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BAPAKU PULANG: Growing Up with Art – Selected Works from the Collections of Nazura Rahime and Sharmin Parameswaran


Framing a Moment in Fathers and Daughters’ Journey with Art

Nazura Rahime and Sharmin Parameswaran are the sole daughters of Rahime Harun (1954 – 2008) and Dato’ N. Parameswaran (1948 – 2022) and grew up amidst their respective fathers’ art-collecting journeys. “Bapaku Pulang” encapsulates the early recollections of both daughters as preschoolers growing up with art until adulthood. With the exhibition, Nazura and Sharmin offer a glimpse into the selection of artists and subject matters that their fathers favour with the intention of breathing new life and meaning into the artworks.

Rahime and Dato’ Parameswaran connected through art when Rahime founded A.P Art Gallery in 1983 with his late wife, Zarina Ariffin (1955 – 2010), Nazura’s mother. Initially located at the Anak Alam Space in Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur, the gallery opened in Equatorial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, then moved to KL Hilton, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Rahime acquired a three-storey building in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, in 1993 that now houses Nazura’s production company, Manggis Group, which was established in 2003 with her husband, Fauzee Nasir and A.P Art Gallery since its resurgence in 2018.

Dato’ Parameswaran joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia in 1969. Between 1971 and 1981, he served the Malaysian Missions in Jakarta, New York, Addis Ababa, and Nairobi. While in New York, USA, from 1973 to 1975, Dato’ Parameswaran began visiting art museums with his wife Lyn Loh Siew Ling (1948 – 1991), Sharmin’s mother. They first met as sixth-form students at the Anglo-Chinese School in Ipoh, Perak.

“My mother was the one who was artistically inclined, and inspired my father with her appreciation for visual arts and music. I have fond memories of my childhood listening to her play the guitar singing my favourite song as a kid, ‘Angel of the Morning’. I think the start of my father’s passion for the arts came from her,” recalled Sharmin.

Sharmin was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1978. At the time, Dato’ Parameswaran was the Charge d’ Affaires for the Embassy of Malaysia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From 1986 to 2008, Dato’ Parameswaran was Head of Missions in Switzerland, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Nazura was born in her mother’s hometown in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, in 1979. At the age of four, Nazura spent her weekends at Rumah Anak Alam – a bungalow that housed artistic activities by artists, poets, and theatre actors – and attended art lessons with resident artist K. Thangarajoo alongside artist-couple Mustapha Haji Ibrahim and Maryam Abdullah’s son, Zaihan.

Rahime was remembered as “a passionate champion of Malaysian culture” and “a highly competent art business entrepreneur and administrator”. He instilled in Nazura the greatest gift of life values, hard work, and perseverance.

When A.P Art Gallery opened an outlet in Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, in 1985, Nazura assisted her parents on weekends. Her task was to sell postcards to tourists for 60 cents. She earned RM10 a day and looked forward to spending her hard-earned income at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“My father used to tell me every time he spoke about art: ‘Paint what you see, know and feel’. Anak Alam and Central Market were my playgrounds when growing up. Art museums and galleries across the country were my holiday destinations, where most often I would be throwing tantrums in front of these museums as I did not appreciate art as a child. Looking back on these memories, I realise that this love-hate relationship I have with art is what I treasure now, each artwork a reminder of my life. For ‘Bapaku Pulang’, I am looking to pass on the artworks knowing it will give a new meaning to others.”

In 1984, Rahime Harun attended a Diploma course in Entrepreneurship Development (Art Business) in Turin, Italy, to serve the Malaysian art market. He took the opportunity to visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. This museum houses the personal collection of Peggy Guggenheim’s 20th-century European and American art, which inspired him to own a private museum back home.

In 1995, Rahime Harun presented an exhibition titled “Pursuing a Dream – The Collection of Rahime Harun” at Galeri Petronas, Kompleks Dayabumi, Kuala Lumpur, which featured 135 artworks by artists such as Abdullah Ariff, Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal, Latiff Mohidin, Siti Zainon Ismail, Khalil Ibrahim, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Rafiee Ghani, the Matahati collective, and more.

The exhibition was held in conjunction with his 42nd birthday. The launch coincided with the signing a memorandum of understanding between Rahime Harun and Perbadanan Muzium Melaka to loan his art collection to Muzium Melaka.

As for Sharmin, her parents separated when she was eight years old. Her mother raised Sharmin until her untimely demise in 1991. Sharmin then lived with her maternal uncle and aunty throughout secondary school and college. While commencing tertiary education in Australia, she travelled to Europe and America solo – a brave endeavour for a young woman, reflecting her independent and strong-willed nature. In 2000, Sharmin graduated with a BA (Hons) in Commerce, majoring in Accounting from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She began her career in the media industry in 2003 and crossed paths with Nazura.

Dato’ Parameswaran was introduced to many artists of the time by Rahime; among them was Malaysia’s foremost wayang kulit artist, Nik Zainal Abidin, sculptor Raja Shahriman Raja Azzidin and printmaker Juhari Said.

During Dato’ Parameswaran’s stint as Ambassador of Malaysia, he has hosted several excursions for Malaysian artists abroad. An example is an excursion organised by the Malaysian Artists Association led by Ahmad Khalid Yusof to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1993.

During the trip, artists like Rahime Harun, Zarina Ariffin, Khalil Ibrahim, Long Thien Shih, Sanip Lasman, and Ahmad Zakii Anwar, among others, visited artists’ studios, art exhibitions and cultural programmes.

An exhibition titled “Titian III” by Malaysian artists was held at the Hanoi School of Fine Art in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This moment was captured by Rahime and Zarina as exemplified in their watercolour paintings titled “Teatime” (1993) and “The Passage, Hanoi” (1993) featured in ‘Bapaku Pulang’.

Although Dato’ Parameswaran spent 39.5 years working abroad, he did make time with Sharmin to do activities he loved at home, such as visiting artists at their studios or having meals with them and discussing art. Sharmin’s lack of enthusiasm as a teenager for these types of outings corresponds with Nazura’s.

For Sharmin, visiting family members in Penang will ultimately be extended to paying visits to artists like Tan Choon Ghee, Dato’ Tay Mo Leong and Penang Art Gallery’s Dato’ Dr Tan Chee Kuan.

“My father funded my first year of university by selling art, especially as I was abroad during the 1997 financial crisis where the Malaysian ringgit plummeted.” said Sharmin.

In 2015, the National University of Singapore Museum presented an exhibition titled “Vietnam 1954 –1975: War Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran Collection”, which showcased one of the largest known singular collection of drawings and posters from the Vietnam War” on loan to the NUS Museum for a period of three years to prospect research and to facilitate teaching.”

Sharmin explained: “Inheriting an art legacy swings between daunting and exciting. My father has passed on for more than a year, and I am still going through his collection attempting to understand his reasons and passion for collecting. ‘Bapaku Pulang’, featuring Malaysian works, is just the start of this process, where I do intend for the collection to move on to where it would be appreciated and best resonate as art will mean different things to different people.”

She also shares similar views and perspectives on art with her father. Both appreciate visual arts based on sight, emotions and develop a bond with artists by talking to and working with them. “However, where we differ is in the appreciation of mediums, with my father having a preference for traditional paintings, a medium in which he is familiar and knowledgeable with. As for myself, having grown up across analogue and digital media, I have an appreciation and excitement for progressing forms and mediums of art expressions. Not to mention, being a fan of current popular culture,” said Sharmin.

The father-daughter duo worked on a project together, culminating in an exhibition titled “At First Glance” in 2012 that was held at White Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur. The show has given impetus to impending curatorial work for Sharmin, which has surpassed 40 art events.

In 2013, Dato’ Parameswaran established Interpr8 Art Space, an art gallery in Publika, Kuala Lumpur, with Sharmin. His interest in acquiring, collecting, and deaccessioning artworks was most active during this period. Among the solo exhibitions he organised at Interpr8 were by Nik Zainal Abidin and Haron Mokhtar.

In Nik Zainal Abidin, Dato Parameswaran found lasting friendship until the artist’s demise in 1993. Dato’ Parameswaran admired Nik Zainal’s use of vibrant colours to depict the accuracy of the characters from the Hindu epic, Ramayana.

Dato’ Parameswaran also had a strong interest in Dzulkifli Buyong’s work. In 2019, Sharmin interviewed her father to discuss the talented artist’s work. His account of the published interview reads:

“It was through the late Rahime Harun, who ran an art shop at the National Art Gallery. I used to go there very often, and we became very good friends. Rahime knew of my interest in Dzulkifli Buyong (Dzul) as the National Gallery used to feature his works frequently. There was a group show in 1986, in which Dzul was exhibiting. I went there excitedly, and of course all his works had been booked already. One work, ‘Menghafal’, was of a girl walking and memorising a book, and a cat following behind. This work had been booked by Rahime, and because he knew of my keen interest, he said to me, ‘Since you like Dzul so much, I’ll transfer my booking to you.’ That was how I got my first Dzulkifli Buyong artwork. And it was Rahime who told me to go and see Dzul. He revealed that Dzul had a series of watercolour self-portraits that few had seen. Rahime was at that time one of the best art entrepreneurs in town.”

When Sharmin asked when Dato’ Parameswaran began to take an active interest in Malaysian visual art, he replied: “It was much later in 1985. I was flying back to New York one day, with a stopover in Taiwan. On the plane there was a magazine called Salam, a magazine of the Malaysian Hoteliers Association, and outside on the cover was a Tan Choon Ghee artwork. I took the magazine, and inside there were many pictures of his works reproduced, which reminded me so much of Dong Kingman. I read the article, and it said that the person who was handling the artworks was Victor Chin of Rupa Gallery, at that time located in Old Town, PJ. When I returned from that trip, I went to find and meet Victor Chin, with the intention of buying and perhaps meeting Tan Choon Ghee. Instead, I ended up buying my first ever artwork, a stone lithograph by Victor Chin at RM400. It depicted minaret tops of the KL railway station building.”

The lifelong journey of art collecting comes with excitement and grievances – the mutual feelings that Nazura and Sharmin have in common. Having left with their fathers’ legacies, Nazura and Sharmin come to terms with everlasting memories attached or detached to/from objects of desire and, in doing so, experience grieving/celebrating a loved one.

National laureate Baha Zain captures the essence of the patriarchal figure in his poem titled “Bapaku” (1979):

Dia tak memerlukan kemasyhuran atau kuasa
Dan tak memuja sesiapa
Dia bagai gunung Titiwangsa
Selalu di depan mata
Tidak memberi penjelasan
Dan tidak meminta maaf.


Sarah Abu Bakar
1 October 2023


Link to exhibition catalogue here.


Watercolour on paper
80 x 92cm
RM 2,800

Ismail Mat Hussin (1938-2015) was a remarkable artist whose batik paintings captured the attention of Malaysian art lovers with his technical mastery and representations of Malaysian daily lives. This watercolour on paperwork depicts a motherly figure with her four children leisurely lounging on the compound of their kampung house. This heart-warming scene of simple living illustrates the pleasures of family bonds. Ismail Mat Hussin was a member of the Angkatan Pelukis Semenanjung (APS) Kelantan and Persatuan Seni Lukis Kelantan (PESENI).


Egypt II, 1979 Oil on canvas 27cm x 20cm
RM 3,500

Ali ‘Mabuha’ Rahamad (b. 1952) spent over four decades travelling the world from Singapore, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan to Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Egypt and more. Ali captures the complexities of the modern world and the intricacies of the hundreds of cultures that span the globe, such as this oil painting titled “Egypt II”, dated 1979.

Ali was a member of the influential Anak Alam collective in the 1970s and was involved with Angkatan Pelukis Semenanjung. Ali is A self-taught artist known for his surrealistic style and masterful use of colours that invoke feelings of serenity, peace, and calmness amid worldly turmoil.


Kinabalu, 1985
Pastel on paper
83 x 64cm
RM 8,000

Maryam Abdullah (b. 1951) is an abstract artist most active during her years with the Anak Alam group of the 1970s. This pastel on paper titled “Kinabalu” depicts 12 multi-coloured abstract shapes and stylised icons floating against an arc demarcated by a solid colour palette of pastel pink and light blue. Her delicate and feminine interpretation of nature reflects the agenda of the time: “the desire to become one with nature”. Maryam, alongside Mustapa Haji Ibrahim, managed the premises of Anak Alam colony, Rumah 905, in the 1970s.


Untitled, 1988
Acrylic on canvas
89 x 130cm
RM 12,000

Mustapa Haji Ibrahim (b. 1946) is an unassuming artist who prefers to keep a low profile, loyal to the ways and views held by the Anak Alam members. In 1974, he was one of the artists who formed the Anak Alam collective. His art activities had already started before he enrolled in the Angkatan Pelukis Se-Malaysia (APS) at the Taman Budaya Studio, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, in the late 1960s. Among his solo exhibitions include shows at the British Council in 1973, Anak Alam Studio in 1979, the Equatorial Hotel in 1983 and “Mustapa Haji Ibrahim: Paintings 1968-2008 4th Solo Exhibition” at RA Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur in 2008. His paintings reflect his passion for nature, expressed through organic shapes and forms in a harmonious colour palette.


Rural Passage, 1982 Watercolour on paper 106 x 84cm
RM 8,000

Mohamed Zain Idris (1939 – 2000) was a gifted artist who excelled in watercolour, capturing the spectacular scenes of idyllic rural Malaysian landscapes such as “Rural Passage”, created in 1982. Born in Kampung Nail, Besut, Terengganu, Mohamed Zain Idris attended Sekolah Melayu Kuala Besut in Terengganu and was later honoured as the Terengganu state’s Guest Artist by the 10th Chief Minister of Terengganu, Tan Sri Haji Wan Mokhtar bin Ahmad from 1991 to 2000. During his lifetime, he held four solo exhibitions with Samat Art Gallery (1971 and 1972), at Hotel Equatorial (1984) and Hotel Shangri-La (1987) in Kuala Lumpur.


Wayang Kulit in Red & Green, 1989
Watercolour on paper
50 x 57cm
RM 8,000

Nik Zainal Abidin Nik Mohamad Saleh (1933 – 1993), known as Nik Zainal, is revered for his impeccable drawings, illustrations, and paintings of the characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana. A self-taught artist, Nik Zainal moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1955 and attended informal art lessons with the Wednesday Art Group led by Peter Harris. In 1960, he was commissioned by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, to design the “Kunci Ibu Kota”, the Royal Throne for the first Yang-di Pertuan Agong and cokmar.

The late Dato’ N. Parameswaran was known to own “the biggest single collection of Nik Zainal’s works”. In 2013, Dato’ Parameswaran organised an exhibition titled “Nik Zainal Abidin: Malaysia’s Foremost Wayang Kulit Artist” that showcased more than 60 of Nik Zainal’s works in various media and wide-ranging subject matters such as figurative, Islamic calligraphy and landscape. Dato’ Parameswaran purchased his first Nik Zainal artwork through the late Rahime Harun, an art dealer and owner of A.P Art Gallery, in 1986.


Nagore Durgha Sheriff, Leboh Chulia Penang, 1986
Watercolour on paper
66 x 76cm
RM 8,000

Tan Choon Ghee (1930 – 2010) was an observant visual artist interested in chronicling street scenes and historical buildings. Many fine examples are manifested through his watercolour and ink renditions of daily activities in Penang, such as this immaculate work titled “Nagore Dargha Sheriff, Leboh Chulia Penang).

