Dr Iskandar Jalil: Paradox

3 - 30 November 2018

Japan Creative Centre (JCC)


Japan Creative Centre (JCC), Embassy of Japan, and Mulan Gallery proudly present Dr Iskandar Jalil: Paradox, a solo exhibition by Dr Iskandar Jalil that showcases over 65 ceramic art works, many of which were specially produced for this exhibition. It features signature vessels that Singapore's Master Potter is celebrated for, as well as recent works bearing sculptural qualities and dynamic combinations of ceramic techniques, glazes, and decoration.

This exhibition is held in conjunction with the 33rd ASEAN Summit 2018 and 45th Anniversary Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation, and to commemorate the strong ties between Singapore and Japan.

About the Artist

Dr Iskandar Jalil (b. 1940, Singapore) is Singapore’s Master Potter, celebrated for his distinctive pottery creations and ceramic art works. He is the recipient of the nation’s highest cultural honours, the Cultural Medallion as well as Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun (Gold Rays with Rosette) in 2015.

In recognition of his immense contribution to Singapore’s cultural development as a ceramist and educator, he was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2016 with an accompanying exhibition was presented at the National Institute of Education (NIE). He was also honoured with a tribute exhibition Iskandar Jalil: Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels) at the National Gallery Singapore in 2016.

Dr Iskandar Jalil had received two Colombo Plan Scholarships to study textiles in India (1966) and ceramics in Japan (1972). He forged a strong foundation in ceramic skills and techniques in Tajimi, Japan. Thereafter he evolved a philosophy and practice that encompassed a deep understanding of diverse pottery traditions, systems and aesthetics from over the world including Southeast Asia. Emerging with his unique ‘pottery voice’ and identity, Dr Iskandar Jalil has become an iconic figure in Singapore’s art development.

About the Exhibition

The central theme of paradox relates to the way Dr Iskandar Jalil's practice and philosophies feature paradoxical values and observations. The paradox refers to an apparent contradiction that appears intriguing, even absurb but which challenge us to think and appreciate certain wisdoms.

In much of Dr Iskandar Jalil's works, the Master Potter would emphasise that sometimes, in ceramics aesthetics 'less is more', that there is power in the small or beauty in deformity, and that the test of a master potter lies not in complicated, monumental pieces but in the simplicity of the little chawan (tea bowl).

The exhibition is further developed in three segments, "Beyond borders", "Perfect flaws", "Same difference", that elaborate on this core concept in relation to Dr Iskandar Jalil's travel, his philosophy, and his relationships. The three segments also play on the same idea of paradox. "Perfect flaws" for instance is a contradictory phrase that captures the approach in Dr Iskandar Jalil's practice where he allows certain imperfections or 'flaws' to be retained to enable the natural character of the clay and kiln process to come through.

This exhibition will feature for the first time, the curatorial contribution and writings of Dr Iskandar Jalil's daughter Ms Elena Iskandar, who will furnish fresh perspectives on the Master Potter. She illuminates his philosophy by sharing how Dr Iskandar Jalil's philosophies are manifested in his life, his relationships and his vessels.

Exhibition Period

Exhibition Period:

3 - 30 November 2018

Opening Hours:

Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10:00am to 6:00pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays, 6 November & 23 November 2018


Japan Creative Centre (JCC), Embassy of Japan in Singapore
4 Nassim Road Singapore 258372



Dialogue with Dr Iskandar Jalil


Saturday, 3 November 2018


2pm - 3pm (Registration starts 1:30pm)


Japan Creative Centre (JCC)

Click button or scan QR to register:


In an event if the registration is full, or you would like to cancel your registration, please e-mail us at jcc@sn.mofa.go.jp.

Kindly register early to avoid disappointment. We regret that as there is limited seating, seats will be confirmed only upon receipt of confirmation email from JCC. ALL EVENTS ARE FREE OF CHARGE.


Where is Japan Creative Centre (JCC)?

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Getting to Japan Creative Centre
4 Nassim Road Singapore 258372
Tel: +65-6737-0434

By Public Bus:
Bus services: 7, 36, 77, 105, 106, 111, 123, 132, 174, 174E, 502, 502A, 502B (Alight in front of Delfi Orchard)
For latest information on bus routes and fares, please refer to SBS Transit.

By the MRT:
You may also take the MRT to the nearest MRT station, Orchard (NS22).
Train fares, travel times and route maps are available on the SMRT website.

Driving to JCC:

Nearest parking is at Orchard Hotel, Delfi Orchard and Orchard Rendezvous Hotel.

Japan Creative Centre

4 Nassim Road, Singapore 258372
+65 6737 0434 / jcc@sn.mofa.go.jp
Nearest parking at Orchard Hotel & Delphi Orchard
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