Towards A Post-Traditional Praxis: A Measure of Art and Life

The strength of traditional values and the revival of theocentric approaches to social issues makes it incumbent upon contemporary artists and theorists who practice in the modernist and postmodernist idioms to engage reflectively with traditional values in art. Conversely, it seems imperative that traditionalists reflect on the impact of the resurgent traditional mores on contemporary life, and that they do not develop their worldviews in isolation from modernity and from one another.

In post-traditional situations like ours, where diverse religious orders have survived both the singularity of modernism and the relativity of postmodernism, we are required to be attentive to art that goes beyond both the chronological and stylistic modes of art history and wholesale adoption of critical theory. We may need to unpack and explore the depth, the meanings of tradition and not sit satisfied within the aura of its superficial significations. With the historical and bibliographical researches of Durai Raja Singam as a point of departure, our afternoon speakers will explore the ways on what his practice mean for both contemporary art and the writing of art history in Malaysia today.

Durai Raja Singam as a pioneering proponent of Ananda Coomaraswamy – views on rapprochement of traditional worldviews and implications for our national sense of being

by Niranjan Rajah, Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada.


Who Is This Coomaraswamy? Durai Singam and the Impossibility of Not Writing

by Simon Soon, Senior Lecturer, Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya.

A tour of the exhibition currently on view at Piyadasa Gallery will be conducted by Niranjan Rajah after the talk at around 4PM. Refreshments will be served.

This Dialog Session is presented as a part of –

The Gift of Knowledge

An Installation Commemorating the Person and Work of Durai Raja Singam (1904-1995) 


Niranjan Rajah


Image – Sourced from Artklitique, 2017:

Event Dates


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