Terhah; an Evolution

Terhah; an Evolution

Adhisuryo, May 3rd 2011


 “It was popular for us at the time, you’d tell your friend about yourself. Your friends would remember for you!” (1)

Wolfgang Grimmer

Is it possible to create a whole new world better than this life gives us? Some say it is possible, some say it will be just an idea. There were so many people drowned so deep to this kind of idea of creating a whole new world and start a destructive way to make her idea become real. Then we tend to make prejudice to other as a mentally sick when she talk about an idea of creating a new world.   But we know that human sees what she wanted to see. And we can try to share what we see to others. Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi is one of the men having an idea of creating a new world, and he is an artist.

the artist while at work

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

Before talking about his recent artworks, let’s take a journey back to year 2003. Before taking printmaking as a major at FSRD ITB, Syaiful was a students at UNPAD majoring agriculture. In these studies he frequently interacts with a tool named microscope. This experience will form his interest into some type of image that clearly appears in his late artworks.

a microscope from an exhibition

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

After a year in agriculture Syaiful decided to study art at FSRD ITB. From his early sketches and artworks we know that his drawing shift from realistic figure then gradually become surreal and more abstract. Year after, Syaiful decided taking printmaking as his major, and this is when his first surreal image starts to appear to his friend.

First of all it is a large woodcut printed on a paper from one large soft board. The image is a usual human figure but its head is another human body. It is like conjoined twins (2) at neck without any head. In the printed woodcut Syaiful  also put a text from or about Nietchze. The documentation for this image is somehow missing, but his colleague will approve the artwork, because it was exhibited, in a joint exhibition,  at Soemardja back then. The joint exhibition entitled “Graphic Art Application” was presenting some student artworks, including the early surreal image made by Syaiful.

Then as time goes, Syaiful start to ignore the realistic figure. The part of the surreal images now begins to show more lines, details and become vague. Syaiful seemed too drowned to small images with intense details. Syaiful start to make many small sized prints for the assignment at that time. It’s not just that, Syaiful also spent his time making a constructed language (3) for the assignment in experimental art studies.

some early works

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

At that time, experimenting in some diverse ideas, Syaiful did not see any correlation whatsoever, yet. Rather than thinking and search for any reasoning, Syaiful just let his intuitive mind amend. These practice Syaiful did, was more suitable to call it as a mind puzzle. It was an exercise of mind; with details over tiny drawing, spontaneously mumbling any words that came to his mind, making lyrics, etc. Then, the perseverance brought fruit. The interest on tiny image and details then gave Syaiful second prize winner from an overseas open call. Syaiful also pioneer a project of mini artwork called 15x15x15 that had been run for three times.

Meanwhile, Syaiful named his constructed language as “Terhah”. Syaiful had made hundreds of words of Terhah language, and made a dictionary out of them. This dictionary is still increasing its content according to Syaiful intuitive mind. Terhah was a pretty success, it direct his colleague attention to know more about it, or even just to joke about it. These attentions gave Syaiful more energy to increase the content of his dictionary.

the dictionary

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

So these series of event finally came back to the drawing Syaiful made for his final assignment before graduate. Syaiful wanted to make a new world for these constructed language that already been made. The world where Terhah is used as the common language by its inhabitant. For months, Syaiful made so many entities and named them. Syaiful start to use the old tools again, the microscope. From his observation, just like a child mimicking some medieval scientist, Syaiful start to make interestingly weird shape but familiar and attractive colors. Syaiful then use this kind of observation to make new entities and landscapes.  By now, Syaiful had made a new world where the entities life in some landscape and they are all communicate using Terhah.

exhibition at PADI artground

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

Following closely to Terhah, we can see another interesting event. This event is more than what meet the eye. Examining Terhah from time to time, we can assume that Terhah is evolving. Whether Syaiful is consciously doing these or not, are not confirmed yet. But we can guess that Syaiful do these thing intentionally. Syaiful spent a year in agriculture, and sometimes go to biology department to learn and discuss with the other students. Of course Syaiful know about the concept of evolution. Terhah’s vocabularies is having alphabets, it’s like a civilization discover text from sound as another way of communication. The early landscapes are rather simple like two dimensional images, and the entities are more like amoeba and friends. But his late works show a more gradation and shades in the landscapes. The entities have some transparency and more like a strange little creature. In some sketches we even can see a theme of city; some species we know do that thing.

a landscape from final year assignment

Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi

sketch about some entities

personal documentation

sketch about a city

personal documentation

entity from a painting

personal documentation

a letter written in Terhah alphabets/scripts written by Syaiful’s colleague

personal documentation

Right now we can tell that Syaiful had made a new world in non destructive way. But this is not the end of the story. Terhah is still evolving; it means the entire world of Terhah is. Terhah is having an alphabets or scripts, perhaps also an artifact. The scenery of Terhah world is shifting from two dimensional creatures (unicellular) transforming into three dimensional creatures (multicellular), and more complex creatures. It might be just little more time before this creatures and landscapes finally out of the drawing and painting. The evolution inside Terhah is not without a problem.  As the constructed language becoming more shaped, the world and the entities inside Terhah become more complex. These two parts grow like a brother and sister or sibling. As we know two person have their own need, these two becoming so. It’s like they want their own exhibition for Syaiful. Because each has their own personalities, hard enough for Syaiful to display them both in one show. The interesting part is how Syaiful answering these problems will. We just have to wait and see.

  1. Urasawa, Naoki. 2004. Monster; Comic Book. Vol.11; the Dead Angle. Ch.07; the Memories of Cocoa.  p.159.
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjoined_twins
  3. http://conlang.wikia.com/wiki/Portal:Main

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