On 22 November 2017, a seven-member artist group who had produced art installation “Under Construction” for the Kuala Lumpur Biennale 2017, set to start on 23 November at the National Visual Arts Gallery, decided to withdraw from the event after authorities allegedly removed some of the components of their installation on the grounds of their being “elements of communism” in the artwork, reported The Malaysian Insight.
While the artistic community has alleged that authorities were to blame for the censorship, police, who reportedly began their investigation on 18 November, stated that the artists were just trying to get free publicity.
City police chief Mazlan Lazim stated: “There was no seizure. We merely advised the curator that some of the artworks are not very proper. It was the curator who then took down the artwork and gave them back to the artists”, reported The Malaysian Insight.
The group of artists who have withdrawn comprise five Malaysian nationals from artist group Pusat Sekitar Seni (Aisyah Baharuddin, Ahmad Azrel Kilheeny, Mohamad Idham Ismail, Nurul Adeline Zainuddin and Iltizam Iman Abd Jalil), and two Indonesian artists from group Population Project (Isrol Triono and Selo Srie Mulyadi), reported ArtAsiaPacific.