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Turoi Bagak on Fuji NP160.jpg

Graphic artist

Born & bred in the city of Kuching in Sarawak, this 39-year-old is a relative newcomer to the art scene. He started drawing cartoons in kindergarten but only really started to be serious with his art during last year’s pandemic lockdown via Instagram. Since then, Timothy James—who goes by the pseuodonym Turoi Bagak—has already collaborated with other Bornean artists and was also commissioned to illustrate a comic for an international online publication. Operating mainly from his bedroom, he is currently doing his art only on weekends and the occasional weeknights as he is still working fulltime as a planning engineer but he plans to focus on something more satisfying and meaningful to his life in the not-so-distant future: his Borneo lowbrow folk art.

Alternative art by the altered native. As a millennial indigenous Dayak, he attempts to subvert the mainstream depiction of his ancestor’s artform. He achieves this by creating graphics with crude lines in the style of primitive Dayak tattoos which are usually paired with even cruder lines as slogans in the spirit of lowbrow attitude. His work is influenced by cultures specifically pop-culture, counterculture and youth subculture. His topics range from introspection, social commentary, politics to dark humor. His choice of canvas is the basic cotton t-shirt due to its cheapness and accessibility as he believes that art is for everybody. His art and messages are not meant to be exhibited inside galleries but out in the streets, always moving and worn by misfits.

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