through Indochina and the Malay world, establishing affinities and conversations with avant-garde artists and intellectuals of the time. He evokes this period through the phrase, “Pago Pago”, which he coined to express a mode of thinking and working that recalls the specificities of the region as aesthetic. This moment has found a significant place in writings on Southeast Asian art. In 1969, Latiff Mohidin was awarded the French Ministry of Culture Scholarship to study etching in Paris at the Atelier Lacourière-Frélaut, followed by the John D. Rockefeller III Grant for a residency at the Pratt Institute in New York. Latiff Mohidin remains connected to leading figures in the discussion about Southeast Asian aesthetics through his conversations with thinkers such as Goenawan Mohamad.
Latiff Mohidin’s artistic practice is often linked to his literary activities. He first became recognised as a poet when he published his collection of poems Sungai Mekong in 1971, which has since been translated into multiple languages including most recently Spanish. Like his art, his poetry is a methodological wandering that resists ideological or doctrinal writ. Rather, his anthologies offer an extended interrogation of the artist’s interior world. Many of these thoughts are reflected in G.A.R.I.S. Latiff Mohidin dari titik de titik (L.I.N.E. Latiff Mohidin From Point To Point), a work of immense literary prowess that was first published in 1988. Latiff Mohidin’s literary and painterly world is also heavily informed by the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, Chairil Anwar and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe amongst others. Breaking down disciplinary boundaries between the visual and literary, in 2012, Latiff Mohidin published his translation of Goethe’s Faust (Part 1), a figure who has fascinated him since his encounter with German literature in the early 1960s. Latiff Mohidin lives and works in Penang Island, Malaysia.
Goenawan Mohamad is an Indonesian poet and man of letters born in Batang, Central Java. He grew up in a political family: his father was a left-wing activist who was exiled to the remote Boven Digoel camp in West Papua – and, after his return to Java, was executed in 1947 by the Dutch troops sent by the colonial office in the Hague to retake Indonesia. Goenawan studied psychology and philosophy in Indonesia in the early sixties, and early in his literary career he translated poems of Emily Dickinson and Guillaume Apollinaire into Indonesian. He published poems and essays before turning 18, and gained a wider recognition after his essays and poetry were published by Sastra, a respected literary monthly published in Jakarta. Under Soekarno “Guided Democracy” with its Third-World revolutionary ideology, Goenawan Mohamad and other writers related to Sastra issued a manifesto called A manifesto on culture (Manifes Kebudayaan) in 1963 that will be banned after a huge political campaign. He will then have to write under pseudo-names to survive, facing for the first time the censorship that he will fight during the rest of his literary and journalistic career. His poetry often uses allusions drawn from diverse sources ranging from Javanese legends to the Mahabharata and the Bible to Greek mythology and contemporary arts. Goenawan’s poetry collections are Pariksit (1971), Interlude (1973), Asmaradana (1992), Suppose We Were in Sarajevo (1998), Complete Poems of Goenawan Mohamad 1961–2001 (2001) and Goenawan Mohamad: Selected Poems (2004). Among the prizes he has received as a poet are SEA Write Award (1981), A. Teeuw Award (1992), and Achmad Bakrie Award (2004).
