AHMAD ZAKII ANWAR
b. Johor, 1955
Signed and dated 'Ahmad Zakii Anwar 96' lower right
Acrylic on canvas
120cm x 181cm, diptych
Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.
Dance, Rhythm & Motion, Galeri Maybank, Kuala Lumpur, 1997; illustrated on catalogue.
ESTIMATE RM 40,000 - 55,000
PRICE REALISED RM 79,200
“My search for beauty can take me to the unlikeliest places – through dark shadows and into the deepest recesses of human mind. But it is a search for beauty nonetheless. There is beauty even in the Rangda mask, which the Balinese regard as the epitome of all evil. Yet, beauty resides here too; for in the end, God’s mercy precedes the wrath. This dichotomy, confusing as it may appear, opens the door towards a greater understanding of the processes that govern existence. It forms the basis for the making of my art.” – Ahmad Zakii Anwar
The witch-widow Rangda, a grotesque fanged and goggle-eyed beast with a long protruding tongue, holds sway over one half of the world on the right, while a man clad in only a loincloth moves trance-like to the darker other half on the left. There is no hint of confrontation here, more a blurring of the thin line separating myth and reality. The rituals of worship and offering have become such a unique way of Hindu-Balinese life. According to Balinese mythology, the traditional Barong dance is a personification of the eternal battle between good and evil.
In the book Dance and Drama in Bali (1938) by Walter Spies and Beryl de Zoete, they wrote: “Wherever he may be, idle or at work… the Balinese is so perfectly in harmony with his surroundings and so graceful in the poise that we almost have the impression of a dance.” The anthropologist Margaret Mead noted in ‘Children and Ritual in Bali’ that there was no distinction between amateurs and professionals.
From a successful advertising background, Ahmad Zakii Anwar switched full-time to fine art in the early 1990s and has become a master of Urban Realism. A graduate of Graphic Design in the Mara Institute of Technology in 1977, he made a great impact with the Smoker series in his first solo in 1997. Zakii came to attention with his virtuosity and command of a spectrum of media from charcoals to oils, building a reputation for stunning photorealist still-life paintings and expressive portraits. His career milestones were noted in 2007 when he joined the premier ranks in the artist’s workshop project at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, as well as a mid-career survey exhibition Disclosure held at Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur in 2008. In recent years, he has had a number of notable exhibitions overseas such as Bones and Sinews, Andrewshire Gallery (USA, 2011), Kota Sunyi, C.P. Art Space (Indonesia, 2007), Shadowland, Plum Blossoms Gallery (Hong Kong, 2001) and Presence, Barbara Greene Fine Art (USA, 1999).
Distant Gamelan, Art Focus Gallery, Singapore, 1998.
Disclosure, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur, 2008.