At the Nexus of Nature and Culture: Botany as Metaphor


This paper looks at a series of artworks which I produced in 2009 to 2012 during my doctoral programme at the University of East London, UK. This body of work involves a number of fictional plants produced through drawings, sculptures and digital prints that explore different layers of meaning of images of fictional plants living in particular environments, as personal and cultural metaphors.
There are many layers of symbols behind the plant characteristics and attributes I choose to work with, some of which are connected to the Malaysian cultural context. My appropriation of plant attributes is closely related to traditional Malay design philosophy. For example, in woodcarving, the way in which the plant grows intrinsically conveys meanings. Historically, this philosophy was introduced because of the restriction of figurative elements in the arts in Islam. This echoes the intention behind several contemporary Malay Muslim artists in Malaysia not to use figures in their work; instead they use flora or patterns as substitutes, or to render figures more abstract. The symbolism of particular plants in the Malaysian context is also important in my imaginative process in developing the imagery.
These are the elements which influence my decision in art making. Sometimes the dilemma and subconscious intention are only revealed when I make further investigation towards my creative process. This is important for me to understand during that time, as a Malay Muslim artist making contemporary work in London.

Author Information
Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi, University Science of Malaysia, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2013
Stream: Arts & Humanities

This paper is part of the ACAH2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Fauzi T. (2013) At the Nexus of Nature and Culture: Botany as Metaphor ISSN: 2186-229X – The Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities 2013 – Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon