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Lot 022

b. Kelantan, 1969


Mixed media on canvas
152cm x 179cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 23,000 - 28,000

The painting Tapir Diamond underlines Ahmad Shukri Mohamed’s concern for the vulnerable forest habitat of insects, birds and animals. Their survival is also closely intertwined with that of mankind. He has been consistent in his cause, starting with the symbolic chloroformed butterflies on stencilled imprints on crate-boxes and canvases to the dangers posed to the endangered such as the tiger and the Malayan Tapir. The tapir has been around for 35 million years but is suddenly threatened by poaching, deforestation and over-development. The mammal bears similarities to the panda with its distinct black-and-white body and long gestation in birth – 12 to 13 months, with only one pup each time. The largest of four species, the Malayan Tapir is solitary and herbivorous.

Here, Shukri shows one in faint imprints with whitish streaks, and ostensibly with only two legs visible in a profiled silhouette. Tapirs first appeared in his Warning Tapir Crossing exhibition shown at his Patisatu Studio in Puncak Alam, Selangor in 2007. He was immensely inspired by the sight of a tapir killed on the highway in an accident. The title Tapir Diamond is perhaps a play of the term ‘blood diamond’ on the mining of precious metal in war zones to finance insurgencies.

Shukri’s works of ‘chloroformed’ butterflies won him First Prize in the Malaysian Art Open at Galeri Petronas in 1994. He garnered two more awards at the national level competition of the Philip Morris Asean Art Awards in 1997 and 1999. He also won an award for his installation in the 2002 Young Contemporary Artists competition which rewarded him with a research tour around Indonesia the next year. In 2003, he was selected for Rimbun Dahan artist’s residency together with Wong Perng Fey and Australian Anne Morrison. He is one of the members of the cult artists’ co-operative Matahati, which had a major international exhibition in Los Angeles in the United States Matahati Ke Matadunia at DCA Fine Art in 2009. Shukri also took part in the 2003 Sharjah Biennale in the United Arab Emirates, the Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh in 2001, and the Asean Art Show at the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan in 1994.

MATAHATI – For Your Pleasure, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur, 2008.