KUALA LUMPUR Sometimes life imitates art. In the nightmarish paintings of Adeputra Masri, Malaysia is depicted as a stage set for demonic-looking puppets in pointy-nosed masks to mislead their followers and do corrupt deals. A self-taught artist and former cartoonist, Adeputra has been presenting his unique vision since long before the latest money laundering scandals, political infighting and race-baiting engulfed the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"The characters of the wayang kulit [shadow play puppetry] are always exaggerated, cunning villains with sharp teeth," explains the artist about the traditional origins of his contemporary commentary. "I am only applying an ancient intelligence to the society I see around me. I think every artist has the responsibility to speak the truth of what he observes."