The time drags their heels as the paint shimmers in the radiant lights showcasing each and every details of the precise craftsmanship of god gifted skills. The painting hangs quietly in its place accompanied by its fellow artworks, as the air purifier freshens up the air and the water dispenser bubbles away the tiredness of the hardworking men in a fresh hydrating gulp. The boy stands behind the rest of the men in silence as they stare in awe of the marvellous venue which they had created. They are the patrons of the arts, the fighters against censorship and discrimination, and the experimentalists of freedom expression. They are the men and the boy of Minut Init Studio Galleria. This is the story of the of Minut Init Studio Galleria. (sorta)
I remembered it like it was just yesterday. There I was, an obnoxiously ignorant 19 years old boy trying to figure out what the hell is going on in our present reality of the real world just like every other kid who just got out of the comfort of high school delusions. The first time I ever met Dali Dali, was during my year as a Casting Director for a Talent Agency. There I found myself casting this dude who looks and acts a lot like the Dude from Big Lebowski except smaller in size since we are asians. He was only there to accompany a friend of his and I didnt really gave much thought about him. He’s a cool cat but his casting video aint gold. The most I could use him was an extra for a few commercials. And after a few commercials we began to bond, though superficial from my end due to the fact that all of my contacts from this part of my life is just business and nothing personal. I dont really find myself attracts to models and honestly didnt really wanted much contact other that for work. But out of all the folks I have worked with, he was the one most down to earth and mellow. A chill dude, a wise old wizard-like persona atleast in my eyes. A slacker maybe, but so am I.
I do not know what he saw in me. I still can’t understand why he chosen but somehow he decided to give me a call on one fine day in late June. It was perhaps one of the most important calls I ever answered in my life. You know how Harry had the letters from a magical school, or how Frodo first found the ring or even how Luke found a message stuck in a trash can, well this was my moment. Not very cinematic but hey that’s life. That one call from him was the catalyst of my life and alters the direction of my destiny. If I had not bothered to answer or even refused his offer, I wouldn’t be here talking about it and I would have been a completely different person today. It was a simple call, a call for help. He was asking for my skills with words, he wanted me to rewrite a few proposals for a documentary he was planning to execute. You see, I always love writing but it was mostly for my own amusements and every now and then I use it to con rich kids into paying me to writing their assignments but I never really thought anyone would actually read it but here is an old man asking this young boy to write such an important document. I was naturally excited. Hey, I mean if this old man liked it, then I must be good then maybe I could actually become a writer. If I suck and this old man hates it then fuck it… So I took his offer and tried my luck.
He picked me up from work that day to discuss the content of my task and took me this dodgy looking shop lot in Uptown Damansara, well honestly all the shop lots looks dodgy there back then before the economic growth. He guided me up three flights of pitch black stairs which got me thinking, ‘Where the fuck is this old man taking me? Am I going to get raped? Murdered? Nah its Dali. He is too pacifist and liberal for such a thing. Or maybe that was his disguise? Oh shit here I am in front of this white door, everything looks so dark in there. Maybe it’s not as bad as it would be. Pull yourself together dude, you got a Mohawk. You’re a punk head. You will fight any fucker who……..HOLY SHIT! THIS PLACE IS SOooooo FUCKING COOL! Look at that painting! I never thought any Malaysian artist draws like this. Shit this is a gallery? I haven’t seen anything of that old bullshit traditional ideology of what they call art. This here is the real art. This is the voice of my generation. This is the true voice of the sons and daughters. I found Nirvana!’
