Iskandar Jalil : Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels)


From most of Iskandar Jalil’s other works in the exhibition that demonstrated Wabi Sabi or ‘Communicating with clay’, it is clear that nature or the role of chance plays a significant part in his works.

This work of his especially got my attention because unlike his other works which explored the nature of the material (such as clay being used to form a biscuit tin box) or the nature of mistakes and imperfections, in this work, it is literally nature (plants and roots), infusing with a handmade product (his pots) to create something altogether new.

This stunning image paired with the story behind the work made me fall in love with it even more. After asking the guide there, I learned that a cat urinated on the plant and hence he left it alone after that and then this was the result eventually. Roots of the plant, which managed to survive the harmful liquid, grew out of the bottom pot and twirled itself onto the pot on the top, creating a new texture and depth to the presentation of the pots.

It also explores its functionality with its form, as although it is in a magnificent form, Jalil uses the outgrown roots to hang his caps, hence fulfilling it as a form with function.


I absolutely admire the thought behind his works, and “by chance” process that takes over his work, in this case, the cat and the plant.

Author: Hemani

"smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?"

4 thoughts on “Iskandar Jalil : Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels)”

  1. I really liked this sculpture as well. This is because of how the plant root is outside the pot and entwined around it (instead of inside the pot), and also the hats hanging off it.

  2. Think I missed out this part of the gallery!
    The idea of chance in this piece of work makes it a lot more interesting and valuable.

    Iskandar’s attitude on this ‘chance’ where the cat urinated on the plant and him allowing it the work to progress on its own is something worth learning as when it comes to life, there are truly a great deal of things beyond our control, leaving us to see them unravel on its own.

  3. I think this piece is very interesting as well. The personal aspect of those being Iskandar Jalil’s own hats combined with the the creation of something new and functional from something which was left to intertwine with nature is fascinating.

  4. Hello! I chose the same work too! That’s an interesting story to hear; about the cat. It really demonstrates a kind of wabi-sabi attitude too, as Jalil doesn’t seem to have deemed the object “unworthy” of art even after it was peed on. He finds the significance in such “imperfections”– even cat’s urine can become significant.

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