Constructed in the early 1800s by the Chulia community as a Muslim sacred shrine for the revered Sufi saint Shahul Hameed (1490–1579 CE), the original Nagore Dargah that houses the tomb of Shahul Hameed is in Nagore, a coast town in Tamil Nadu, India.


Masjid Tengkera, Melaka, 1984
Oil on canvas
49 x 43cm
RM 2,500

The ARA Kinship

Galeri Puteh presents a group exhibition showcasing artworks by 41 artists and friends from the Ara Damansara art enclave. Representing some contemporary artists who work from studios in Ara Damansara, Selangor, “ADA Kawan-Kawan” embodies the alliance and camaraderie within the artist’s community cultivated by the Universiti Teknologi Mara fraternity and beyond.

An expansion from the 2015 “ADA Show” that featured 17 artists, “ADA Kawan-Kawan”, establishes the evolution and growth of an artistic emplacement – its geographical setting and accessibility that attracts new generations of artists to inhabit and make art within proximity.

This show highlights young and senior artists’ diversity in artmaking and creative pursuits, ranging from drawings, paintings, sculptures, and installations. Sharing the theme of progression, the Ara Damansara artists strive for success in their endeavours, with many starting as apprentices before becoming professional artists and some working day jobs as art administrators, photographers, graphic designers and art dealers.



Among the Ara Damansara artists who explore the panache of abstraction as visual representation are Adli Nazrin, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Akif Azmi, Amirul Roslan, Fadzril Fakaruddin, Faris Ridzwan, Fazrin Abd Rahman, Hidayat Arshad, Izzuddin Basiron, Khairul Arshad, Nadzrin Haziq, Nazhan Fikri, Rashid Nor, Shaufi Yatim and Syed Fakaruddin.

Ahmad Fuad Osman produces sketches and drawings in ink on loose paper – some with streaks of colours – in between his activities as a “warm up” or “let go” process in his art studio. In 2010, he shared a working studio with Nizam Rahmat in Ara Damansara. The suite of drawings on display serves as an alibi or reference for his visual diaries from a specific memory, place, and time.

For example, in 2007, Ahmad Fuad Osman was based in Rimbun Dahan, Kuang, for a year-long residency programme. He then worked from Ara Damansara in 2010, moved to a studio in Sungai Buloh, and concurrently worked from Bali. In 2021, he started producing artwork from a studio in Klang.  

Akif Azmi’s “Tumbuh Berpunca” features a collage of fabric, polyester thread, and acrylic paint on fabric. Monochromatic tones of mainly black with grey and white undertones and streaks of orange that form the motifs from the textured fabric create an alternative perception of abstraction. Through this work, he conveys a positive message of striving for the best in life.

He explained: “The usage of various types of fabrics from different clothing serves as a metaphor for life’s journey. At times, we experience happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger, but it is essential to embrace this journey while continuously improving ourselves for the better. We should firmly believe that we are ‘Tumbuh Berpunca’ signifying that everything that unfolds in life has its own purpose and rationale.”

“Kawasan Sehaluan” by Amirul Roslan depicts multicoloured bold dots, streaks and lines forming organic bulbous shapes evocating marine organisms or underwater coral reefs in pastel colours.

His work highlights the importance of one’s environment that will determine life’s success. He described: “If the landscape is beautiful and well maintained, it makes us positive even though life has obstacles and challenges.”

Fadzril Fakaruddin creates an abstract landscape in a conjoined square canvas in varying sizes – giving the viewer an impression of a window frame perspective of a breathtaking view of a dynamic landscape in bright neon colours.

“My investigation has resulted in this extensive painting with my personal interpretation of physical and emotional mindscape. In my artmaking process, I have recreated the form and structure from nature using brush strokes suggesting a sense of inspired immediacy in capturing the moment. I express my inner world using linear texture with elements of striking colour palette,” he said.

For Faris Ridzwan, the tactile quality of his visually stunning paintings creates an illusionary depth through the layers of shape-shifting form in a vibrant colour palette. His “Masonry” series explores “identity, history, and the symbiotic relationship between human-made structures and the natural world.”

Fascinated by “the ability of bricks and stones to hold stories, memories, and cultural significance within their very essence, he seeks to capture the serene beauty of Indonesia’s landscape, inspired by the rhythmic arrangement of steppingstones found throughout the country.”

In “Cross a Stream”, Faris Ridzwan illustrates rows of multicoloured diamond-shaped tiles to reflect the diversity of Indonesia’s geological formations. He further explained: “Smooth river pebbles, worn by the passage of time, offer a gentle and comforting tread, while rough-hewn stones evoke the ruggedness of volcanic landscapes. Each stone brings unique shape and texture, invites contemplation and connection with the environment, allowing him to fully absorb the tranquillity and beauty of their surroundings.”

“Decorated with Sedentary Life Forms” features oval forms that differ in size, colour, and composition to represent the process of human creation based on Surah Al-‘Alaq verses one and two from the Holy Quran: “Read, ‘O Prophet’, in the Name of your Lord Who created— created humans from a clinging clot.”

Faris Ridzwan said: “I found this story to be inspirational, leading me to produce artworks where blood cells were adopted as my subject matter. This metaphor of life or the birth of something new is present throughout my artwork and my journey as an artist. Hence, the idea of this artwork, being reborn, and blood cells are very much connected and intertwined with each other.”

Fazrin Abd Rahman‘s “Fragrance” depicts a silver geometric floral motif weaved using aluminium strips that takes inspiration from a traditional Malaysian embroidery named “Sulaman Bunga Ator” after the fragrant flower Melodorum samensis, a family of Ylang-Ylang, which typically blooms in home gardens.

According to the artist: “This artwork gives space for change and transitions from something old into new through the conversion of traditional materials to modern materials. Although the terminology of the original material language has been changed, it still retains the original identity.”

Izzuddin Basiron produces “Medan Perang”, or battlefield, to replicate his studio wall on canvas. His artistic process, which includes all the materials used to create his paintings apparent – strips of masking tape painted over in bright colours and residues of spray paint epitomise “behind-the-scenes” evidence or the imprints of his crisp geometric lines and flat surfaced cityscape series of paintings.

“Arena” by Khairul Arshad features intricate lines that illustrate the characteristics of plants with thorns, spines and prickles, such as durian and cacti, among other botanical plants, as life’s metaphors. In his signature painting style, Khairul Arshad adorns his canvas with linear shapes of varying dimensions to create stencilled and woodcut effects. The elaborate process entails layers of interconnected lines built upon the detailed background.

In his artistic statement, he references the Malay proverb “Kalau tidak dipecahkan ruyung, manakan dapat sagunya”, which means success will not be achieved without effort to describe the visual interpretation based on his observations about life. He uses a variety of subjects, such as nature, as a metaphor to form an imaginary space to convey their symbolic meanings.

Nadzrin Haziq’s rich autumnal colour palette, consisting of orange, tangerine, yellow, brown, red and pink, evokes a sense of comfort and warmth. Titled “Into the Wood”, this abstract painting continues his series from the “Essence” solo exhibition in 2022. Working intuitively without preliminary sketches, Nadzrin Haziq considers incidental marks as engaging in a fluid dialogue with a blank canvas.

He said: “Into the Woods” denotes happy ever after. I want to celebrate the process and progress in life even when there are mistakes that I need to learn. The method of making this artwork involves decision and progress.”

Nazhan Fikri‘s “Rainfall” features a monochromatic image that suggests the repetitive formation of plant roots. Presented in landscape orientation, the black and white composition that likens the tie-dye technique dominates three-quarters of the canvas, while the lower section is black.

The artist explained: “My work often embraces dualities such as inside and outside, lightness and heaviness, calm and chaos, illusion and reality. My work is familiar and mysterious, enigmatically between the abstract and figurative. The emotional intensity I convey in my work results from a sustained exploration of my response to the natural environment.

My works hover between abstraction and figuration, create a window onto the outside world, and can be interpreted as details of organic forms such as nature formations.”

Syed Fakaruddin’s visual perspective conveys an intimate story that chronicles his health and well-being, a subject rarely discussed that he has bravely expressed through a new body of work from his “Painkiller” series.

Titled “Painkiller: Isolasi di Gaster”, the composition illustrates a long red, narrow tube that coils in a winding and looping manner against a murky and cold landscape indicated by the colour palette. The series continues from the “Soulful” series featured in his first solo exhibition, “Bumi Asing”, in 2018.  

He explained that the “Painkiller” series represents an imagined landscape’s physical and human emotions. It highlights pain and damage to internal organs in a quiet setting.

“This work is about my experience suffering severe gastric. I produce the intestine as a subject that spirals over the quiet landscape for the audience’s view of my expression.”



Representing the figurative theme that encompasses human figures, portraits, cartoon characters, images of flora and fauna are Aiman Aisamuddin, Aimman Hafizal, Alysha Fahmi, Aswad Ameir, Cinta Ayuandrea, Fawwaz Sukri, Fudhail Said, Hamizan Yusof (Mije), Lina Tan, Najib Bamadhaj, Sabihis Md Pandi, Sudin Lappo, Shafiq Nordin, Sofia Haron, and Syukur Rani.

“Clash of Clans” by Aimman Hafizal features an aerial view of a minuscule scenery with playful characters engaging in various outdoor activities in the lush landscape of “Komodo Land”. Aimman Hafizal creates a charming, whimsical visual escapade using a cool colour palette of blue and purple.

He stated: “In my creative journey, I have always found inspiration in using well-known characters from movies and animations as a playful way to tell stories in my artwork. This time, I decided to take a different approach and create my own original character, inspired by animals as a means of developing my own identity as an artist. This ‘process’ allows me to explore the realm of possibility without questioning the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the story within my artwork, granting me the freedom to construct my very own universe.”

Aswad Ameir is a multidisciplinary artist whose early paintings subscribe to the abstract expressionism genre. For “ADA Kawan-Kawan”, he presents figurative paintings in the form of portraits and allegorical representational.

“Adagio (Black Series)” features an anonymous pair of feet standing on the ground. Its legs and upper body are covered in a balloon-like form. According to Aswad Ameir, “Adagio conveys the life of the artist emerging from the darkest part of his life. The life that is full of agony, unspoken words, and issues that were left unresolved. The artist is now out to embrace his past, learning to be the person he is destined to be and living the life that is ordained for him. This piece is particularly inspired by the book ‘Killing Commendatore’ by Haruki Murakami.”

An excerpt from his poem titled “Black Series (Absurd Reality)” reads:

“Black exudes a space without time and place,

its purity transcends the mind into the unknown.

 It greets the mind with darkness, apprehensive,



It breathes life one cannot have,

love one cannot embrace

and darkness that cannot be touched.”


Fawwaz Sukri creates “Fortune Teller” and “Girl’s Love” as part of his “Life is Wonderful” series, where he uses human emotions as his central theme. He said that “love is an emotion filled with hope and happiness. When you love someone, times go as fast as depicted in ‘Girl’s Love’. The background, which is created by complex layering of transfer images and acrylic talks about the obstacles when you love someone whether it is hurtful, joyful, or wonderful. It is a human desire to be loved and to love someone as it is part of the human nature.”

Fudhail Said creates a larger-than-life self-portrait in a greyscale colour scheme. His eyes are closed, and his facial expression indicates calmness. He explained: “’Goodbye, My Past’ contemplates the continuity and progress of a person. It symbolises a person’s belief in a particular phase or stage in life that realigns with who he is evolving into and where he might become in the future. The artwork emerges from the subject with a gradient tone of black and white, somehow reflecting the ageing process and the passage of time. As a result, it allows us to pause, connect, and reflect upon memories and our present lives.”

“The Surveyor Surveyed the Servant” by Hamizan Yusof depicts a red Donald Duck head gazing away from the viewer – sporting a red Polo T, yellow jacket, blue trousers, and a pair of black boots – sitting on a wooden chair. The vibrant painting references cartoon characters, landscapes, street graffiti, and the artwork title inscribed in mirror writing.

According to the artist’s statement, the artwork evokes a longing and nostalgia for Hamizan Yusof, who has pursued another career. He said: “Based on my previous life as a full-time artist, I created a series of Mickey Mouse icons as my subject. I began studying iconic characters and was later attracted to animals as prominent personalities.

As time changed, I reached a point when I stopped creating art. It sparked in me that I am no longer in the same field. My surroundings change every year. However, I am still trapped in this art world and tried to find a moment that I could keep on creating artwork. Imagining some ideas to create new art is challenging because of the ever-changing surroundings.

I am placing myself as Donald Duck sitting on that thinking chair, wondering how to run away from this art world to work as ordinary people do. But now, I always miss the lovely life of being an artist.”

“Did I Do Something Wrong” by Shafiq Nordin illustrates the cultural icon Pinocchio, reimagined with a fantastical mushroom cap, neon green wings, flamboyant pink bowtie, and a long nose that ejaculates. Shafiq Nordin said, “If all human deceptions could be seen physically just like Pinocchio whose nose would become long if he lied, people would be afraid to commit fraud, and the world would be more peaceful.”

Sofia Haron‘s ” Mother “is a titillating work on a triangular canvas. Nude figures in embracing postures drift liberally around the canvas. Diamond grids of colour blocks in shades of pink create a delicate movement that reaches for the apex.

She stated: “As a woman and an artist, I have always believed that colours connect intimately with our emotions, and I approach my art through this unique perspective. My art celebrates a vibrant and multifaceted world of emotions as experienced through the lens of femininity. The view towards women has been ever-changing throughout the years, and it is always a fascinating topic for me to observe and consume.

In my artistic process, I draw inspiration from the diverse array of emotions that women encounter daily, such as joy, love, sorrow, anger, hope, and everything in between. The visual narrative speaks of the courage, vulnerability, and empowerment of embracing one’s emotional journey.

In a world that often seeks to constrain and categorise, I believe in the power of colours and emotions to break free from those limitations. I want to create a space where women can connect with their emotions and find solace in the understanding that they are not alone in their feelings. It is like colours on a palette meant to be embraced, celebrated, and shared.”

Suddin Lappo is among the pioneering Ara Damansara artists alongside his collective, Dikalajingga, formed in 2000 and worked from a studio they shared together. “Beruk dapat Kerusi” is a satire about the parliamentary seat in the Malaysian political landscape, which depicts an ape sitting on a yellow chair similar to that of the Yang Di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat (The Speaker of the House of Representatives).

“The Monster” and “The Giant” are Syukur Rani’s rendition of his imaginative characters executed in a vibrant, illustrative manner. Deriving from his new “Pop” series that celebrates pop and subcultures in Malaysia, these colourful paintings represent street art style.

He reminisced: “This idea emphasises the memories of when I was a child often imagining about creatures such as aliens and monsters.”



Filled with symbolic meanings, still-life paintings produced by Ara Damansara artists offer a renewed viewpoint on simple objects that become the focus of their subject matter. Artworks by Alice Tan, Alya Bieha, Atiqah Khairul Anuar, and Dinn Diran represent this genre.

Atiqah Khairul Anuar’s “Tetingkap Merah” features an array of receipts, bills, and polaroid pictures, among other scraps of images taped on a red window as the title suggests in trompe-l’œil technique.

