Lot 005

M. Zain Idris
b. Terengganu, 1939 - d. 2000

Untitled, 1971

signed and dated
‘M ZAIN 71’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
44 x 59cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE RM 6,000 – 10,000
What a bucolic scene filled with nostalgia, of a farmer, hoe over his shoulder, in his paddy field probably of approaching dusk flanked by trees, and with a hill in the backdrop. The sky and the fields are of the same ochre hues indicating much to be done. Although done in 1971, this work could well be set in the 1950s when Malaya was still frontier land and the economy agrarian. Mohd Zain Idris, or better known as M. Zain, is known for his rural landscapes. He is a buddy of Khalil Ibrahim and is a fine artist, but by some quirk fate, does not reach the prominence in art he so richly deserves.

M. Zain is best known as the rare ‘State artist’ appointed by the Terengganu Menteri Besar and given his own studio cum residence in Kuala Terengganu, complete with a stipend. He had gone fulltime after being discovered by art-critic cum gallerist Frank Sullivan, then Press Secretary to Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Dubbed the Fisherman Artist, he had his first solo at Sullivan’s Samat Art Gallery. Many of his works were sold at the MAHA agricultural market and to a frame shop in Kuala Lumpur. He had a joint exhibition with Kasim Abas at the Equatorial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, in 1984, and at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, in 1987.