That was my first reaction when I entered the Minut Init Studio Galleria. My life will never ever be the same again. Here is a place that speaks the truth. No more can I enjoy the brain dead Medias that being shoved down my young generation’s throat with that K-pop and Bieber bullshits after knowing that these revolutionary artworks are available for me to consume my ever starving hunger for culture. Everything on display in the gallery was a feast for my eyes, my heart, my soul and my mind. From the abstract paintings to the gruesome metallic sculptures to the tiny TV that illuminates in the messy room.The Dadaisms, the pop arts, the vintage photography, the sketches, the graphic arts, everything was beautiful. It was chaotic but it was a Beautiful Chaos. The true embodiment of the rebellious youth. And that smell in the air, it is so potent and sweet. The air in the studio was a fresh familiar smell that allows my body to drift away with the immense beauty that surrounds me. For almost half an hour, you couldn’t find me sitting still on a single spot. I was in constant motion to ensure that every tiny details of the gallery is fully discovered by my wandering eyes. Han Solo had his Millennium Falcon, Captain Jack Sparrow had his Black Pearl, Captain Malcolm Reynolds has his Serenity and Dali has Minut Init. I found my bunk in the Serenity. That very same night I couldn’t sleep. I was writing everything he told me to and checking it twice to ensure perfection. Though I could not be satisfied but I wanted to do the best so I could to make him proud. I just wanted ensure that I was always welcome at the gallery.
I never really know what he thought about the proposal I wrote for him. I know he said there were things to amends and improve but I haven’t really followed up. Next thing I knew was that he going away to Melbourne. I was shattered. Just when I start to like him without a secret agenda, he was leaving. I thought to myself, ‘There goes my Nirvana.’ That is when he asked me a question I could never refuse, he didn’t even need to finish the sentence my lips was already saying ‘YES’ in every language on this planet. That is the day I became Dali’s personal assistant, that is day I became an apprentice for The Black Palate, that is the day I became a Padawan for these great Jedis. A young boy from the shire on a lonely planet finally getting his chance to travel outside his village and into the deepest star systems.
A week later I quit my job to spend as much time as I could with my new found mentor. In fact, I have never been able to hold a job for too long ever since that day. Every day since then was a journey. From late night brownie baking sessions on the floor of his kitchen to registering the business license. Even when he goes for his medical check up, I was there. Every moment and every single minute with him was filled with words of inspirations and dreams. He told me exactly what he expects from me. For a few weeks before he left, I had a real brother. An older brother who I respect and look up to. Can’t express to you my emotions about this dude because well I still finding the right words to describe it.
Now if you reading this and thinking you are reading a short story then I’m afraid it will disappoint you. You see I can’t write the story of Minut Init, well not yet. The adventure is still ongoing; we are barely at the climax of the plot. No this is just rants. This is just me sitting here in my boxer late at night smoking my pipe, telling you a vague perspective of my past 5 years (well 4 years but coming up to 5) with these great men and I will barely scratch the surface of it. Now if you wanting a proper literature material of these events then you have to wait. For now, enjoy my ramblings. I got a lot more to say about Dali but since we are going with the flow of the story the next chapter is with the introduction of James Ly and Jon Sim.
Before I meet up with James and Jon, I was warned by Dali on how these guys will be very strict and going to teach me proper disciplines of hard works. I didn’t truly believe him but of course I didn’t dare to do anything stupid. The very first time I met James and Jon was in the studio, one fine evening in early July 2011. I saw two dudes sitting on the dark blue sofa surrounding the small television, playing Winning 11 on the Playstation 2. One had an awesome long hair with beard of wisdom while the other was in his office attire. I thought to myself: This is not what I expected from Dali descriptions, nah he just scaring me to ensure I behave. I mean these guys are pretty cool, I bet if I met the younger versions of them we could have even been best of mates.
Oh how naive I was. In many ways I was right about them. They are my type of guys who I would associates with but Dali was right as well. They will take no bullshits from me. Those excuses which I often use for most of my mistakes with other people will not work on them. These guys in many ways have been where I am and understand exactly the type of excuses I would give. So they know exactly how to counter attack my lame ass reasoning. Up to this day, I can’t give a single excuse which they cannot advice on and some of the excuses are sincere problems which with their response I actually learnt to fix it.