“Iron Ranger” by Dinn Diran depicts the iconic American Red Wing work boots built initially for iron miners in the 1930s. Its characteristics of the toe cap, speed hooks, and Vibram®’s outsole make this legendary leather boot a classic.



Among the Ara Damansara artists who create sculptures as their mode of expression include Azizi Latif, Azrin Mohd, Haris Hamir, Hisyamuddin Abdullah, Nizam Abdullah and Nizam Rahmat and Syahmi Jamaludin.

Azizi Latif creates “sculpted canvas art” through his signature quilling technique. Titled “Irama Lautan 2 (Oceanic Rhythms 2)”, strips of canvas are arranged in a wavy and undulating pattern depicting the fluid and rhythmic motion of ocean waves to contemplate the ever-changing rhythms of life. The formation conveys a sense of movement, depth, and the endless existence cycle.

The primary colours on the canvas are a passionate blend of red and soft pink. These hues evoke a sense of warmth and emotion, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the artwork’s depth to create a dynamic contrast against the canvas backdrop, drawing the viewer’s attention to the composition’s heart.

A delicate and intricate gold outline gracefully traces the contours of the quilled elements, adding a touch of luxury and refinement to the overall composition. This golden border not only defines the artwork but also serves as a testament to the artist’s attention to detail.

“Divided #3” by Azrin Mohd from 2017 is revisited in 2023 to mark the end of the Reformasi movement. Azrin Mohd uses powerful visual imagery to illustrate the withering spirit that leads to “reformati” — a derogatory wordplay on Pakatan Harapan’s famous slogan to suggest the agenda for reform is now dead.

A text that reads “Nation of Compromises” refers to the recent claims of political tampering in the corruption trial of a particular political figure who has been granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

Haris Hamir created a series of wall sculptures titled “Koleksi Panas #1-#6” after the famous collectable Hot Wheels. Reimagined and sculpted using paper, Haris Hamir’s selection of vehicles pays homage to the Malaysian context featuring “Van Jenazah” or a Muslim hearse, “Tanah Perayau Pertanahan”, which is a Land Rover Defender 90, “Kertas Terbang” or paper plane, “Kerja Lembughini Hurukan” after the Lamborghini Huracán, “Bas Sekolah” – a 14-seater Toyota Hiace in school bus yellow colour, and “Kooper Kecil”, which is a classic yellow Mini.

Hisyamuddin Abdullah’s “Caution! Elephant in the Room” conveys his perspective on the current state of Malaysian governmental affairs in which he expresses his concerns. He has cleverly defined the silhouette of a political leader adorning a songkok in black against a red background. Over it, a standing elephant in light blue signifies the metaphorical idiom highlighting a major problem or controversial issue that is present but is avoided as a subject for discussion. A transparent ballot paper is adhered to the cynical image.

Hisyamuddin Abdullah explained: “I see the management of an issue (case) involving the highest leadership of a political party is often a question about the transparency of the process, whether it has political interference or abuse of power, it still affects the people’s trust in politics. This mixed media work is a response to the issue, a layer of acrylic sheet on the surface of the subject gives an obscured narrative to the audience about who is the leader behind the ballot paper. This work serves as a warning sign that the selection of leaders should be examined clearly, to avoid hardships in the future.”

Nizam Rahmat’s multidisciplinary practice ranges from mixed media paintings using a collage and assemblage of found objects and images, stencil, screen print technique and drawing to installations. “Notable Cases” consists of recycled flight cases, flight case accessories, acrylic, polyurethane, graphite, and ink in variable sizes arranged in stacking order as a wall sculpture. He employs initialism to narrate the scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad, such as JL (Jho Low), NR (Najib Razak), and RM (Rosmah Mansor).

According to Nizam Rahmat: “In sixty years since the formation of Malaysia, the nation has been burdened with many incidents, events, and episodes that result in repercussions and consequences years ahead. Some are still being shouldered and borne to this day and those whose effects will continue to be felt by future generations. These six boxes of various sizes demonstrate the burdens we will bear — and in turn our children, until the end of time.”

Syahmi Jamaludin creates mixed media works comprising acrylic paint, silkscreen, charcoal, acrylic glass, and wood frame mounted on canvas. Titled “Fragila”, he uses the concept of the window as the main idea, encouraging the audience to look out from the inside.

He explained that “the main subject is the wallpaper effect as a representation of the interior and the window frame represents the exterior. Flora and fauna motif adorns the wallpaper to symbolise the trappings in the natural world and false beauty. Encased within a framed window, a balloon twisting armament is symbolic for peace and gratitude that we need to value.”

Sarah Abu Bakar

20 September 2023

The Blank Canvas Edition #01 by Galeri Puteh

Link to exhibition catalogue here.


In Memory of Society

SARENG presents Arif Fauzan Othman’s fourth solo exhibition, “Angkat-Sumpah”. The show features fifteen oil on canvas paintings depicting symbolic figures that convey social values represented by intellectual dichotomies and cultural beliefs. The subject matters were conceived from statuettes created by Arif Fauzan in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, photographed, later composed, then painted on canvas in a theatrical landscape.

Known for his figurative and abstract-style painterly ability, Arif Fauzan emerges from a six-year interval since his last solo exhibition, “Blackzephyr” in 2017, with a new series of majestic and elegant renditions of sculptural figures to depict “the mystique of Nusantara mythology and the contrasting symbolism of glorified statues in Western culture”.

His latest body of work, “Angkat-Sumpah”, translates as “swear an oath”, but a play on semantics can also mean “glorified curse” or “lift the curse”. The idea of delving into “paradoxical dichotomy” provides an opportunity for Arif Fauzan “to examine the contrasting forces of good and evil, and the disorienting moral landscape that engulfs our modern society, where discerning right from wrong has become increasingly challenging”.


East and West


Arif Fauzan explained further: “Drawing inspiration from the ancient tales of the Nusantara, where individuals are transformed into stones and rocks as a consequence of their actions, I juxtapose this myth with the glorified statues prevalent in Western cultures. The Nusantara myth warns of the perils of straying from righteousness, reminding us of the importance of moral conduct and familial bonds. Similarly, the Western glorified statues encapsulate heroic figures and historical icons, celebrating their achievements and embodying the collective aspirations of a culture.”

Combining the ancient tales of Nusantara and the glorified statue of the West as exemplified through works like “Oh! Tuhan” and “Nilai Bebas”, Arif Fauzan meticulously illustrates the characteristics of clay – from which the figurines derived – its plasticity and malleability through creating various textures and surface details, such as delicate nuances in the facial features and creases of the clothing.

Arif Fauzan selects dark and light colours and contrasting tonal variations to enhance the dramatic effects and chiaroscuro luminosity by applying a monochromatic palette to create depth and intensity for each painting. The unique choice of reflective metal pigments elevates the sense of theatrics with its glistening and ethereal quality.

In “Oh! Tuhan”, a male figure is portrayed kneeling on the ground with his arms raised to the sky, pleading to the Almighty in desperation. A homage to the final scene of a Malay classical film titled “Batu Durhaka” (The Rock of Sin) (1962), the protagonist turned antagonist, Wira, seeks forgiveness from his deceased mother on her grave for the sins he had committed. When exclaiming his final words, “Oh! Tuhan”, Wira turned to stone.

The film narrates the story of Man’s seven deadly sins: pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth within the primitive Nusantara milieu in a period when men fought with keris and hand-to-hand combat for self-centred motives, and women suffered exploitation and maltreatment. Ironically, the maternal figure remains sacred to the lustful man. “The Nusantara myth portrays the petrified individuals as cursed, representing the consequence of moral transgressions”, Arif Fauzan aptly described.

In “Nilai Bebas”, a female figure emerges from the dark ocean and ascends towards the burning dark skies. The goddess Libertas of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) inspires the imagined deity. Stripped of her Roman robe, crown, torch and tabula ansata, Arif Fauzan’s reimagined Lady Liberty represents total freedom and glory. This portrayal raises an inquiry about the potential misunderstanding between liberty and libertinism. “The Western glorified statues present an elevated and revered state, symbolising the triumph of greatness and courage. However, the meaning behind these symbolisms can be oversimplified and misinterpreted in the opposite direction,” explained Arif Fauzan.

The romanticism of ancient Greek sculptures such as the Venus de Milo, created during the Hellenistic era, represents the idealised female form and is celebrated for its graceful and harmonious composition. This example of cultural symbolism is widely recognised as an iconic representation of feminine beauty, grace, and elegance, masterfully carved out of Parian marble to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. For Arif Fauzan, the ancient Greeks and Romans created statues for symbolic reasons such as for religious and mythological significance; artistic expression in its highest form; commemoration of heroic figures; symbol of power and authority; propaganda and political ideologies; identity and civic pride; and education and inspiration of moral virtues.

Morality and wickedness are contradictory qualities that Arif Fauzan aims to explore. He stated: “Through my artwork, I aim to provoke contemplation and spark conversations that navigate the labyrinth of moral ambiguity. By juxtaposing the Nusantara myth and the Western glorified statues, I invite viewers to reexamine their values and beliefs, encouraging a renewed sense of moral introspection. This exploration serves as a catalyst for critical thinking, inviting individuals to question the foundations upon which they base their judgments and actions.”

“Berhala Kiri” and “Berhala Kanan” are representations of extreme ideologies and radicalised subsets of specific belief systems that exist in the world, past and present. According to Arif Fauzan: “In our contemporary society, where moral relativism prevails and the boundaries of right and wrong are increasingly blurred, this artistic exploration becomes even more relevant. It prompts viewers to reflect upon the intricate interplay between cultural context and moral frameworks, questioning the validity of absolute notions of good and evil nowadays.”


Cast in Time


Through this observation, history (and mythology) bears witness across the aeons to the pride of power or the wrath of Mother Nature. Archaeological evidence is abundant, from the Great Sphinx of Giza (2558–2532 BCE) to the ancient city of Persepolis (518 BCE), among others, spanning a period of over 2,000 years.

In an alternative perspective, exemplified in history, there is a moment when reversed narrative occurs: when an emperor in the East expresses his desire to protect and defend his rule in the afterlife, followed by a perishing of lives in the West due to a volcanic eruption.

An extraordinary example is the Terracotta Army, a collection of life-sized clay statues comprising thousands of individual figures, including soldiers, officers, horses, and chariots – buried alongside the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in the 3rd century BCE. Its sheer scale is astonishing, created as part of the emperor’s elaborate tomb complex that serves as a representation of the military might and power of the Qin Dynasty.

Whereas, in 79 CE, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash and debris during the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The explosion was so powerful that it completely overwhelmed the city, preserving it under layers of volcanic material. The ash and debris, consisting of fine-grained volcanic material called tephra, rapidly buried the town and its inhabitants. The process by which archaeologists preserved the bodies of Pompeii’s inhabitants is due to a natural phenomenon called “vitrification” or “petrification”. Archaeologists created plaster casts of the victims, providing a poignant and lifelike representation of the people who perished in the eruption. Folklore revolves around a supposed curse placed by a priestess of Pompeii, who cursed the city and its inhabitants for their immoral behaviour, resulting in the volcanic eruption as a divine punishment.

These historical examples are the antithesis of Arif Fauzan’s ideologies for “Angkat-Sumpah”. For Arif Fauzan, “Angkat-Sumpah” is a visual narrative encouraging discourse on ways “to cultivate empathy, compassion, and a deeper appreciation for the diverse perspectives that shape our world.” He opined: “In this artistic journey, I invite viewers to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of myth and cultural symbolism, embracing the lessons of the Nusantara and Western cultures. Through this exploration, may we awaken a collective consciousness that transcends borders, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate global community.”


Sarah Abu Bakar

15 June 2023


Arif Fauzan Othman – Oh! Tuhan, 2023, Oil on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Nilai Bebas, 2023, Oil on jute, 176cm x 176cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Berhala Kiri, 2023, Oil on canvas, 92cm x 183cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Berhala Kanan, 2023, Oil on canvas, 91.5cm x 183cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Mimpi Dalam Mimpi, 2023, Oil on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Arah, 2023, Oil on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Pengapungan Terkawal, 2023, Oil on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Arif Fauzan Othman – Persalinan Baru Maharaja, 2023, Oil on canvas, 183cm x 122cm

Still-life Solidified

Batu by Fauzulyusri offers a fresh perspective into Fauzulyusri’s artistic oeuvre, which has spanned over two decades. This exhibition marks his 14th solo and 10th one-person show at TAKSU – a momentous occasion to celebrate an artist of this calibre.

Fauzulyusri has embedded his unique painting style into the intrigued eyes, hearts, and minds of many viewers, including myself. I encountered his sophisticated work, From Minor to Major, in a group show in Kuala Lumpur in 2007, where I started as a young gallery assistant.

Still etched in my mind is how playful, tactile, witty, fun, and abstract his artworks are. These characteristics of Fauzulyusri’s visual expressions emphasise technique, composition, material, form, colour, texture, and subject matter as we understand them. Art enthusiasts and purist followers will be curious about how Fauzulyusri arrived here.


Rock formation

In Batu, Fauzulyusri departs from naivety, textual, graphical and, above all, abstraction to explore the centuries-old still-life genre. Enshrined within the frame’s borders lies an inanimate object, complex solid mineral matter in the form of majestic rocks and all its splendour.

Multicoloured rocks illuminating from within, especially its gestural cracks and crevices, is, in fact, a recurring theme. These designs and textural effects make frequent appearances in Fauzulyusri’s progression – appearing now and then in series as early as Neolithic (2006); Coreng (2013); to most recently, Konkrit (2021); all shown at TAKSU.

Here, the rock is thoughtfully placed at the lower section of the composition to illustrate weight. Demarcated by clean lines with a minimalist and neutral background colour palette, as seen in Tona (2020), which portrays gravity and intricate details to the subject matter – Batu is an ode to Fauzulyusri’s journey thus far.


The commission

The shift from naïve abstract to still-life painting has evolved since a commissioned project for a hospitality establishment across the Causeway in 2017. Fauzulyusri said: “In 2015, I received an invitation to submit a proposal of artwork for a new hotel in Singapore called Andaz. The process took two years, and I produced two paintings and a sculpture for Andaz.”

One of the artworks is a 1m by 5m abstract painting currently adorning the walls of Smoke and Pepper, an eatery joint located at Alley on 25, a dedicated culinary hub in one of the DUO Towers in Kampong Glam. The restaurant is part of Andaz – a luxury boutique hotel by Hyatt in Singapore.

“The inspiration for the artworks I created for Andaz is derived from the island of Singapore. The painting depicts an aerial view of the island with several small isles dotted outside to represent Singapore attracting global visitors,” explained Fauzulyusri.

Later, he observes the composition with an amplified lens, zooming into the spherical outline and the roughness of texture only to realise that the outcome has always been there. Thus, the conception of Batu ensues.


After Andaz

In this series, two of the most extensive works: Kontra 1 and Kontra 2, feature giant rocks against a tree bark textured background. The dramatic black backdrop emanates a sense of mystery and, at the same time, illuminates the rock structure and gritty texture. The concept of being close to nature is apparent here.

 “My focus for Batu is form. The rock is not flat; hence my main concern is applying various techniques to achieve the right shadow, lighting, and textural effect,” explained Fauzulyusri.

