By Latif Maulan and Gentaj

Title: Sasaran Medium: Oil Painting On Canvas Size: 91 cm x 91 cm 2012

One might be thinking on and off why they are arranged in a rather static and simple manner? Is the artist taking the easy way out by not presenting something with a more intricate arrangement or is he in a hurry to finish off his presentation and just call it a day? Anyway, let’s not lose one’s marbles over it as the answer will emerge as one reads on, The subjects are done in hyperrealism.

Lighting, colours, shadows, and the exactness should be almost as identical as the referred photo, but the end product lies at he hand of the artist himself whether he needs to manipulate the first three elements above. Why marbles and not something else more challenging to render? This is the main question that flutters behind the viewers’ mind.

Title: Wonder Of The Marbles 
Medium: Oil Painting On Canvas 
Size: 43.5 cm x 59 cm 2014

The artist is not taking a short cut to a finished product; neither is he taking the easy way out by taking round-shaped object called marbles as the subject matter. He is more than able to produce something more complex in shapes, details, and arrangement that could have easily and universally capture the viewers’ imagination. Round-shaped marbles seem to be a rather mundane subject matter and it could be easily done by the uninitiated or by those who think it can be done so.

 The hyperrealists are more concerned about the minute details of the objects. He has to scrutinize the whole surface area to the highest level of his ability for defects such as the needle point chipped off surface that could be found at any part of the marble. The process of coming up with this art piece is not merely the direct and flat applications of paints to the canvas at one’s whims and fancy but had to be meticulously rendered according to the natural light or the use of an arranged set of lights that fall on the objects/subject matter.
Title: Outsource Emotional.... 
Size: 90 cm x 90 cm 
Medium: Oil Painting On canvas 
Year: 2013

Every defect such as a scratch or a needle point chip on the marble surface, and the transparent property of the glass marble has to be observed carefully. Should there be no easy-to-understand explanation as to how the marble gained life-like look on the canvas; the above explained process is enough for viewers to grasp the idea. Still, should there be a quizzical gesture followed by a repetitive question of “Why marbles?” then just close the eyes and walk away rather than standing there gaping at the artwork and losing your marbles in the process.

It occurred to my mind, unlike today, why was it so easy to own marbles during my childhood days? Today, in the ICT era, is the adventure of playing marble considered archaic when we see children are more comfortable playing video games and those on the net? I am just wondering whether there are still people (kids or adults) today playing the traditional game of congkak that uses glass marbles to score and count points. 

I could still recall of my childhood days of playing the game with friends in an open but shaded ground around the house where we dug holes in the ground to place those shiny glass marbles. It was sheer fun. When I look at these artworks, the glaring colours and light effects bring back the memory of my childhood days. Marbles are not mere round objects that shine whenever lights fall on them. Embedded in them are nostalgic memories for those who took marble as their favourite game during their childhood days. When playing the game (of marble) children indirectly taught themselves simple arithmetic and mental calculation, they went through the agony of defeat and the sweet taste of victory which are part and parcel in their life to come.

The Game of Marble (foto)

The History and the Origin of Marble
Marble, also known as "kelereng" is a favourite traditional pastime among the Malay children. It is played by boys aged between seven and twelve years old.

They usually play in places where it is shaded and out of the glaring sun. It is played during hot spell since it is easier to dig holes in the hardened and dry ground. Hence damp and wet ground surface are a no, no, as it make things messy with mud all around. In the olden days marbles were made out of chunks of wood lathed spherically the size of a fowl’s egg.

After the First World War marbles the size of toe were made from a mixture of lime and cement. Nowadays marbles are made of glass with a variety of  sizes ranging from the size of the small finger to those the size of a toe. The game of marble is played by aiming and throwing a marble and hitting it against another as the target. The number of players should not exceed five. Open and flat ground is most suitable as the playing area and the marbles used are made of glass.. The Playing Area A circle of 1 meter in diameter is drawn on the ground with a depressed area of 10 cm in diameter and 7cm in depth formed in the middle. The depression is made by thumping the ground with the ball of the heel. This depressed area is called the target area or “lubang induk” in Malay.

A long line is drawn at about 3 meters from the circle. This line indicates the legal shooting distant for the players. Before the game starts the players have to mutually agree as to the number of marbles each of them has to place in the target area. A draw is done to determine which player should start first. As a rule a player is required to stand about three steps back from the starting line before aiming and throwing a marble at those in the target area. Any marble/s that is hit and get thrown out of the circle will be his for the keeping. The player with the most marbles to keep is declared as the winner.


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