Seelan Palay’s latest solo Battle for the Year 3000 will open at MAVEN Gallery on 4 March 2023. The show features works that the artist has worked on for the past few years, as he draws extensively on ideas from spirituality, religion, cosmology, numerology, and science fiction. The show draws its title from imagining what changes art and humanity will undergo in the next thousand years, as prompted by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Numerous (and undoubtedly cryptic) references to historical events, iconic paintings, and religious figures pepper the exhibition, which will be sure to prompt viewers to speculate the significance of such details. If anything, you’ll get the sense that you aren’t fully grasping the whole picture, prompting you to ask questions and hypothesise—which is part of the artist’s intentions.
While Palay’s previous paintings boasted palettes of ultramarine and blue, this new body of works sees the addition of glimmering gold paint, typically used to signify a spiritual dimension in the works.
A brilliant example of this is THE RETURN OF THE BLOOD ANGELS IN THE TEMPLE OF TIME AND TRANSCENDENCE, which touches on the artist’s Sri Lankan Tamil descent. It sees a golden tiger—the emblem of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam—turned sideways to signify the party’s defeat during the Sri Lankan Civil War, with rays emanating outwards from its centre. Below it are illustrations of a brain and a lung, suggesting how resistance might be continued not through the use of arms, but by theorising. At the edges of the canvas are years relating to the conflict, which ran from 23 Jul 1983 – 18 May 2009.
Have a look at our photographs below to check out the space and other exhibition highlights!
(2023). The ultramarine humanoid figure refers to one of Francisco Goya’s paintings that features a man calling out to God during war, with gold paint dripping from his hands. The title evokes existentialist angst, as it forms a play on words that takes inspiration from both Goya and God, while contemplating what comes temporally after the Spanish painter and religion.
The exhibition runs from 4 to 13 March 2023 at Maven Gallery, 31 Neil Rd, Singapore 088819. Click here to find out more.