The change in style contributes to the way he works too. Various processes demonstrate the intricacy of his artistry, from the selection of canvas material to the mixed media ingredients specially concocted and the technique applied to achieve the desired results. 

“In the past, the key to creating naïve style paintings is to activate my subconscious mind. My approach now is reversed where pre-planning is necessary, and working consciously in a technically controlled and methodological manner,” said Fauzulyusri.


The formula

For Fauzulyusri, Batu is an attempt to re-imagine still-life paintings and to give prominence to a single object. Unlike the traditional sense of western Old Master still-life that illustrates a bowl of fruit, a flower vase, or a banquet table, Fauzulyusri’s version boasts technical flair: a strong “DNA” or the “Fauzulyusri’s formula” that is distinctively unique.

“I am very much interested in texture from the beginning of my artistic career. ‘Batu’ is my first still-life series. It is clean, minimal, orderly, and arranged aesthetically,” described Fauzulyusri.    

The sophistication of coarse lines, thin cracks, and a luminous colour palette demands attention. In “Gelita”, the shimmering moss-green rock is enlarged to the proportions of the canvas to establish visual impact.

“To obtain the right textural effect and colour in each form, I have experimented with many materials such as textured paste, fine sand, and gouache paint. It is a lengthy process to combine the right elements onto canvas, which is why great care and planning took place,” said Fauzulyusri.

His formalistic approach to artmaking stems from the tutorship of retired university lecturers and celebrated artists, Associate Professor Yusof Ghani and Associate Professor Awang Damit Ahmad.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Cycle of life

A single rock is a significant material that influences humanity in all aspects of life: tradition, culture, way of life and faith.

The Stone Age, which lasted roughly 2.5 million years, marks a period of prehistory in which humans used primitive stone tools. It began about 2.6 million years ago when researchers found the earliest evidence of humans using stone tools[i].

Prehistoric monuments are testament to the magnificence of the ancient world. These landmarks are Moai Statues Easter Island, Chile; Chichen Itza, Mexico; Tikal, Guatemala; Acropolis of Athens, Greece; Giza Pyramids, Egypt; Ancient Petra, Jordan; Umayyad Mosque, Syria; Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Stonehenge, England. 

Closer to home, the Borobudur in central Java is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest religious structure listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the same time, the Terengganu Inscription Stone (Batu Bersurat Terengganu) in Malaysia constituted the earliest evidence of Jawi writing in the Malay world of Southeast Asia, dated possibly 1303 CE.

In Malay folklore, a film titled “Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup” (The Devouring Rock)  dated 1959 tells the fantastical tale of Mak Minah surrendering herself to a human-devouring rock after being bitterly irritated by her children’s ingratitude towards her.

The narrative of Fauzulyusri’s Batu is told through the poetic journey of his visual expressions. His still-life rendition of the rock could be the beginning of something exciting.

Batu gives me the satisfaction of creating something new. I find joy in the entire process, adapting to a new way of working and feeling enthusiastic about the outcome,” said Fauzulyusri blissfully.


Link to exhibition catalogue PDF here.


[i] Stone Age – History.


TAKSU Gallery shot of Fauzulyusri’s “Perang II”, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 61cm x 122cm
Fauzul Yusri – Ruby II, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 61cm x 91cm
Fauzul Yusri – Batu 27, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 61cm x 61cm
Fauzul Yusri – Setara, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 122cm x 183cm
Fauzul Yusri – Kontra, 2023, Mixed media on jute, 174cm x 220cm
Fauzul Yusri – Bongkah I, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Fauzul Yusri – Gelita, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 180cm x 180cm
Fauzul Yusri – Bongkah II, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 183cm x 122cm
Fauzul Yusri – Kontra II, 2023, Mixed media on jute, 120cm x 170cm
Fauzul Yusri – Ruby I, 2023, Mixed media on canvas, 61cm x 91cm

Self-Reflection and Cultural Motifs in the Works of Awang Damit Ahmad

In the broadest sense, Awang Damit Ahmad’s gestural paintings encapsulate the abstract form of the physical world and nature’s phenomena as he experiences it. The textural and tactile quality of his paint marks on canvas; the bold demarcation of black streaks against layers of blue, red, green, yellow, and white; and symbolic forms, such as thoughtful drips, speckles, scrape marks and crackles, that bear the narrative of each painting are all signature elements of Awang Damit’s artistic oeuvre that spans more than four decades.  

His journey has been gradual and profound, consistently producing significant series of artworks since the 1970s: his first titled Intipati Budaya (Essence of Culture), created between 1985 and 1995; followed by Alun-Alun Marista (Path to Marista) from 1996 to 2002; Iraga (North Easterly) between 2003 and 2011; Payarama (Changing Season) from 2012 to 2015; and Garismega from 2013 to the present.  

Awang Damit has been exhibiting his artworks in the global arena since 1984, but his rise to international stardom came much later in his career, when his painting titled Garis Mega (Iraga Series), dated 2008, was well received at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings auction in 2014, fetching US$77,338 with premium.[i] This price remains his highest to date. 

The book titled Southeast Asian Art Auction Benchmarks & Market Insights by Johnni Wong and Sarah Abu Bakar, published by The Edge Galerie and The Edge Media Group in 2018, documents how Awang Damit made it to the top 10 list of the most expensive Malaysian artworks sold at auction. At the time, his artworks performed exceptionally well in Sotheby’s auctions in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2015 and in a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong in 2015. 

Awang Damit’s impressive biography reflects his active participation in international art fairs and group exhibitions such as the Asean Art Exhibition, a travelling art show in Southeast Asian cities of Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 1984; the third and sixth Bangladesh Art Biennale in Dacca, Bangladesh in 1986 and 1993; juried art shows in the US during his postgraduate studies in Washington DC between 1989 and 1990; several editions of the Asian International Art Exhibition in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan between 1992 and 2014;  Art Kaohsiung (2016 to 2018) and Art Taipei in Taiwan from 2016 to 2020; Meadows Personal Structure at Collateral Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy in 2017 and Salon Des Beaux Arts in Paris, France in 2018; and Mask Art Creativity Under Lockdown: UNESCO Beirut and Meadow Artists Against COVID-19 in Beirut, Lebanon in 2020, to name but a few. 

As an academician, Awang Damit lectured at the Faculty of Art and Design, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for two decades, as a lecturer between 1990 and 1993 and senior lecturer from 1994 to 1999. He was appointed associate professor in 2000 and served this role until 2011.  

His immense contribution to arts education in Malaysia expands beyond the role of tutoring and nurturing budding art students. He also held curator positions at the UiTM Art Gallery (1993 to 1994) and as head of the fine art department (1997 to 1998). In 2011, he retired from teaching and continued to paint full-time. This culminated in his fourth solo exhibition, titled Dari Iraga ke Payarama: Awang Damit Ahmad (2003 – 2014) that was held at Segaris Art Center, Publika, Kuala Lumpur in 2014. 

In 2015, Awang Damit Ahmad established a studio and gallery named pantauIRAGA (art space) at his residence in Sijangkang, Telok Panglima Garang in Selangor, to celebrate his 38th year of artistic practice. The space is intended to be a “meeting hub for artists, students, and the art lovers in general”.[ii]

A solo exhibition titled Bioretro: Awang Damit Ahmad 1985 – 2015 was held in 2016 in conjunction with the launch of pantauIRAGA that featured a selection of artworks from four of his major series: Intipati Budaya (Essence of Culture); Alun-Alun Marista (Path to Marista); Iraga (North Easterly); and Payarama (Changing Season).

Without losing any momentum, Awang Damit presented another five solo exhibitions between 2017 and 2021, namely Special Tribute – Awang Damit Ahmad at Art Expo Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur (2017); Garismega… New Journey at Art Stage Singapore (2017); Garismega at Artdoor Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2018); Garismega at Art Moments Jakarta, Indonesia, (2019); and Dari Payarama ke Garismega: 2013 – 2020 (From Payarama to Garismega: 2013 – 2020), organised by Galeri Prima and Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers at Galeri Prima, Balai Berita Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur in 2021.  

Dr Muliyadi Mahamood – a retired professor of history and cartoon studies at the Faculty of Art and Design, UiTM – contributed important essays that document Awang Damit’s artistic development for the catalogues of three of his solo exhibitions: Dari Iraga ke Payarama: Awang Damit Ahmad 2003 – 2014 (2014); Bioretro: Awang Damit Ahmad 1985 – 2015 (2016); and Dari Payarama ke Garismega: 2013 – 2020 (From Payarama to Garismega: 2013 – 2020) (2021). 

He observed that Awang Damit’s themes are “directly related to the lives of farmers and fishermen who formed the background of his childhood, showing thus a consistent focus in his artistic endeavour and a creative process which reflects nature, life, humanity, culture and God. Awang Damit’s works do not only enrich the expression of contemporary Malay-Islamic art, they also strengthen abstract expressionism which is inspired by a local iconography and identity, besides becoming a window of manifestation of inner vibrations and feelings.”[iii]  

In 2020, Awang Damit became one of the mentors for Gumum+ism, an international art camp that was held over three days and two nights at Tasik Chini in Pahang, organised by Persatuan Seni Rupa Malaysia (Perupa) in collaboration with Pusat Penyelidikan Tasik Chini, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, National Art Gallery Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and more.  

At the event, which served as a convention for local and international artists to exchange knowledge and appreciation of nature – particularly to raise environmental awareness on biodiversity in Tasik Chini through the arts, Awang Damit participated as a speaker in a forum to share his experience on the process of art making. 

Awang Damit continued to produce new artworks throughout the pandemic, which resulted in the documentation and publication of the latest monograph to celebrate the new series of artworks using a newly developed technique he terms Eastern Aesthetics.  

As an advocate for the development of Malaysian art, his commitment to sharing his wisdom and experience with young artists and his tenacity for personal growth are admirable. His humility and down-to-earth personality make Awang Damit one of the most highly regarded icons of the Malaysian art fraternity.   


Ways to see


On the surface, Awang Damit’s paintings are perceived as abstract expressionist: spontaneous, gestural, and abstract. It has been widely discussed that the idea of “spontaneity or the impression of spontaneity” in the abstract expressionism movement contributes to the characteristics of abstract paintings. However, on the contrary, the creation of most abstract paintings involves careful planning, particularly those rendered on a large scale. Generally, abstract art represents the expression of “ideas concerning the spiritual, the unconscious, and the mind”. [iv]

In Awang Damit’s oeuvre, a great deal of thought and coordination comes into play. His wisdom and ascetic thinking are unravelled in his symbolic paintings that form the expressions of flora and fauna, the surrounding landscape, and cultural motifs personal to him that are composed in a particular manner and distinct colour palette.  

An example of such an interpretation is this mesmerising artwork, Estetika Timur, 2021. In describing the process of painting, Awang Damit said: “When working on a large-scale canvas, I will create a ‘mind map’ that is basically a mental grid of squares and analyse each box to ascertain the wholeness of the artwork”.  

Imbued with principles deriving from both architecture and painting: structure, composition, and spatial arrangement as well as light, depth and circulation, the “Nine-Square Grid” is a self-referential method employed by architects and artists alike. Sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio is known as one of the most influential architects in Western architecture who applied the nine-square organisational device in his buildings. His architectural works have “been valued for centuries as the quintessence of High Renaissance calm and harmony”.[v]  

The significance of the Nine-Square Grid in “seeing” Awang Damit’s work – or any work of art in that regard – is a visual revelation. In John Berger’s 1972 documentary Ways of Seeing, he mentioned that the image in a painting is “silent and still” and that the transmittable nature of its meaning can transport the image to the viewer like a corridor, making it easily manipulated. “The most obvious way of manipulating them is by using movement and sound.”   

As exemplified in Venus and Mars by Botticelli (1445 – 1510), Berger said: “The camera moves in to remove a detail of a painting from the whole. Its meaning changes. An allegorical figure becomes a pretty girl anywhere.” [vi] 

Taking Berger’s idea of seeing and manipulating the meaning of an Italian Renaissance painting into practice – by removing a small section on the lower left of Awang Damit’s abstract painting – we see a representation of a tree – a perpendicular strip of broad white line with oblique rectangular shapes branching out on each side composed of pieces of canvas collage.  

As we move our gaze across the plane to other areas, particularly the middle section, we see a mosaic of collage work in white against the blue and black background – evocative of Borneo textile and basket weaving.  

Similarly, in the top left-hand corner, it is suggestive of the traditional fish trap motif typically handmade with rattan and bamboo. Could this be Awang Damit’s approach to documenting and immortalising his visual memory from the past that was once familiar to him?




How does one attempt to define Awang Damit’s style of painting? An arresting painting titled Estetika Timur (2021) illustrates complex emotional and spiritual aesthetic forms expressed through the intensity of brushstrokes and the artist’s gestural force, coupled with the opacity of the layers of thick oil paint slathered liberally and consciously across the plane.  

The final work of art radiates a sense of “primitivism” – despite its Euro-centric[vii] term – by way of style, form, structure, composition, and colour palette. It is a manifestation of self-awareness: native background, cultural motifs, Malaysian tradition infused with stylised folk imagination and tribal essence – relevant to the traditions of Borneo.  

Awang Damit’s cultural wisdom plays a part in his pursuit of divine aesthetics. Absent from political, figurative, object-oriented, and realistic inclinations, his primary leitmotif in his approach to artmaking is to illustrate the fertile soil as he perceives it at its purest and to embrace Mother Nature as God’s creation, particularly in his major series of work.    

In this work titled Estetika (Sculptural Painting) (2021), the red hue that dominates the surface immediately stands out. But its indiscernible form commands our attention. As our eyes trace the black outlines for an indication as to what the motif may be, we notice the silhouettes of totemic-like statuettes begin to appear. In the darker image at the centre of the canvas, the shape of the hilt of a keris begins to form. This painting exemplifies the non-Occidental culture in Awang Damit’s work – a reference to tribal art that embraces indigenous traditions of Asia, Africa, North and South America and Australia, particularly of Borneo in this case.

In terms of subject matter, Awang Damit’s work is parallel with Philippine-American artist Pacita Abad’s (1946 – 2004) oeuvre. A globe-trotting painter, she was best known for her trapunto paintings – a quilting method combined into her canvasses, which were then layered with objects on top of her quilted material: stones, sequins, glass, buttons, shells, mirrors, and printed textile. Although Awang Damit’s work is predominantly abstract paintings, some of his mixed-media paintings include collage work with pieces of painted canvas that he dubs “sculptural paintings”.  

“I have been exploring with what I call sculptural paintings since the 1980s by incorporating pieces of canvas collage. I am revisiting this technique in the Eastern Aesthetics series,” said Awang Damit.


Eastern and Western thought


Awang Damit began to form his own identity while pursuing postgraduate studies in the US in 1989 and 1990. Under the guidance of Emeritus Professor Tom Nakashima at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, Awang Damit found his signature style of painting through rigorous practice. 

“During my first semester in Washington DC, Professor John Figura critiqued my work. He asked me: ‘what are you trying to convey with this work?’ He said that my work did not show him anything. His remarks made me realise that I needed to do better. So over summer, I took the opportunity to improve my work,” recalled Awang Damit. 

The result is a never-been-shown painting titled Gubang Bigul from the Intipati Budaya series dated 1989, created as a body of work assessed by Professor Nakashima. This work was well received, and he passed with flying colours.

