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Lot 035

b. Negeri Sembilan, 1941


Signed and dated ‘AL ’65’ lower centre
Ink and watercolour on paper
27cm x 19cm

Private collection, Penang; acquired directly from the artist.

ESTIMATE  RM 15,000 - 20,000

“Practising drawing everyday is my breakfast, at least three to four sketches a day. If you don’t practice you are punished and have to double the effort. And also before I sleep, it’s my late supper. So it’s a daily practice.” - Abdul Latiff Mohidin

There is a dreamy quality about this Pago-Pago piece, what more with a yellow moon perched like a sentinel. It is a picture of nocturnal serenity and quietness. Dated 1965, it is a monolith of fused interlocking shapes like the Yehliu Miocene formations of Taiwan but with disparate fragments, interlocked and fused. Latiff’s iconic shapes are derived from more natural organic forms, animals and insects and even from the strange shapes of mythical ancient monuments.

The Pago-Pago series is one of the most compelling in Southeast Asian art with its intriguing mix of natural heritage, ecosystems and sacred man-made monuments. At that time, Latiff was heavily interested in nature; “I realise, in the number of paintings and sketches I made around1963-1964 in Berlin, there were merely hints and foreshadowings of forms resembling: the pointed shapes of bamboo clumps, pandanus leaves, fishing boats, shells, hills, even tapering outlines of balconies, mosque-minarets and stupas-pagodas. Already there were the curves of yam leaves, river pebbles, wells, ladles, bivalve shells and domes… and the colours of the land, earth, dry mud, moss, dry leaves and bits of wood…..” Artist-historian Redza Piyadasa said of the series: “His most important contribution to Malaysian art is his potent imagery which is, perhaps, the nearest thing to a Malaysian art that any artist of the 1960s has arrived at.”

Pago-Pago to Gelombang: 40 Years of Latiff Mohidin, Singapore Art Museum, 1994.

L.I.N.E. Latiff Mohidin: From Point To Point, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, 1993, (translated by Adibah Amin).
Garis: Works On Paper – From Berlin to Samarkand, 2004.