Now what can I tell you about James Ly from my times with him? I first felt the commanding power of this great warrior on my first exhibition experience. It was the mobile photography exhibition and Dali had just left me there with bunch of adults that I barely knew. I couldn’t really recall him asking me to clean the toilets a day before the exhibition but he was right, it was something I should have done without asking. In front of the visitors of the gallery, he forcefully ordered me to clean the toilet and like a sad little boy I did what I was told. It wasn’t the kind of experience you would want but it helps me to feel comfortable cleaning anything that was thrown to me afterwards and not to be embrassed about it. Ever since that day, I was always afraid of him. Not afraid in the sense of an evil dictator (maybe a bit when i first started) but rather afraid of disappointing him. I am not really the kind of person who cares much about disappointing myself because I really have low expectation from myself but if I disappoint James, I would disappoint Dali and if I disappoint the both of them, I would feel like shit. Now don’t get the wrong perception of James, he is not a sergeant who put high expectations on things, what he asks from me is pretty achievable if I wasn’t such a coward and a lazy bastard. If he is angry at me it is really my fault and I won’t bother giving an explanation to you for my behaviour anymore because I learn from them not to give excuses but rather prove that you have learnt from your mistakes. I know it may sounds like a simple thing to learn but you have to understand that I am just a horny little boy who making decisions with his penis, so there was less thinking done back then. He destroyed the illusion of know-it-all teenager and rebuilt a humble and educated man out of me (or atleast the best he could).
James Ly, the Thor Look-a-like Sifu of Aesthetic Excellence. James to me is the guru who shape me to become a real man. Pushing me further and harder, disciplining my mentality, increasing my philosophy and overall making a Man out of me. Though i do disappoints him more often that i wish. I sometimes wish to tell him how much i am learning from him but at same time i am pulled back by the laziness of my youth with the mindset that i have years more to go in my life before i have to take things seriously. But i guess i would still be wrong. Because just when you think you figure out how James really thinks, he would then make a statement that would shatter my understanding of his personality. He is very unique to learn from and I am honored to be his student. James is a well built man with a great passion for the beautiful game of Football which often seen in his strategies and plans. The way he reacts to new situations and crisis is like watching a talented Brazilian striker dribbling the ball with perfect balance and the right usage of footwork to reach his goal. It seems as if nothing can stop him from salsa dancing his way into the success. Fearless, fast and a great endurance to hard foul plays. Nevertheless he is not all about techniques and skills. He has something which many players in the game lacks, he has soul. He doesn’t see the ball as an object but rather a part of himself. He doesn’t just shoot for his own individual glory but rather for the nation’s dying hope. He is doing it for the love of the game. This is exactly what makes him so great and undefeatable in my perspective. He has become my mentor for how a real macho gentleman should be.
Confident, Intelligent, Artistic and I’m pretty sure he has a romantic side as well. He is what every woman craves for in a man. James Ly and James Bond are my guidance to becoming a real man. In addition he is very knowledgeable in other cultures that I have always fascinated with, which helps me learn things I have been dying to know. And he has done things I only dream of doing. I wouldn’t ask for anyone else to be my teacher. You want to know what’s the best part of knowing James? You idiots pay thousands of your parents hard earn cash or the government loans for a class with him in college which I bet some of you don’t even pay attention to while I have lessons with him for free! So what if I don’t have certificates of diploma and degree? What I learn from him can’t be found in your papered qualifications. Now enough of butt kissing and let’s talk about Jon.
Jon Sim Hua is in my point of view the business man of the gallery. He is the one ensuring the cash flows and though I never really had the chance to learn much from him but his personality of keeping tracks on the expenses do impact my own financials managements. Of course I am still struggling with it but he will always be there for me to ask for advices on this matter. Jon is not what he looks like. At first, I thought he would be boring money minded banker but damn he is funny. He has the sort of personality that you can’t stereotype. A simple normal Joe but yet extraordinary. He is not the kind of person you would just forget in a day or two. He has a unique impact and adds spice in simple conversations with his quirky down to earth statements. He is the guy who glues reality back to the dreams and ambitions of James plans. Not in the sense of destroying the fantasy but rather finding a logical and executable methods of making the dreams come true. All that with a manageable budget and investments. There isn’t as much events of the past year with him that I could truly recall because mostly it’s in the discussions and talks that the group has and you don’t expect me to remember word for word of every conversation in the studio. Nevertheless his words do still resonate in my head every now and then.