“I presented him with this work, and he responded positively. I found my signature style when transitioning from Intipati Budaya to Alun-Alun Marista.”  

Tom Nakashima is the nephew of George Katsutoshi Nakashima (1905 – 1990), an American woodworker, architect, and furniture maker who was one of the leading innovators of 20th-century furniture design and a father of the American craft movement. An artist himself, Tom Nakashima’s artistic practice is inspired by George Nakashima’s incarceration at Camp Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho, in 1942. 

The work of Brazilian post-war artist Calasans Neto (1932 – 2006) resonates with Awang Damit’s practice from a subject matter and stylistic standpoint as well as through medium, such as acrylic painting, woodcut, and printmaking work. Calasans Neto’s graphic engraving work depicting creatures such as goats, whales and birds is symbolic of culture and universality.  

Awang Damit’s printmaking work is equally exceptional. He has excelled in this technique since the early 1980s. While his subject matter varied between 1980s and 1990s: exploring the global socio-political landscape such as issues in Palestine, his focus in pursuit of “the meaning and value in life” persists. In his earlier works, he occasionally employed Arabic calligraphy and Jawi script – a homage to his Islamic faith.  


The profound journey


The Intipati Budaya series (1985 to 1995) is seen as the leading impetus for Awang Damit’s ensuing creative output. Regarded as one of the significant bodies of work in his prolific career, the Intipati Budaya encapsulates tropical flavour and natural aesthetics that liberates him from life events. Its raw form and native characteristics, coupled with the aged patina of the painted surface, make the series visually tantalising.

The artist’s statement reads: “It is a breathing space in which I feel so much freedom – free from pain, confusion, agony, and all the events that suffocate life.”

Dream of a Warrior (1988) is a fine example of native qualities subtracted to its basic elements. It comprises a colour palette that sets the barometer for Awang Damit’s later works.

As we examine Alun-Alun Marista series (1996 to 2002), a striking progress is reflected in the execution of expressions.

In Marista “Peninggalan Semusim” (2002), every mark and paint layer depict self-assuredness that corresponds to the theme’s framework. Awang Damit’s bolder application of vibrant and darker colours begins to unravel towards the end of the series.

“Contextually, the Marista series is a journey of the self, searching for an active, constructive, and progressive aspect of a culture. It reveals a complex and ambiguous yet controlled painting within the duality of figuration and abstraction, being both intimate and expressionistic. Imagery from everyday life essence of childhood experiences become integral and determine the potential visual structures,” reads his statement.    

His quest for self-discovery has arrived at a philosophical juncture that explores life’s unpredictability, as summarised in the Iraga series (2003 – 2011). The paintings’ tactile quality is more pronounced: rough surfaces, deliberate scratch marks, and translucent drip marks are the makings of thunderous compositions.

Iraga “Awal Musim” (2003) exemplifies nature’s changing season through the dark skies and a glimmer of hope. 

In this series, Awang Damit shifts his emphasis to his surroundings. “Nobody can predict and interpret God’s warning even with great knowledge or great sensitivity, and nobody can protect themselves even with great physical strength,” described Awang Damit in his statement.

The following series named Payarama (2012 to 2015) unravels structured compositions that depict complex expressions. As illustrated in Payarama Baru “Tentang Ubi Kayu” (2015), lighter shades of blue are introduced that effectively uplift the soul.

Awang Damit continues to capture the dynamics of natural forces through an unrestrained approach.

In Garismega series (2013 to the present), Awang Damit circles back to self-contemplation that extends beyond the introspective mind. “The paintings are based on a ‘reflective self-referential experience’ – encapsulating a journey and traces of a humble livelihood as a farmer as well as the plight of fishermen facing the challenge of time and nature. The art is based on the concept of simplicity, harmony and balance demonstrated through figuration and abstraction, with qualities veering between intimate and expressionistic, and intellectual and intuitive. It speaks of the essence of human value, society, culture and environment through research, experiences, and memories. In its entirety, it is a continuous art journey that searches the meaning and value in life,” according to his statement.

As illustrated in Garismega “Tribute…Tentang Ubi…Ingatan Buat Arwah Bapaku” (2016), the colour palette of green, red, black, and white is identical to Dream of a Warrior (1988) from the Intipati Budaya series. Yet the intensity of gestural expressions has matured through time.


Sketching harmony and balance


Within the body of work in Oriental Aesthetics, Awang Damit has produced ten oil paintings that are based on a selection of the many sketches created throughout his artistic career. “I make sketches and drawings in a sketchbook before applying my ideas onto canvas,” said Awang Damit. 

Titled From Sketches to Sketches, the series depicts simplified compositions with linear structure and a minimal colour palette, such as vast white space to achieve the “unfinished” quality of a sketch. He highlights the process of drawing and sketching ideas as highly significant and says it is as important as the finished work.  

Swiss artist Emma Kunz (1892 – 1963) emphasised the act and process of drawing geometric abstraction “not as formalism, but as a means of structuring philosophical, scientific, and spiritual ideas”. Catherine de Zegher wrote: “Emma Kunz generated her own form of thinking through the physical activity of drawing. Her drawings are acts of successive approximation, a vigorous search to find the parts and connections of an unseen whole.” [viii]

Similarly, for Awang Damit, who is searching for artistic closure – a conclusion – explained: “I am at the end of the road, and I am looking for a decision. I have arrived at a confluence of bridging East and West – the meeting of Malay Muslim thought and Western art. I would like to think that Oriental Aesthetics is a holistic attempt in viewing my work in totality.” 

Awang Damit’s calm and gentle demeanour is reflected through his work that strikes the right chords of harmony and balance. He maintains a peaceful state of mind before confronting the blank canvas as he works on one painting at a time.  

Through this systematic approach, each painting gets his undivided attention. He remarked: “There is no repetition of composition in my paintings. The characteristics vary as I spend adequate time on one canvas at any one time.” The result is a fulfilling visual delight that satisfies the elements of spiritual expression and adornment.  


Eastern charm, western style

In 2019, Awang Damit conceived a captivating painting titled “……..” that features layers of succinct palette knife and broad-brush marks composed of blue, yellow, grey, white, black and streaks of red.   

On the top left of the canvas, an incision through the canvas is deliberately preserved, echoing Lucio Fontana’s (1899 – 1968) slash series based on his Spatial concept. Here, Awang Damit’s heavy impasto creates a sense of controlled chaos that forms two-dimensional sculptural quality through its surface treatment.             

This vibrant painting titled Estetika Timur (2021) emanates an infectious energy unsurpassable from any other in this series of work.     

The gestural strokes of red, yellow, blue and streaks of white and black in all directions reveal the physical act of painting itself. 

To define Awang Damit’s style as “action painting” may be conflicting with the earlier assertion that his work involves careful planning, as the paintings of the action painters were not meant to portray objects intrinsically or even specific feelings. Instead, they were intended to “touch the observer deep in the subconscious mind, evoking a sense of the primeval and tapping the collective sense of an archetypal visual language through the artist painting unconsciously, and spontaneously, creating a powerful arena of raw emotion and action, in the moment.” [ix]

American art critic Harold Rosenberg (1906 – 1978) coined the term “Action Painting” in a “groundbreaking article” titled The American Action Painters published in the December 1952 issue of ARTnews that “defined a movement and a moment”. [x]

He wrote: “The painter no longer approached his easel with an image in his mind; he went up to it with material in his hand to do something to that other piece of material in front of him. The image would be the result of this encounter.”  

He further opined: “A sketch is the preliminary form of an image the mind is trying to grasp. To work from sketches arouses the suspicion that the artist still regards the canvas as a place where the mind records its contents – rather than itself the ‘mind’ through which the painter thinks by changing a surface with paint. 

If a painting is an action, the sketch is one action, the painting that follows it another. The second cannot be ‘better’ or more complete than the first. There is just as much significance in their difference as in their similarity. 

Of course, the painter who spoke had no right to assume that the other had the old mental conception of a sketch. There is no reason why an act cannot be prolonged from a piece of paper to a canvas. Or repeated on another scale and with more control. A sketch can have the function of a skirmish.” 

With this, we can argue that Awang Damit’s predisposition lies within the abstract expressionism/folk art genre rather than action painting. As a conclusion, in this painting titled Estetika Timur (2021), Awang Damit depicts linear strokes that suggest luxuriant foliage.  

This imagery is the opposite of Cambodian contemporary artist Sopheap Pich’s (1971) two-dimensional paintings of symmetrical composition using bamboo sticks, burlap, and dye. Yet similarity can be drawn from both Awang Damit’s and Sopheap Pich’s focus on preserving their cultural heritage in their own right. 

Known for his bamboo and rattan sculptures, Sopheap Pich’s artistic practice echoes a strong cultural resonance within Cambodian culture and personal significance for the artist. Primarily working with unassuming materials such as rattan and bamboo obtained from indigenous sources, he uses the traditional weaving technique to produce his colossal sculptures.  

Through this perspective, Awang Damit’s work embodies the Southeast Asian region, its landscape, and cultural traditions. It is high time that Awang Damit’s artworks receive universal appreciation and global recognition. A prolific artist, Awang Damit’s culturally sophisticated paintings are memorialised in time capsules to commemorate his intangible world.  



Sarah Abu Bakar 

31 May 2022 






[i] Southeast Asian Art Auction Benchmarks & Market Insights, Johnni Wong and Sarah Abu Bakar, The Edge Galerie and The Edge Media Group, 2018, page 47.

[ii] Bioretro: Awang Damit Ahmad 1985 – 2015, pantauIRAGA, 2015, page 4.

[iii] Dari Payarama ke Garismega: 2013 – 2020 (From Payarama to Garismega: 2013 – 2020), Manifestations of Inner Vibrations and Feelings in Awang Damit Ahmad’s Works, Dr. Muliyadi Mahamood, Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers and Galeri Prima, 2021, page 26.

[iv] 3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz,and Agnes Martin,The Drawing Center New York, Catherine de Zegher and Hendel Teicher (eds.)., Yale University Press, 2005.

[v] A History of Western Architecture, Fourth Edition, David Watkin, Lawrence King Publishing, 2005.

[vi] Ways of Seeing, John Berger, BBC documentary, Episode 1, 1972.

[vii] My intention is to generalise the description of style through its similarity and by no means attempting to categorise Awang Damit Ahmad’s artwork as such.

[viii] 3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing by Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz,and Agnes Martin,The Drawing Center New York, Catherine de Zegher and Hendel Teicher (eds.)., Yale University Press, 2005 pg. 137.

[ix] The Easy Part of the Hard Problem: A Resonance Theory of Consciousness, Cognitive Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Tam Hunt and Jonathan W. Schooler, 2019.

[x] Top Ten ARTnews Stories: Not a Picture but an Event, Barbara A. MacAdam, 2007,



Awang Damit Ahmad – Estetika Timur, 2021, Mixed media on canvas 225cm x 225cm
Awang Damit Ahmad – Estetika Timur, 2021, Mixed media on canvas 210cm x 210cm
Awang Damit Ahmad – Estetika Timur, 2021, Mixed media on canvas 210cm x 210cm
Awang Damit Ahmad – Estetika Timur, 2021, Mixed media on canvas 210cm x 210cm
Awang Damit Ahmad – EOC Gubang Bigul, 1989, mixed media on canvas, 180cm x 150cm

Womanly Aesthetics

Galeri Puteh presents “Hawwa”, a group exhibition celebrating the creativity of 15 women artists whose artistic flair remains true to subject matters expressed through feminine themes like decorative, craft, modern aesthetics, domesticity, and universal relationship. Their dynamic technical skills surpass gender stereotypes, producing visually stimulating and cerebral artworks that highlight varying degrees of superiority in their respective practices through innovative processes.

Presented in various expressions from printmaking, textile, drawing, painting, and photography to sculpture and installation, “Hawwa” reflects the rich diversity in artistic flair among women artists from different generations.

The artworks of veteran artists Sivam Selvaratnam (1937 – 2014); Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri; Ilse Noor; Fatimah Chik, Nadia Särnblom Alsagoff; Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir; Khatijah Sanusi; Kalsom Muda; established artists Soraya Yusof Talismail; Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail; mid-career artists Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi; Nor Tijan Firdaus; and contemporary artists Kika Goldstein; Jayshree Ramasamy; and Trixie Tan Lu Man – gathered in “Hawwa” exhibition – demonstrating stylistic expressions through their formal approach in artmaking.

In “Hawwa”, viewers will get a glimpse of the technical complexity in the history of artmaking from almost six decades ago – from charcoal on paper by Sivam Selvaratnam created in 1965, extraordinary etchings produced by Ilse Noor in 1986, Fatimah Chik’s batik collage from 1992; watercolour and ink on paper by Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri made in 1997; sophisticated mixed media on canvas work by Khatijah Sanusi produced in 2002; Kalsom Muda’s gorgeous tapestry-thread dye on canvas work created in 2003; to the most current artworks such as Soraya Yusof Talismail’s silver gelatin prints; Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail’s series of ceramic and painting installations; and Nor Tijan Firdaus’s artwork created from e-waste materials. Also featured are abstract paintings by Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah, Nadia Alsagoff, Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi, and Kika Goldstein, as well as figurative paintings by Jayshree Ramasamy and Trixie Tan Lu Man.


Melodic motif


The recurring theme in “Hawwa” is traditional motifs and patterns inspired by mother nature and the majestic flora and fauna. The artworks, presented in vibrant and striking colour palettes, are executed in the conventional domestic sense, such as batik painting, textile, and embroidery, reflecting versatility in execution.

Sivam Selvaratnam’s enthusiasm for raga, which she described as “melodic patterns that colour the mind”, began in the Sixties and later incorporated “energised yantras – divine geometric elements with music to link sound syllables with colour and cosmic principle”.

The elegant palette of “Sunset Raga” (1993) and “Gayatri Mantra” (2011) was displayed in Sivam’s second solo exposition, “Rapt in Maya: A Collection of Artworks by Sivam Selvaratnam” at the University of Malaya Art Gallery in 2012.

Her retrospective featured nature studies, abstract renditions, textile designs and art inspired by “raga” between the 1960s and 2012. The educator-artist had intentionally omitted her figurative paintings in the exhibition – a deliberate decision that art historian T.K. Sabapathy remarked the omission would have been “vitally important for an assessment of her oeuvre.”

As one of the pioneering woman members of the Wednesday Art Group, joining in 1956 and later serving as a secretary in 1961, Sivam was an art educator whose pedagogical values extended beyond the classrooms and into her personal life: sharing her profound appreciation for arts and culture with her children and grandchildren, family members and friends who have been immensely affected by her infectious enthusiasm.

Another veteran artist whose inspiration for artistic endeavours is by colours, Nature, and the universe is Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah. In her fourth solo exhibition titled “The Inner Space” in 1980, she described the symbolic colours found in her abstract paintings through an excerpt of prose. The mentioning of raga bears a familiar ring:


“…black is a bright light in a dark day

black is the annihilation of self

it is the light of Majesty.

Red is fire active and expansive

vital spirit…like the pulsating sun

in the morning in the spring time.

Yellow is air

is the sound of the trumpet filling the spaces

with vibrating waves.

Green is water is hope and fertility

like the trees reaching for the heavens

calligraphy of branches glorifying the Great One

green is the carpet of the earth.

