I am a painter.

I am Sabahan.

Some folks in the Peninsular say we, Sabahans, still live on trees. Honestly, I pray and wish that was true.

Instead of a tree, I live in a rented double-storey terrace house. Every time I go outside, instead of seeing branches and leaves, I see a mailbox filled with bills. Instead of riding a water buffalo in the wilderness, I have to drive my “RON 95 ever hungry car” in the everlasting traffic jam to work.  Instead of a talking monkey, I have my beautiful and very supportive wife, Anne, living with me. That, I do not want to change!

Hello, my name is Egn (its short for Reagan).

I have been painting ever since I was in primary school, but because of financial instability, I had to force myself to leave the art and flow for other money motivated drones. I took Architecture in a local college in Kuala Lumpur. I graduated, started working, started to “cari makan” seriously to pay off my study loan.

2 years ago, because of the same financial instability, I started painting again. But now the objective is different, not to cari makan anymore. My needs are the least of what I long to fulfill. I am an active member of The Cracko Art Group (CAG) based in Kota Kinabalu, these crazy bunch of artists has brought the street art scene in KK into a whole new level. I am very proud to be a part of this movement.

I realise now that I have a gift in art, and that I can and should use it for the greater good, kinda like being a superhero, but not quite. I have seen the faces of my orang kampung suffering the consequences of bad leader’s decisions and actions throughout the years. What hurts me is the fact that my orang kampung are too laid back, they would just sit and say “apa boleh buat….” or ” memang macam tu, terima sajalah“. The leaders, or Orang Besar in my district are lifted high and seated on golden pedestal, while the farmers, plantation workers still wallow in dirt and in their own blood and sweat.

I wish to tell our Orang Besar that the orang kecil are still suffering, How I wish I can say that the bellies of the Ketua Kampung has grown bigger, but on the other hand, the orang kampung are “starving”. I do not wish to complain, my intention is to solely empower those who feel that there is no more hope. I want to tell them that they still have a voice, even if it means they have to shout till their lungs give out.

I know of a tribe in Borneo that hums before their enemies just before their battle begins. Imagine 2000 strong warriors humming in unison. The earth trembles, leaves falling from the trees by the thousands, sending waves of fear piercing the hearts of their opponents. I want my orang kampung to know that they are those warriors, they need to wake up from their slumber and march into battle. I know there is still hope. It’s still not too late.

I do not have any formal education in Arts, but I know art has a big roll in empowering the people to move upwards. To install positive vibes and motivation for them to stand up together, claiming back what is rightfully theirs. To rejuvenate courage so that their fears would seem so insignificant, they will believe that they can do everything that is right! Art can do this! I strongly believe that.

That is why, on the 1st of June 2012, I will bring my artworks all the way from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur for my debut solo exhibition, entitled “R.I.P: Revolution In Progress”, opened by our very own Miss Yee I Lann, a celebrated artist and my good friend.

I will be exhibiting my works in the Pusat Rakyat for all to see, I hope that I will get your support in standing up with me along with my orang kampung, along with my migrant brothers and sisters, along with my friends; the street children, the trafficked, the oppressed, the marginalised and everyone who is in need in Sabah.

50% of the sales from this exhibition will go to LoyarBurok and The Borneo Youth Revolution (BYR). The BYR is a group in which I believe will bring a positive impact in the social lives of KK folks, that’s why I am honored to work with these visionaries in delivering the best to those who are in need.

Before I go, I really hope my message goes through to you readers out there. I hope that we the hands and feet (and voice) of Sabah will get the attention from you all. I wish that you will spare a few moments to drop by to my exhibition and just support me and my BYR and CAG friends.

Revolusi Seni Sabah Sudah Bangkit Bah!


Harold Eswar, also known as "Egn", is a social surrealism artist from Sabah who hopes to make a difference in the socio-political arena using art. He can be reached on Twitter @harold_EGN.

6 replies on “R.I.P (Revolution in Progress)”

  1. Dude, you make Sabahans proud. And I enjoy reading your writings. I like the way you write hehee. I guess your creativity does not focus on the painting itself huh ;D

    1st of June 2012 you say? See la if I'm around KL at the time. Because I'm currently staying in JB.

    btw, blogwalking here, dude. And happy Wednesday! Oya, all the best in your revolution! ;)

  2. Yeah! I too wish that we still live in trees. Unfortunately, most of our trees have been cut down and replaced with Oil Palm plantations owned by mega companies :(. Anyway, good luck in June Egn. Am gonna share this post.

  3. Dear Egn,

    Thanks for sharing, I really like ur take on how you wish we did live on trees! Good luck with the exhibition in KL, sweet that I-Lann helping out! Looking forward to it from KK!

    1. thanks haji….thanks for the support. yeah, living on trees would be so great. self sustainable house…hehe

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