Now there is many more great characters from the Brotherhood (and sisters) of Minut Init but I aint got much attention span to write them all down so the main Three Musketeers are all you need to know. And like D’artagnan, my journey is filled with highs and lows but to keep things simple and not to let anything too personal out in the open, i’ll just talk about the events, exhibitions and other collabrative works that I have participated or view from afar in the last 5 years with Minut Init. From the first to the most recent. But before that, lets begin with what the fuck is a Minut Init?
Well according to JuiceMagazine, Minut Init Studio Galleria is a punk rock Art Space. A fitting label for such an establishment but it aint just punks who are welcome here, its a melting pot of ideas and culture. Hell you can call it the Base of Artistic Expression rebelling against the discrimination and censorships of the big medias. With freedom of speech put above everything else, pointing the huge middle finger towards the Sedition Acts that is apparently becoming a huge talking point of country. This small humble gallery is proud to be home for many folks who wish to have an open talk about their opinions. For more info about the studio visit their website : minutinit.com
Minut Init : A Group Exhibition 2010
Now this exhibition was before my time so I cant say much about it, but being their first ever event this has to be one of the best with amazing artworks and great theme of collage-like displays.
Photo Gallery :
Another Exhibition just before my time, so yeah little description from me. But there is awesome weapons.
Photo Gallery :
Made In Phones: A Mophog Group Exhibition (July 2011)
Now this was the Exhibition that I first started to join the clans. My virgin art event defloweration and its an Instagram Photo Exhibition, back when Instagram was still a new thing, back when I never thought I will get myself a smartphone. This exhibition was a little scary for me but the folks are pleasants and friendly enough, the art was unique. Just ask Juice for the full review.
Photo Gallery :
Tahi Cicak: A B&W Photography Exhibition (September 2011)
This is perhaps the Exhibition that memory failed to register properly, not that it was forgetable, nah it was far from that. This was the first event that I was truly drunk and high as fuck that I cant retain much of the memory. It was amazing or maybe it was okay but nostalgia can make things in a flowery fashion just like the awesome black and white photos being displayed. All those works were like windows into the past, so my memory was in turmoil trying to keep track what is real and what was my imagination induced by the beautiful sights. And the chicks was beautiful too.
Photo Gallery :
ARTS FOR GRAB – HUMAN RIGHTS DAY (DECEMBER 2011)
Not Really an Exhibition or event at the Minut Init but it was our first outing. Our first attempt to collabrate with other venues and groups for a good cause. And like always, the girls were beautiful.
Photo Gallery :
Creole (April 2012)
One of the Best and my most Favourite Exhibition to date. I dont really know why but perhaps the warm feeling of a huge family was there with plenty of helping hands.
Photo Gallery : The Set Up
This was perhaps the exhibition that the entire family of Minut Init came together (with the exception of Dali, who was in Melbourne doing his Masters). This was also the exhibition that got us on The Stars Newspaper.
Photo Gallery : The Show
Open Mic @ Minut Init (May 2012)
Not really an exhibition, nor is it a gig. Its more of a random Open Mic Night event featuring Raksasa.
Photo Gallery :
Baht 19 Charity Auction (June 2012)
Not an exhibition, not an event. An Auction of James’ painting. Wasnt there, wish I was cause there is loads of Beautiful Models. Jealousy is killing me.
Photo Gallery :
Midas Touch (Oct-Dec 2012)
In collaboration with Nizam Abdullah and Red Bullet, we established a 3 month contract shop at Publika Art Hub. Now I wont say much for this was not a good experience for me. Enough for me to just say, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson, Sorry. After this thing, the situation of my reputation in the Brotherhood was tarnished and never fully recovered.
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Punk Chic : Pearly Wong Exhibition (April 2013)
This was Minut Init first ever Fashion Show and it was perhaps the hottest, sweatiest, most crowded event we had ever host. Add to atleast 100 visitors in a small office space was the lack of air conditioner, sponsored boozed and folks who dressed to impressed and not for practicality. It was amazing that the show was a success with sour faces and armpits. I dont know, maybe thats how they normally look at fashion shows. I personally didnt really enjoyed the pretentious faces mainly due to the fact that I had to run here and there cleaning shit up and smelling like coal miner in a sea of fashionistas who barely look at me, if they do its the stink eyes, couldnt really blame them though. But after its all said and done, after the hard work, it was nice to sit down grab a few beers and smile at a great event.