As a writer, Goenawan Mohamad was well known for being the editor of Indonesia's most-respected newsmagazine Tempo [Time] that he co-founded in 1974, and in which his weekly column Catatan Pinggir [Sidelines] was mainly commentary and critique on current affairs and the media ‘headlines’. The magazine was banned by the Suharto government in 1994 because of its vocal criticism of the authoritarian regime, and will open again only following Suharto’s resignation in 1998. In 1995, Mohamad founded the Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI) which produced alternative media intended to circumvent censorship. Mohamad later formed the Alliance of Independent Journalists, the only independent journalism organization in Indonesia. He is a strong advocate of the press freedom and received several awards in recognition for his work, such as the International Editor of the Year Award (1999) awarded by The World Press Review and the Dan David Prize award (2006). He continues to write columns, poetry, experimental theatre and prose, he lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Idanna Pucci & Terence Ward
Idanna Pucci spent her childhood in Florence; she later settled in Indonesia and began her studies of Balinese culture with particular emphasis on myth and the oral tradition. Various writing assignments for the Hong-Kong based Asia Magazine enabled her to travel throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, South East Asia, Japan and across the Soviet Union on the last steam engine of the Trans-Siberian railway. She became especially intrigued by the traditional court of justice in the ancient royal capital of Bali. Its ceiling paintings narrate a sacred epic hauntingly similar to Dante's Divine Comedy. The quest gave birth to her first book, The Epic of Life: A Balinese Journey of the Soul (1985). She returned to New York to pursue her degree in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. After she obtained the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance in Geneva, she served in the UN Mission to East Timor as an electoral officer during the referendum for independence in 1999. Later, she collaborated with the Burma Project (Open Society Foundations) on a special mission to Myanmar. Her next book, Against All Odds: The Strange Destiny of a Balinese Prince (Saritaksu Editions, Bali, 2005) is a collection of stories from the life of the late Prince Madé Djelantik, a medical doctor and one of Bali’s most loved personalities in recent history. Idanna Pucci also conducts since years an important research work on the destinies of certain women in the nineteenth century fighting inequalities, forced migrations, death penalty, and environmental destruction. This work has been accompanied by different publications and exhibitions, and she has been awarded several prizes in Italy and internationally. Idanna serves as an international trustee of Religions for Peace, the world’s largest interfaith organization. She is also a board member of La Scuola di Eco-Narrativa in Anghiari, Tuscany. She lives between Florence and New York.
Terence Ward was born in Boulder, Colorado, and grew up in Saudi Arabia and Iran. He received his BA in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. Continuing his studies in Egypt at the American University of Cairo, he specialized in Near Eastern history and contemporary Islamic political movements. Later, he received his MBA from the International Management Institute (IMI) in Geneva. For ten years, he advised multinationals, foundations and governments across the Islamic world and the West. After he obtained the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance in Geneva, he served in the UN Mission to East Timor as an electoral officer during the referendum for independence in 1999. Later, he collaborated with the Burma Project (Open Society Foundations) on a special mission to Myanmar. His first book, Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran (2002), is a creative evocation of his childhood in Iran in the 1970s and of his odyssey back to his country in 1998 after 30 years. He lives between Florence, Bali and New York.
MOHIDIN Latiff, G.A.R.I.S. Latiff Mohidin dari titik ke titik, Kuala Lumpur, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1988, édité en anglais sous le titre L.I.N.E. Latiff Mohidin From Point To Point, trad. Adibah Amin, Kuala Lumpur, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1993
MOHIDIN Latiff, Sungai Mekong : Antoloji sajak, Kuala Lumpur, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1972, édité en anglais sous le titre Mekong River, trad. Mansor Ahmad Saman, Kuala Lumpur, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1981, édité en français sous le titre Le Mekong, trad. Brigitte Bresson, Kuala Lumpur, Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia, 2009
MOHIDIN Latiff, Sajak-sajak Dinihari, Kajang, Makruf Publishing, 1966, édité en anglais sous le titre Fables of Dawn : Selected Poems, trad. Salleh Ben Joned, Petaling Jaya, Maya Press, 2003
SABAPATHY T.K. (éd.), Pago-Pago to Gelombang : 40 years of Latiff Mohidin : 15 April-8 May 1994, Singapour, Singapore Art Museum, 1994
MOHAMAD Goenawan, Faith In Writing: Forty Years of Essays, trad. et introd. Jennifer Lindsay, préf. Terence Ward, Singapour, Singapore University Press, 2016
MOHAMAD Goenewan, In Other Words: 40 Years of Writing on Indonesia, trad. Jennifer Lindsay, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, 2017
MOHAMAD Goenawan, Sidelines: Thought Pieces from Tempo Magazine, trad. Jennifer Lindsay, Sheffield, Equinox Publishing, 1994
MOHAMAD Goenawan, Goenawan Mohamad: Selected Poems, trad. et éd. Laksmi Pamuntjak, Jakarta, KataKita, 2004