Blue is earth cold and dry

like the strings of the sitar echoing the

nightingale’s call bringing the tune of

raga into the night….”[1]


The vivid hues in her artworks titled “Landscape 1 and 2” (2012) and “Joyous Light 16” (2022) featured in “Hawwa” are consistent with her signature colour palette that defines her painterly elegance.

While Sivam Selvaratnam’s musical inspiration for her paintings derived from sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, Indian Hindustani classical musician Ali Akbar Khan, and Lata Mangeshkar’s sultry voice in “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” number, Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri’s landscape paintings – in the style of Chinese brush watercolour technique – is inspired by the song “Colours of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams from Walt Disney Pictures animated film “Pocahontas” (1995), and poems by the great Sufi and Islamic scholar Rumi, and wise Chinese proverbs. Her solo exhibition of the same song title featured the exquisite rendition of “Waterfall”, displayed at Riddoch Art Gallery in Mount Gambier, South Australia, and Sutra Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, in 2002.

Sharifah Zuriah cares deeply for peace in relationships and the preservation of Nature. In a statement, she wrote: “I am passionate about maintaining and enhancing the pristine condition of our environment. I adore Nature and I paint Nature. In my paintings I strive to mirror the elemental nobility of my environment and to create in the viewer a sense of passion for the natural universe. My art has enabled me to both reflect and explore the human relationship to Nature.”[2]

Similarly, the brilliance of Nadia Alsagoff’s colour palette in interpreting the beauty of Nature stimulates the mind’s eye. Inspired by the “impression of the moments”, Nadia, who has been producing artworks for about five decades, seeks inspiration from the “inner and outer visions that are formed as I wander through the landscape of life.”

The bold outlines that mark her vibrant canvas exude rhythmic senses that express her thought process. She wrote: “The search for a picture that is corresponding with your thoughts is never-ending as your thoughts are shifting and never-ending the lines and shapes of yesterday take on another form today That is process”.[3]

Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi’s contemporary approach to painting feminine floral aesthetics comprises “Dianthus in Starling Pink” and “Orchidaceae Under Paddlepop Wash”. The lushness of the striking and pastel hues, the tactile quality of dense petal formation and the crafty and unconventional format of the canvas spark all senses: her immortal blooms are fragrant and sweet-scented. 

Kuala Lumpur-based Brazilian artist Kika Goldstein create a series of small paintings (50cm by 45cm) in gestural abstraction. She explained: “My current research relates to what I call ‘feminine landscapes’, in which I’m exploring rocks, caves, cavities, fissures, crevices. In ‘No beginning, middle or ending’, ‘Unknown reliefs’, ‘My cave’ and ‘Internal traits’, I’m experimenting with the idea of darkness that takes us back to the origin of things; to that it is invisible, mysterious, unexplained or yet to be understood.”

Kika’s exploration of “darkness” is illustrated by the colour black, whether in the purest pigment or chromatic black: a concoction of several hues like brown and red, brown and blue or other combinations.

She asserted that “these images can only be seen through fractions of light that expose surfaces, volumes, reliefs, holes, orifices, and colour. This new set of works are also about gestures, those initial, exploratory gestures we make to lose the hand. Lines and scribbles or even scratches that are or could be a mere attempt to make sense of things, of what we see. Or as an attitude, a courageous first line aiming to translate a wonder or something we don’t know what it is just yet.”


Expanded Heritage

In 2007, Galeri Petronas presented the “Out of the Mould: The Age of Reason” exhibition that showcased artworks by 10 Malaysian new-generation women artists.[4]  Curated by the late Shireen Naziree (1947 – 2018), who observed that “the characterisation of the female aesthetic was principally determined as an extension of their domestic role”. She wrote in the exhibition catalogue:

“The Malaysian aesthetic is rich in its textile traditions, which have been richly embellished with influences from China, India, and the Middle East. The traditional art of tekat – gold and silver thread embroidery, originally associated with the royal courts – continues to be associated with Malay women with distinct designs and motives identifying their state of origin. Typically feminine, the ornamentation of these crafts reflected the prodigies of the grace and freshness of floral motifs sometimes incorporated with Islamic geometric patterns.”

As manifested in the work of Fatimah Chik, a student of Sivam Selvaratnam’s, her stunning batik designs capture symbolic motifs of the Southeast Asian region. “Alunan: Shibori series 1,3 and 4” were displayed in “The Fine Art of Fabrics” exhibition at the Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery in 2014. Her elementary geometric design rendered in a range of charming colours applied using the Shibori – an ancient Japanese tie-dye technique – on large-scale cotton mull is a sight to behold. Her “Gunongan” series features a sophisticated batik collage technique rich with the ASEAN region’s symbolic meanings and philosophical motifs.

Kalsom Muda receives encomiums for her meticulous tapestry technique. Her pleasant works convey the message of sustainability, demonstrating her deep-rooted passion for Nature. The painterly quality of Kalsom’s arresting embroidery on canvas proves the seamless amalgamation between fine art and textile with her innovative ways of creating unique artworks that pay homage to the natural landscape.

The brightly coloured mixed media on canvas by Khatijah Sanusi titled “Untukmu” features stencilled arabesque geometric motifs indicative of her Islamic identity infused with Malay woodcarving craft floral motifs echoing the form and soul of Islamic Art.


Immortalising memories

Ilse Noor’s notable suite of intricate etchings highlighting architectural heritage in Malaysia, such as “Rumah Bomoh Hj. Abdullah – Perak”, “Istana Bandar – Selangor”, “Makam Tok Pelam – Terengganu”, and “Istana Lama – Kedah” produced in 1986 commissioned by Shell Companies Malaysia for the multinational’s 1987 calendar.

In 1991, the 24 etchings were compiled into a publication titled “Warisan Nusa Shell Book of Malaysian Heritage” to commemorate 100 years of Shell Company in Malaysia. The updated and expanded edition of the book was released as “Warisan Nusa: Malaysian Cultural Heritage” by Ilse Noor in 2019.

Other significant etchings featured in “Hawwa” include “Taman Impian” (1986) from her “Mystical Dreamscapes” series, “Bunuhku, aku akan tetap menyanyi” (1989) and “Metamorphosis” (1997) from the “Enigmatic Still Life” series; and “Cenderawasih” (2010), the mystical bird of paradise in Malay folklore.

Renowned fine art photographer Soraya Yusof Talismail captured contemporary artist Fadilah Karim and her daughter Aira during Fadilah’s milestone solo exhibition, “A Decade: Fadilah Karim 2010 – 2020″, at White Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur, organised by Segaris Art Center in 2020.

Titled “Fadilah Karim. Visual Artist – Painter, The Lonesome Painter is not Lonesome Anymore #1, #2, #3, #4” made using Silver Gelatin prints on fibre-based paper and “Fadilah Karim. Study #1” printed on Hahnemühle William Turner 100% cotton rag, the stills portray the unbreakable mother-daughter bond filled with unconditional love.


Sculptural painting


Representing the sculpture-based segment in “Hawwa” is renowned ceramic artist Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail and sculptor Nor Tijan Firdaus, who uses obsolete electronic parts or E-waste as her primary source of medium.

Umibaizurah’s series of “The Garden Room 1” (2021), “The Garden Room 3 and “The Garden Room 4” (2023), illustrate hybrid birds in her whimsical fashion painted on a rustic background to emulate the coarseness of the wall in a mural painting. Her signature ceramic is in the form of small-sized bottles placed on a wooden frame. As part of her creative practice, Umibaizurah often combines paintings with her ceramic work to form a painting installation body of work.

Umibaizurah explained: “My latest works feature a combination of paintings and ceramic sculptures concerning how we address sustainability issues in many aspects of our everyday lives and how to raise awareness to encourage individuals to engage in sustainable consumption behaviours.

The appearance of hybrid birds as a consciousness evokes instability, change, and a way to disrupt perceptions and assumptions. The strange land they expect to encounter, to live in, is inhabited by mysterious figures and the existence of the extraordinary.”

“A Tale of Greed and Ambition” by Nor Tijan Firdaus features a large square format wall installation made from E-waste on a blockboard coated with 2K matte resin. Adopting the graphics of the classic multi-player economics-themed board game Monopoly, Nor Tijan portrays the Malaysian social landscape that implies current issues such as minimum wage, environment, connectivity, and infrastructure.  


Painting People


Jayshree Ramasamy has been actively participating in group exhibitions since 2008. She has mounted three solo exhibitions, including her first solo in Malaysia, “Small in Size…Big in Role”, at Muzium dan Galeri Tengku Fauziah, University Sains Malaysia, Penang, in 2016. At the time, her focus was on the importance of insects in life, leading to the advancement of biomimicry. Her adaptability in various subjects includes portrait and figurative paintings such as “Gift” and “Silent Beauty”, both created in 2023.

Contemporary artist Trixie Tan Lu Man, albeit the youngest in this group, shows maturity in her highly personal and delicate rendition of the female form and human figure – symbolised through the orchid plant. The orchid is a tangible memory of her late mother, who succumbed to uterus cancer. The plant her mother had tended lovingly bloomed even after her passing. “Cover Up” (2023) suggests a self-portrait rendered in a state of bareness. Her modesty is upheld by lush botanical plants like Moses in the Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) covering her upper body and the ruby mokara orchid sealing her lips. 

In retrospect, the collection of remarkable artworks in “Hawwa” brings forth the concerns of these selected women artists that continue to dominate the popular and familiar themes. Entering a new age where multidisciplinary artistic inclinations are encouraged, the conventional sense of producing artworks in solitude is thus greatly challenged. The increasing number of critically acclaimed Malaysian women artists today who broke barriers with innovative methods of artmaking elevates the meaning of being a woman artist. From Yee I-Lann’s Borneo Heart community-based projects that feature woven mats representational of egalitarian, communal, feminist politics; Red Hong Yi’s momentous TIME magazine feature of “Climate is Everything” (2021) and more recently “My Alleyway Memories (Once Upon A Longtang)” installation at National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (2023); to Anniketyni Madian’s complex and highly polished woodwork and resin sculptures inspired by traditional folklores in her solo exhibition “Susey” (2023), are such examples.

The new way of producing brings to perspective the scale and quality of women’s work, notwithstanding the medium and subject matter. Let us celebrate the successes of women artists who persevere in sharing their visions with us despite having to play the dutiful roles of daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother and wife.


Sarah Abu Bakar

April 30 2023


Link to exhibition catalogue PDF here.


[1] “Chasm of Light”, Chu-Li, “Chasm of Light: Works by Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir” exhibition catalogue, pages 13 – 14, organised by Artfolio, Takashimaya Gallery, Singapore, 1996.

[2] Artist Statement, “Art as Faith and Search for Divine Truth: A Solo Art Exhibition on Nature by Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri” exhibition catalogue, page 7, Embassy of Malaysia, The Hague, The Netherlands, 2005.

[3] Email correspondence between Sarah Abu Bakar and Nadia Alsagoff, April 21, 2023.

[4] The featured artists are Azliza Ayob, Bibi Chew, Hayati Mokhtar, Nadiah Bamadhaj, Nur Hanim Mohamed Khairuddin, Sharmiza Abu Hassan, Shia Yih Yiing, Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail, Yau Bee Ling, and Yee I-Lann.

Blissful Utopia: Minimalist Abstraction by Izzuddin Basiron

Artas Galeri presents Izzuddin Basiron’s inaugural solo exhibition titled Kota Kromatik: Izzuddin Basiron featuring 12 abstract minimalist paintings. Izzuddin’s aesthetic appeals consist of varying shapes and forms arranged within landscape compositions that illustrate sleek and modular representations of the reality of a chaotic urban panorama.

The cotton-candy pastel hues complemented by bold colours that form delightful depictions of deconstructed urban landscape set the tone for Izzuddin’s inspiration for a hard-edge style visual expression.

Colour plays an essential element in Izzuddin’s abstractions to create depth and three-dimensional perspectives on the flat surface. Shapes upon shapes are built in layers to depict fragments of a landmark and/or a building.

Metrik Topologi, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 152cm x 244cm

Seeing colours

Since graduating with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the MARA University of Technology (UiTM) in 2018, Izzuddin, who was born in 1994, has developed a style of painting abstraction on canvas inspired by his appreciation for minimalism, architecture, and photography.

Coupled with his acute sensitivity towards colours, Izzuddin conceptualises the ideal cityscape through building blocks of shifting dimensions; straight, twisted, and warped lines as an ode to his life as a city dweller.

Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Izzuddin’s personal experience revolves around the metropolitan area. “I enjoy walking in the city and photographing and video recording the buildings and skyscrapers,” said Izzuddin.

Izzuddin paints a different picture in comparison with what he sees and captures on camera. In the process of interpreting his art, he manipulates the subject and breaks it down to different parts while emphasising on the application of colour that transports the audience to a blissful utopia.

For Kota Kromatik, Izzuddin expresses certainty through landscapes that do not represent a particular person, place, or thing. Though devoid of human figures and nature in the realist manner, Izzuddin’s abstract paintings respond to the viewer’s emotions through the psychology of colour.

Building blocks

A stark contrast to the bleak hues of Brutalist architecture – Izzuddin’s favourite architectural style – Kota Kromatik celebrates the skyline of his city through memory and visualisation.

“I am fascinated with architecture particularly Brutalism. In fact, architecture is a subject that I considered studying in college, but I did not pursue it. Perhaps that contributes to the geometric configurations that are prevalent in my paintings,” explained Izzuddin.

In Izzuddin’s past series comprising artworks that were exhibited in various local group shows since 2014, the theme “places” has been consistent. He pays tribute to specific landmarks such as the Malaysian Houses of Parliament; the Dayabumi Complex; and the National Mosque of Malaysia, to name a few in his geometric abstract style.

But his departure from depicting actual buildings and iconic landmarks to manipulating reality and creating non-objective art is a form of self-expression that Izzuddin conjures for his first solo exhibition – a process that began three years ago.

“I have been working on the sketches for Kota Kromatik since 2019. I am interested in structural make-up and the idea of controlled expression. How do I create three-dimensional perspectives in a two-dimensional painting? And to bring together the notion of rigidness and flexibility through the emotions of colours,” contemplated Izzuddin.

Izzuddin describes the conceptual process as explorative. Like most creative minds of this generation, the act of sketching on paper has been substituted with the accessibility of drawing with an iPad. He uses a digital art software called Procreate to sketch his ideas and creates preliminary designs with the selection of graphic colours before transferring the digital illustrations onto canvas.

Referencing masters

On the surface, Izzuddin’s paintings exude a sense of crispness in its graphical essence that come in the form of hard-edge painting. Picking up the baton from generations of Malaysian hard-edge masters such as Dr. Choong Kam Kow and Dato’ Tajuddin Ismail, Izzuddin’s approach towards minimalist painting combines the characteristics of American contemporary artists Al Held (1928 – 2005); Frank Stella; and Sarah Morris with the whimsical colour palette of David Hockney.

As a young artist, Izzuddin forges his path to artistic primacy with grit and grace. Having recently been recognised as one of the best 13 artists in the Malaysia Emerging Artist Award (MEAA) 2022, Izzuddin, who belongs in the Ara Damansara artist community, strives for recognition through pure determination and hard work.

In 2016, while still an undergraduate student, Izzuddin expanded his technical knowledge in artmaking through a three-month internship with contemporary artist Najib Bamadhaj, a fellow UiTM alumnus.