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POET’S PASSPORT : Soul Food(Aug 2013) & Supernatural (Oct 2013)
This two poetry reading events were during the time where Minut Init first taking interns under their wings due to the fact that I went missing in action again. I wasnt involve in them but I did enjoy visiting and enjoying these events. As a writer myself, I found it quite amusing listening to others soul filled words. Envious, sure but grateful.
Photo Gallery :
Double Holloween Party (October 2013).
Again, I wasnt really involved in the set up of these events but I was excited for it since I had never been to a Halloween Party and always wanted to dressed up as something else. Though the only costume my budget permits me was a fucking Hippy and it was dissapointing since it was the only one in costume. There was another but she changed half way since no one else was commited to looking like a fool except me. So I got drunk and just complain like any immature motherfucker would do. The second night, I wasnt there. Then they dressed up a bit.
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Photo Gallery :
Julley : A Photo Exhibition (Feb 2014)
Another Exhibition where I wasnt there and wasnt involved or even knew anything about it until it was too late. Sorry but I had other problems that preoccupied my life. But it was some of the guys from Tahi Cicak, so I bet it was a good event. As you could see from the pics, during my time it was more to punk and since I was absent and the reconstruction it was more classy and chique style. Both is beautiful in its own right but being an asshole, I prefer it dirty and gritty.
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3RD CULTURE : CHAMPSLEAZY (May 2014)
Visited the opening party but had to leave due to work. But sponsored vodka and the pics looks amazing. Looks hipster punk, which is cool. Plus a star appearance by Joe Flizzow. If pictures are anything to judge by, this had to be the best event Minut Init ever host. The most beautiful and no 1 party so far. Really bummed out, I wasnt there.
Photo Gallery :
Fabled Structures (December 2014).
I was supposed to be there for this. I even planned to print out my own writings for this but the circumstances within the brotherhood made me coward out last minute doing my well known move of Houdini-ing out of contact. I was afraid, I was petrified. I was a huge pussy. The event itself was unique with cool stick scupltures and a very interactive concept.
Photo Gallery :
Je Ne Sais Quoi (February 2015)
And like every magic trick, after the dissapearance; the object has to reappear. I tried this prestige act once, failed. So I tried it again. Persistance is a key element to my stupidity but this time it actually paid off. I return at the last minute and help out with the set up and the event itself. Our proper first gig for valentine’s day. I think the fact that it was valentine made me more confidence eventhough it was the beer talking but unlike before this time I actually feel good. Previously I was just a scrawny grumpy hobbit who did his duty and didnt socialize too much. This time around I actually tried, maybe I found the one ring of courage (and evil) but I aint tellin’. This event was a good beginning of the new year. First event that we actually charged for entry fee but it was still a full house event. Great vibe, great music, beautiful people.
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But of course events and exhibitions werent the only thing we did. Behind the scenes, Minut Init had a lot of work done with a few photo shoot filmed at our location. Here are just a few pictures over the years :
And a few videos appearences here and there :
Though I return to Minut Init after disappearing for awhile, I was never really a part of the X-Men anymore. I was more of Deadpool or Gambit, I am hard to kill but not as bad-ass. With them but not officially one of them. I’m there if I feel like I need to. I may have started as the Student, but I never finished my training and like Anakin Skywalker I had to made my own mistakes and choices. Instead of being a legendary villian, I became a half-ass good for nothing scruffy looking nerf-herder. Well what can you expect coming from a guy who only goal in life is that he aim to misbehave and have solemly swear he was up to no good. I’m just some nerd punk who supports dada-style arts. Of course, I will help Minut Init as long as I can, and as long I want. Until I get my own ship and fly into the black.
Hopefully many more years to come.
Extra Nadzim Zainal photo shoot:
Coming Soon :