SYED AHMAD JAMAL, DATUK
b. Johor, 1929 - d. Kuala Lumpur, 2011
STUDY FOR LELA MAYANG, 1968
Signed and dated ‘AJ ‘68’ lower left
Gouache on paper
36.5cm x 27cm
Private collection, Singapore; acquired through Nanyang
Gallery of Art, Kuala Lumpur.
Syed Ahmad Jamal Historical Overview 1954-1994, Nanyang Gallery of Art, Kuala Lumpur, 1994 -1995.
ESTIMATE RM 15,000 - 20,000
PRICE REALISED RM 24,200
Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal’s Lela Mayang works in 1968 for drama activist Dato Syed Alwi Syed Hassans (1930-2008) was the first for an art exhibition that was based entirely on a theatre production. It was displayed at Frank Sullivan’s Samat Art Gallery that year. Apart from original sketches based on the traditional Malay tale, Syed Ahmad Jamal also worked on the colourful costume designs, posters, illustration materials and stage designs. He was also similarly involved in two subsequent Syed Alwi plays -Desaria (1978) and Z.oom (1984). The ‘Lela Mayang Suite’ exhibition comprised 30 designs in gouache, watercolours and drawings. Every design had a divided heart “expressing the conflict of love and duty, hope and despair, life and death, and the pierce blade of passion and pandan.”
Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal is the consummate artist – as artist, administrator, academician, writer, critic, author and activist, and is the only visual artist with the title of National Art Laureate, which was awarded to him in 1995. He had his art tutelage at the Birmingham School of Architecture (1950-1951); Chelsea School of Art, London (1951-1955); Institute of Education, London University (1955-1956); School of Art Institute Chicago (1963-1964); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (1973-1974); and Harvard University, USA (1974). He had a stint at Specialist Teachers Training Institute (1961-1963) and was its principal (1964 -1972). He was also the Director of the Asian Culture Museum (1979-1983) and the National Art Gallery (1983-1991). He won First Prize at the Johor Art Exhibition (1950), Summer Competition from Chelsea School of Art (1954), Federation Art Competition Kuala Lumpur (1962) and the National Bank of Malaysia Mural Competition. In 1995, he was awarded the Seniman Negara (National Laureate) for his contribution to art. He was honoured with a Retrospective exhibition Syed Ahmad Jamal: Pelukis in conjunction with his 80th birthday at National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
Syed Ahmad Jamal: PELUKIS, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2009.
Lela Mayang Inspires Art Suite, Newsletter of the Malaysian Arts Theatre Group (MATG), Vol. 1, No. 9 - March 1968.