Paving the way to success

Committed to the life-long journey of learning and making art, Izzuddin is set to embark on his first international residency programme in Indonesia in 2023, which is anticipated to be a steppingstone for Izzuddin’s artistic progress.

Kota Kromatik marks Izzuddin’s first solo exhibition as one of Malaysia’s promising young artists whose remarkable use of colours is being celebrated. The hope is that he will thrive in the harmonies of colour in an infinite space encompassing architectural qualities and beyond, in the years ahead. 

Sarah Abu Bakar

22 December 2022


Link to catalogue PDF here.


Irama, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 183cm x 122cm


Mengukir Kisah menerusi Hasil Kerja Kayu Pelbagai Wajah Anniketyni

Pameran solo ketiga Anniketyni Madian berjudul Susey yang ditunggu-tunggu menampilkan 15 buah arca diperbuat daripada kayu dan resin yang terdiri daripada sepuluh arca dinding dan lima arca bebas. Salah satu hasil kerja utama ditampilkan melalui sebuah arca dinding sebesar 8 kaki tinggi dan 18 kaki lebar (2.4 meter kali 5.5 meter) yang berjudul Legenda Puteri Santubong, terbesar pernah dihasilkan oleh karyawan tersebut.

Tajuk Susey berasal daripada dialek Sarawak yang bermaksud ‘bercerita’ bakal dipamerkan bermula 27 Januari 2023 sehingga 27 Februari 2023 di Sime Darby Property Gallery, KLGCC, Kuala Lumpur.

“Saya meluangkan masa selama dua tahun mempersiapkan Susey. Proses timbang tara bermula lewat 2019. Kemudian, COVID-19 melanda dan hanya ketika pandemik itulah segala proses penghasilan idea menjadi nyata. Saya sengaja mengambil masa merangka dan mengembangkan pendekatan kerana saya ingin mempelajari bahan baharu dan mengkaji teknik dan peralatan baharu dalam usaha menghasilkan sesuatu yang berlainan.

Setelah saya yakin dengan proses rekaan serta peringkat penyelidikan dan pembangunan pun selesai, saya turuti dengan peringkat penghasilan yang mengambil masa lebih setahun untuk disiapkan dengan bantuan sekumpulan pembantu yang gigih. Ini semestinya masa terpanjang yang pernah saya luangkan dalam mempersiapkan pameran solo ini,” ujar Anniketyni.

Diinspirasikan daripada kisah klasik tempatan negeri Sarawak – seperti hikayat Mesiong (Melanau); Dendam Sang Buaya; Dang Isah Tandang Sari; kisah Dayang Laing dan Bintang Tujuh (Iban); Siak Magimang dan Dasan Maganda (Bidayuh); cerita Simpulang Gana (Iban); Kaleng dan Kumang Ruwai (Bidayuh); riwayat Dayung Jenai (Bidayuh); Mambang Muring (Bidayuh); begitu juga dengan legenda Puteri Santubong – seluruh hasil kerja Anniketyni adalah satu cerminan identiti dalam bentuk naratif sejarah dan mistik yang dilisankan semula melalui kecekapan teknikal beliau dalam mencipta arca yang inovatif.

Kesemua kisah diberi bentuk penceritaan visual – kepingan kecil kayu dan resin disusun secara indah nian membentuk satu susun suai yang gah. Cerita rakyat yang diturunkan dari generasi ke generasi melalui penceritaan lisan diabadikan dalam bentuk nyata menggunakan kepingan-kepingan berbentuk dan bercorak geometri. Setiap kisah diwakili oleh satu lambang ikonik yang menggambarkan protagonis utama dalam kisah tersebut.



Si penukang

Anniketyni menampilkan diri sebagai seorang pengarca wanita muda yang berpotensi jauh dalam arena seni visual setelah bergelar graduan Sarjana Muda (Kepujian) dalam Pengajian Seni Halus, pengkhususan dalam seni arca dari UiTM Shah Alam, Selangor pada 2009. Minat beliau dalam pertukangan kayu telah menyerlahkan perspektif baharu dalam bidang seni terutamanya dalam kalangan karyawan wanita Malaysia.

Pendekatan unik beliau dalam ukiran kayu kontemporari, gerak kerja asemblaj, serta penggunaan bahan-bahan tradisional dan moden secara inovatif dalam menghasilkan arca dinding dan bebas menyerlahkan lagi gaya tersendiri beliau berbanding karyawan-karyawan lain dalam dunia seni Malaysia.

Selain daripada kepakaran teknikal, kebolehan beliau dalam mengkonsepsikan rekaan dan menghubungkaitkan naratif peribadi ke dalam hasil kerja beliau yang sofistikated meningkatkan lagi status ukiran kayu sebagai kraf tradisional dan memecahkan tanggapan bahawa golongan pembuat kraf seperti ini hanya tertumpu pada satu jantina sahaja.

Lebih sedekad lamanya beliau menunjukkan kekuatan fizikal, emosi, dan mental dalam penghasilan arca-arca yang gah dan bernilai tinggi untuk para pengumpul seni tempatan mahupun antarabangsa, individu persendirian mahupun korporat.

Kesukaran proses mereka, membentuk, menghasil, membina, memasang, dan menyiapkan setiap arca bukan sahaja mengambil masa yang lama dan tenaga kerja yang banyak, tetapi ia turut memerlukan ketabahan fizikal, begitu juga dengan ketahanan psikologi dan emosi.

Di samping mendepani permintaan kerja seni, seperti juga wanita berkarier yang lain, Anniketyni turut menguruskan masa beliau untuk urusan peribadi: iaitu menjalankan tanggungjawab sebagai seorang isteri dan ibu kepada seorang anak.

“Sepanjang proses ini, saya telah dua kali mengalami kelesuan upaya, membuatkan saya terpaksa menangguhkan kerja dan sebaliknya, meluangkan masa melancong bersama keluarga. Awal tahun ini (2022), kami berpeluang melawat galeri-galeri seni sekitar London dan menghadiri acara seni seperti Art Dubai dan Art Basel. Pengalaman tersebut menyegarkan saya dan saya dapat kembali fokus dan mengekalkan momentum,” jelas Anniketyni.

Pada 2021, Anniketyni terlibat dalam pameran sulung Indian Ocean Craft Triennial di Perth, Australia. Selaku ketua karyawan yang terpilih untuk pameran tersebut, beliau telah mempamerkan 15 arca dinding di Galeri John Curtin di samping para karyawan ternama antarabangsa. Beliau ialah salah seorang daripada dua karyawan Malaysia yang menerima jemputan ke pameran di Triennial, seorang lagi ialah Yee-I-Lann dari Sabah. Dengan sokongan Agensi Pembangunan Ekonomi Seni Budaya (CENDANA), Anniketyni telah diberi peluang untuk mempersembahkan karya seni beliau di sana meski sekatan sempadan antarabangsa masih ketat berikutan pandemik.

Estetika visual

Hasil kerja Anniketyni terdiri daripada arca dinding dalam pelbagai bentuk modular sebagai asas: bulat, segi empat sama dan tepat, organik dan/atau geometri berserta kepingan-kepingan kayu tiga dimensi dalam pelbagai motif, bentuk, dan saiz.

Hasilnya adalah kerja kayu dalam pelbagai saiz dan dimensi yang mengagumkan. Beliau kini telah beralih daripada sekadar penghasilan arca-arca kayu berupa dua dimensi kepada arca-arca yang mencantumkan efek tiga dimensi.

Sebagai seorang anak jati Sarawak, Anniketyni menghasilkan arca-arca cantuman diinspirasikan oleh tenunan Pua Kumbu yang merupakan fabrik kapas tradisi, ditenun oleh para wanita di Sarawak. Fabrik Pua Kumbu yang bercorak indah nian dianggap suci dan signifikan dengan amalan kehidupan dan acara istimewa suku kaum Iban seperti kelahiran bayi, sambutan menjengah kedewasaan, sebagai tanda penerimaan sesuatu barang ke dalam rumah panjang, dan sebagai hamparan tubuh mayat sebelum dikebumikan.

Menenun tesktil Pua Kumbu itu sendiri bersifat spiritual kerana melibatkan usaha sama sosial dan keagamaan. Dalam masyarakat yang menekankan peranan khusus berdasarkan jantina dan di mana kerohanian berkait rapat dengan setiap aspek kehidupan secara intrinsik, ia merupakan aktiviti suci yang wajib ke atas para wanita Iban dan perbuatan menenun ini memupuk kewanitaan dan nilai diri. Hanya dengan itu, penenun dianggap telah berbakti kepada pemupukan rohani yang merupakan nilai piawaian tradisi dan keagamaan kaum mereka.

Seperti mana penenun, peranan Anniketyni sebagai seorang pengarca wanita turut melangkau lebih jauh. Komitmen beliau terhadap bahan-bahan, proses yang terperinci lagi rumit, dan disiplin kerja adalah suci.

Dalam menerangkan pendekatan beliau: “Saya bermula dengan lakaran bebas yang menarik kerana ia adalah bahagian penting dalam proses kerja saya, Gagal merancang, dan anda merancang kegagalan setiap arca. Lakaran-lakaran tersebut bertindak sebagai pelan di mana corak Pua Kumbu dalam dua dimensi akan diterjemahkan ke tiga dimensi, dan dalam proses itu, mengembangkan lagi sisi, kedalaman, dan perspektifnya. Setiap potongan kayu dan resin dibuat secara terperinci dan beberapa bentuk dan bucu dipotong rapi. Setiap potongan hendaklah sempurna supaya boleh muat dengan baik dan akan memudahkan pemasangan arca secara lancar untuk mencapai estetika akhir.

Ketegasan saya dalam menghasilkan sendiri keseluruhan arca membentuk satu jalinan antara diri saya dan arca-arca saya. Jalinan ini jelas terbukti dalam kemajuan yang saya capai secara teknikal dan konsepsi daripada setiap kepingan. Arca-arca saya ibarat satu letusan awal dalam pertukangan kayu. Setiap ukiran kayu baharu jelas terpampang dengan kepelbagaian warna yang menarik disusuli lapisan penggilap yang disadur pada setiap kepingan. Ia memberikan satu semangat dedikasi terhadap arca saya dan kebolehan yang indah untuk bercerita akan budaya dan tradisi dalam bahasa generasi baru.”

Sebelum ini, beliau selesa bekerja solo, tetapi untuk merealisasikan hasrat agung untuk Susey, beliau telah menyatukan sekumpulan empat orang pembantu produksi untuk mencapai objektif beliau secara strategik.

Kisah orang asal

Untuk karya berjudul Kisah Mesiong (Melanau), ia menceritakan tentang Mesiong dari Oya, seorang petani dan ketua keluarga yang berdepan masalah tanamannya dirosakkan sekumpulan babi hutan. Berang dengan kemusnahan tersebut, Mesiong berikrar untuk menghapuskan petualang menggunakan lembing milik ayah mentuanya yang telah meminjamkan lembing tersebut kepada Mesiong atas syarat dia mesti memulangkan lembing tersebut dalam keadaan asal tanpa kerosakan atau hidupnya akan terancam.

Meskipun begitu syaratnya, Mesiong tetap bersetuju meminjam lembing tersebut. Keesokan harinya, Mesiong menyerang salah seekor babi hutan dengan lembing tersebut yang kemudian tercacak pada rusuk babi itu. Dia mengejar babi yang cedera itu untuk mendapatkan semula lembing milik ayah mentuanya, tetapi siang berganti malam dan babi hutan itu tidak dapat dikesan lagi.

Mesiong meneruskan misinya untuk mencari lembing pada pagi berikutnya dengan menjejaki laluan darah babi yang menitis yang kemudian menemukan dia dengan sebuah kampung jauh nun di dalam hutan. Dia telah disambut oleh sekumpulan kanak yang sedang bermain. Mesiong tidak pernah tahu wujudnya sebuah kampung di dalam hutan yang penuh dengan kanak-kanak dan terkejut dengan penemuan tersebut.

Sekumpulan kanak tersebut yang turut terkejut dengan kehadiran Mesiong ingin menyerangnya, tetapi salah seorang daripada mereka menegah dan sebaliknya membawa Mesiong menghadap raja kampung tersebut.

Selepas dibawa menghadap raja yang kemudian memohon bantuan Mesiong untuk merawat puterinya yang gering, Mesiong berasa seperti ada sesuatu yang tidak kena, tetapi mengabaikannya. Dia kemudian melihat keadaan puteri raja yang tertusuk dek lembing menembusi rusuknya. Lantas dia tersedar bahawa orang-orang kampung inilah sebenarnya babi-babi hutan jadian yang telah merosakkan tanamannya.

Pelik kerana orang kampung yang lain tidak sedar akan kecederaan yang dialami oleh puteri mereka, Mesiong kemudian memberitahu raja bahawa satu-satunya cara untuk merawat puteri adalah dengan memberikan dia ruang dan membekalkan bahan semula jadi seperti kunyit dan serai. Jika puteri menjerit kesakitan, mereka tidak boleh masuk campur mengganggu dan perlu membiarkan Mesiong menamatkan rawatan secara bersendiri. Raja tersebut pun bersetuju.

Akhirnya Mesiong berjaya mendapatkan semula lembing ayah mentuanya dan selang beberapa hari, puteri raja turut sembuh. Sebagai balasan, raja tersebut menawarkan Mesiong untuk berkahwin dengan anaknya. Mesiong dengan hormat menolak tawaran itu dengan mengatakan bahawa dia sudah pun berkahwin. Namun, raja berjaya mendesak dan Mesiong pun berkahwin dengan babi hutan.

Setelah beberapa ketika, Mesiong berjaya meyakinkan isteri barunya dan juga raja bahawa dia perlu pulang ke rumah asalnya. Isteri barunya mengingatkan Mesiong akan beberapa pantang larang yang terpaksa dituruti sepanjang perjalanan pulang. Pertama, jika Mesiong terjumpa penjual babi pulut, dia hendaklah membelinya, tetapi tidak boleh berkongsi dengan orang lain. Dia perlu melapah bahagian perut untuk menemukan sesuatu berharga kelak.

Kedua, Mesiong dilarang untuk buang air kecil di atas kayu atau tempat kering. Oleh kerana dia gagal mencari tempat berair atau kawasan berlumpur ketika dalam perjalanan, Mesiong telah membuang air kecil di tempat kering. Selepas itu, dia telah kehilangan arah dan kemudian tersesat di dalam hutan tebal.

Selepas berjaya mencari haluan yang betul, Mesiong akhirnya selamat pulang ke rumah dan berasa gembira dapat bersatu semula bersama keluarganya yang telah lama risau akan kehilangannya. Tidak lama selepas itu, Mesiong telah pergi membeli babi pulut dan melapah perut babi tersebut untuk menemukan selonggok emas. Dia kemudiannya hidup mewah selepas peristiwa itu.

Ancaman reptilia

Untuk karya berjudul Dendam Sang Buaya, Anniketyni mendapatkan ilham daripada kisah Bujang Senang, buaya terbesar yang pernah ditangkap di Sarawak pada tahun 1992 yang berukuran 5.88 meter panjang dan seberat lebih satu tan.

Bujang Senang merupakan buaya daripada spesis Crocodylus porosus dan mendiami Sungai Batang Lupar sejak tahun 1941. Bujang Senang dipercayai merupakan jadian seorang pahlawan Iban bernama Simalungun.

Kepayahan yang dialami oleh penduduk setempat Kampung Sungai Samarahan di Kuching, Sarawak dan kampung-kampung lain sekitar Batang Samarahan tidak sama seperti penduduk bandar.

Sebagai contoh, isu-isu biasa dihadapi oleh penduduk Kuala Lumpur dan sekitar Lembah Klang ialah seperti hujan lebat yang mengakibatkan banjir kilat dan kesesakan jalan raya; catuan bekalan air di sesetengah tempat; atau kenaikan harga daging dan telur ayam – tidaklah seberapa jika dibandingkan dengan ancaman nyawa dan risiko bahaya hidup di samping buaya-buaya pemakan manusia yang mendiami sungai-sungai utama di Sarawak. Menjadi satu kelaziman untuk mendengar berita bahawa kanak-kanak, para wanita, dan kaum lelaki menjadi mangsa reptilia ini.

Dendam Sang Buaya mengisahkan tentang peristiwa sebuah kampung berdekatan Sungai Samarahan yang menyambut satu perayaan khas. Orang tempatan bergembira menyertai persembahan tradisional Bertandak, Bergendang dan Bermukun selama lima malam berturut-turut.

Sambutan perayaan tersebut telah menarik perhatian tujuh beradik untuk ke kampung tersebut. Bakat bermain alatan muzik dan menyanyi mereka telah memukau para gadis dan wanita tempatan. Dek kerana iri hati dengan tumpuan yang diterima oleh tetamu yang tidak diundang ini, sekumpulan lelaki tempatan telah melakukan provokasi terhadap tujuh beradik tersebut pada malam ketiga, tetapi tidak diendahkan.

Lelaki-lelaki tempatan tersebut secara senyap mengekori tujuh beradik ini sehingga mereka tiba di tebing sungai, tetapi terkejut kerana mendapati tujuh beradik itu telah hilang dalam kepekatan malam secara tiba-tiba. Oleh kerana masih tidak berpuas hati, lelaki-lelaki tempatan ini telah merancang untuk menyerang tujuh beradik tersebut pada malam berikutnya. Mereka menyorok di sebalik pokok di tebing sungai dan menunggu ketibaan tujuh beradik ini. Tidak lama kemudian, dengan rasa takjub, tujuh ekor buaya muncul di jeti lantas menjelma menjadi manusia.

Setiap seorang mereka menyarung seutas rantai dengan sebatang gigi buaya sebagai buah rantai. Sebagai langkah untuk menyertai penduduk tempatan, mereka menanggalkan rantai masing-masing dan meletakkan ia pada setiap pokok berlainan. Tujuh beradik ini kemudian berlangsung menyertai perayaan yang sedang berlangsung. Setiap gerak-geri mereka teliti diperhatikan sekumpulan lelaki tempatan tadi.

Pada penghujung malam, kumpulan lelaki tempatan tadi menunggu semula di tebing sungai, memusnahkan rantai gigi buaya, dan menyerang tujuh beradik tadi. Enam daripada mereka berjaya bertukar menjadi buaya semula dan lari masuk ke dalam sungai, tinggal seorang yang telah cedera parah. Dia kemudiannya mati di depan mata enam adik-beradiknya yang lain yang hanya mampu melihat dari dalam sungai dari kejauhan.

Maka sejak malam itulah dipercayai bahawa sumpahan terhadap manusia bermula. Penduduk tempatan yakin bahawa buaya-buaya yang mendiami Sungai Samarahan hanya menyasarkan ahli keluarga dan sanak saudara sekumpulan lelaki tempatan yang telah membunuh adik ketujuh mereka.

Tentang kecantikan, keghairahan, dan keinginan

Dalam Dang Isah Tandang Sari, Anniketyni menggabungkan motif-motif yang mewakili cerita rakyat berkisarkan seorang wanita muda bernama Dang Isah yang memiliki tujuh helai rambut pelbagai warna: armada kapal sebagai simbol perkahwinan seorang pelayar bernama Nakhoda Khar yang telah berkahwin dengan Dang Isah dengan hantaran 10 kati (bersamaan enam kilogram) emas; sebilah keris mistik bergelar Gempetar Alam menggambarkan ayahnya Datu Temenggong Kadir; sebuah istana yang mencerminkan taraf sosial ayahnya, dan seorang lelaki lain yang mencintai Dang Isah bernama Awang Bunut. Cinta tiga segi ini berakhir dengan tragis dan makam Dang Isah masih elok terpelihara di Kampung Kalok, Pusa.

Dayang Laing dan Bintang Tujuh (Iban) pula menceritakan tentang seorang perawan yang lahir dari sebuah batu besar dipanggil Tengkulas Batu Mas. Wanita ini melahirkan tujuh orang anak perempuan bersama Bunsu Ribut (dewa angin), tetapi penyatuan mereka berdua tidak direstui Tuhan. Sebagai hukuman, ketujuh-tujuh anak perempuan mereka diangkat naik ke langit. Seperti mana mitologi Yunani, mereka dikenali sebagai Gugusan Bintang Tujuh Beradik atau Pleiades. Untuk meredakan Tuhan, Dayang Laing dan Bunsu Ribut berpisah. Sementara itu, ada seorang anak Tuhan bernama Abu Tinggang memanjat sebatang pokok kelapa untuk menghilangkan dahaga. Dari situ, dia ternampak sebuah pondok di kejauhan dan kemudian mendekatinya kerana ingin tahu. Dia kemudian menjumpai sebuah tempayan besar dan setelah membuka tudungnya, menjumpai seorang wanita cantik di dalamnya. Wanita tersebut ialah tidak lain tidak bukan ialah Dayang Laing yang ketika itu sedang bersembunyi dari seekor Garuda. Terpana dengan kecantikan Dayang Laing, Abu Tinggang kemudian melamarnya dan dia bersetuju. Mereka kemudiannya hidup bahagia.

Dalam Kaleng dan Kumang Ruwai (Bidayuh), motif seperti burung merak melambangkan kecantikan dan nasib Kumang Ruwai; dan ikan sebagai simbolik nasib malang yang menimpanya tatkala masih bayi yang baru lahir. Kisah jalinan kasih ini menceritakan tentang seorang lelaki muda tampan bernama Kaleng yang berjaya menangkap seekor buruk merak bersuara merdu untuk dijadikan haiwan belaan. Tanpa disedarinya, burung merak ini bertukar kepada Kumang Ruwai pada waktu malam yang kemudian menyelinap masuk ke dalam rumah untuk menjamah makanan dan daun pinang. Namun Kaleng mendapat tahu yang burung merak peliharaannya adalah seorang wanita cantik dan telah melamarnya. Dia kemudian membawa pulang Kumang Ruwai ke kampung halaman dan keluarganya mengadakan sambutan majlis kahwin besar-besaran atas penyatuan mereka berdua.

Untuk karya berjudul Simpulang Gana (Iban), ia merujuk kepada kisah Tuhan pertanian kaum Iban. Raja Simpulang Gana ialah anak ketujuh Raja Jembu – yang merupakan anak kepada dewa berkuasa bernama Raja Durong – dan isterinya, Endu Kumang Baku Pelimbang. Mereka merupakan pasangan penjaga kepada tangkal yang boleh mengurniakan makanan dan kekayaan. Raja Jembu dan pasangannya mempunyai tujuh orang anak dan anak bongsu mereka, Raja Simpulang Gana, menjadi Tuhan pertanian dan pemilik Bumi ini.

Karya agung Anniketyni pula berjudul Legenda Puteri Santubong memperincikan karakter negeri Sarawak Bumi Kenyalang: daripada kisah legenda dua puteri, Puteri Santubong dan Puteri Sejinjang; kesan rerama pentadbiran Rajah Brooke; buaya-buaya yang mendiami sungai; rumah panjang orang asal, sehinggalah ke motif flora dan fauna seperti Buah Gelung dan Paku Pakis dalam corak Pua Kumbu, dan motif abstrak pada perisai pahlawan Iban dipanggil terabai. Sebagai satu cerminan terhadap identiti orang Sarawak sepertinya, karya ini penuh dengan mesej-mesej intrinsik yang ketara dalam penghasilan kerja tangan Anniketyni.

Anniketyni turut memaparkan kisah rakyat suku kaum Bidayuh seperti Siak Magimang dan Dasan Maganda; kisah Dayung Jenai; dan Mambang Muring.

Arca bebas beliau yang berjudul Kisah Sultan Borhan (Melayu); Sarah dan Sanung (Bidayuh); Dasi dan Nian (Bidayuh); Nek Abab (Cerita Melayu Sarawak); dan Tum Betema dan Belawai (Melanau) ialah struktur lajur segi empat sama tiga dimensi diperbuat daripada kayu dan resin. Rekaan beliau kali ini yang ditambah baik adalah lebih kompleks dan bakal merangsang visual pengunjung jika dibandingkan dengan penampilan arca lajur yang dihasilkan untuk pameran solo kedua beliau, Bejampong (istilah Iban untuk ‘berbilang’ dan ‘pelbagai’) pada tahun 2017.

Ia adalah suatu kepuasan menyaksikan pencapaian Anniketyni hari ini berdasarkan perkembangan artistik dan teknikal beliau dalam tempoh lima tahun ini. Potensi untuk terus berkembang kini milik Anniketyni Madian. Berbekalkan kecemerlangannya dalam kerja-kerja pertukangan dan asemblaj yang kukuh, beliau kini telah menetapkan penanda aras tinggi terhadap para karyawan wanita Malaysia lain yang sedang menempa nama.


Sarah Abu Bakar

30 September 2022



RHB Art with Heart 2022 “Rising Together”

Date: September 5 – 11, 2022

Venue: Bangsar Shopping Centre, Concourse, Kuala Lumpur

Curator: Sarah Abu Bakar

Co-curator: Danial Fuad


Curator’s Introduction


RHB Banking Group’s Art with Heart (AwH22) exhibition continues with its fourth instalment, encouraging and elevating the local arts scene while enriching vulnerable communities’ lives. Over the years, the exhibition has garnered much interest from art enthusiasts and artists alike and established itself as amongst the most anticipated events to showcase the talents of local young and emerging artists.

Themed “Rising Together”, AwH22 brings equal gender representation and gives prominence to artists from diverse backgrounds and age groups, featuring over 100 artworks by 53 Malaysian artists. These numbers surpass the previous RHB Art with Heart exhibitions, reflecting the growing reach and impact of AwH22 within the arts fraternity.

AwH22 comes at a most opportune time when our local arts community works to rebuild following the prolonged COVID­19 pandemic. It has indeed been a challenging period for local artists; where a survey by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) during the Movement Control Order period found that more than 90% of the respondents were negatively impacted by the COVID­19 pandemic, with 70% of them having lost all or most of their income.

Rising together through this adversity, the arts fraternity strengthened their bond, forging ahead with innovative and novel ways to bring inspiring stories to life through their works of art.

To add even more meaning to AwH22, the exhibition creates a unique opportunity for visitors to appreciate the works of Persons With Disabilities (PWD) artists, including those from We & I Art collective, as well as the creativity of artists diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and Down Syndrome. On display are also photographs captured by a talented group of visually impaired photographers trained by professional photographers from Plus Community Partnership.

This year, AwH22 features various visually stimulating artworks in various styles, from abstract, figurative and landscape painting to sculptures and photography, that best encapsulate the theme “Rising Together”. It is with the hope that this initiative will continue to inspire Malaysians to appreciate and collect beautiful works of art while extending a helping hand to communities in need.

As we forge towards sustainable recovery, we hope that AwH22 serves as a reminder of how we continue to overcome our challenges by rising together. 



There are 28 artists representing the abstract style ranging from PWD artists Ahmad Danial Ahmad Kushairi, Izzati Shahrin, Maryam Zharifa, Ong Yong Da, and Stephanie Tam; young graduates such as Afiq Zainal, Anna Azzreena, Fuji Anggara, Lim Jing, Lim Tong Xin, Mulaika Nordin, and Yazi Jaclyn (Teh Ya Zi); emerging artists Abdul Shakir (Grasshopper), Alicia Lau, Azam Nasri, Azizi Latf, Elly Nor Suria, Emelia Ong Thiran, Hana Zamri, Hardiana Hidayah Azni, Hafiz Razak, Malina Su, Nadia Nizamudin, Nizar Sulaiman and Wendy Teo; and senior artists Faizal Suhif, Farif Jalil and Suddin Lappo in this category.



In the figurative segment, 12 artists express themselves through depictions of human figures, portraiture, fauna and still-life, namely PWD artists Haziq Izmi and Wan Jamila (artjamila®); young graduates Amri Ibrahim, Chua Hui Qin, Danielle Lin, Ellis Khan, Joy Ng, Sharina Shahrin; emerging artists Arikwibowo Amril, Rais Azmi, Aiman Aisamuddin, and senior artist Noor Mahnun Mohamed.



Various landscape interpretations are depicted in the works of four artists: Aimman Hafizal, Khairul Izham, Kimberley Boudville and Leong Sok Yeng.



A group of seven visually impaired photographers from Plus Community Partnership consisting of Ahar Bin Tabe (B2), Jamaliah Mohd Yasin (B1), Rashidi Abdullah (B3), Suzie Ng (B2), the late Svivabalan A/L Selvarajan (B2), Theng Tze Young (B1) and Vivian Kwek Chu Lan (B3).

Plus Community Partnership conceptualised the SENSORY PHOTOGRAPHY™ programme, and in early 2018, a collaboration began with the Malaysian Association of the Blind (MAB) and Studio DL Photography.

The objective is to empower the visually impaired with the opportunity to explore an activity they previously had no access to. The SENSORY PHOTOGRAPHY™ programme is centred on photography as a channel for self­expression and provides photographers with an additional source of income.

All photographers named above are legally blind at different degrees of visual impairment. The classifications are:

B1: total blindness
B2: partial vision of shadows and movement
B3: severe low vision/tunnel vision



Another exciting element of Art with Heart 2022 is art expression through sculpture. On offer are artworks by Agnes Lau, who incorporates ceramic pieces in her wall sculptures and Mohd Al-Khuzaire Ali, whose artworks are produced using mixed media.


Link to exhibition catalogue here


Media coverage

The Edge, September 3, 2022, Rising together in support of the art community. Link to PDF here.

The Star, September 7, 2022, June Moh: RHB Foundation uplifts OKU artists via Art with Heart showcase. Link to PDF here.

BASKL, September 9, 2022, Danial Fuad: Bangkit Bersama di RHB Art With Heart 2022. Link to PDF here


Curator Sarah Abu Bakar delivering a speech during the opening night of RHB Art with Heart 2022
The opening night of RHB Art with Heart 2022. Photo courtesy of RHB Banking Group.


L to R: Norazzah Sulaiman, RHB Group Chief Sustainability and Communications Officer, and Mohd Rashid Mohamad Group Managing Director / Group Chief Executive Officer

Time Together: Exploring Art through Khazanah’s Collection

Galeri Khazanah’s official launch on August 24, 2022, which included a guided walkthrough of Galeri Khazanah’s

Time Together: Exploring Khazanah’s Collection through Art,

with DYMM Sultan Nazrin Shah, the Sultan of Perak.


Visit Galeri Khazanah here.

Exhibition photo credit to Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Nikt Wong.