Lot 020

b. Johor, 1963


Signed and dated 'mastura '99' (lower left)
Mixed media on canvas
91cm x 91cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

ESTIMATE  RM 9,000 - 12,000

Mastura Abdul Rahman produces visually stimulating paintings through her manipulation of isometric and aerial perspectives of home interiors particularly of the traditional Malay, skillful integration of floral motifs found in traditional textiles such as batik and the presence of domestic objects that represent the artist’s locality - executed in the manner of Geometric Abstraction. The result gives an invigorating look on the nation’s aspirations for an identity in cultural expressions and heritage continuity.

As part of two special compositions from Mastura’s Interior series (1985 - 1999), she explores various permutations combining elements of bird’s eye view, foreshortened space and 360 degrees angle. Her sophistical techniques have created an optical bending for a well-orchestrated syncretic display of crafts and items used in everyday life. 

This hard-edge piece embodies the core elements of her work illustrated in earthy tones of green and brown with the use of black to create space and blue and grey to lend a cool, neutral effect to the perplexity of the composition. An arcanthus-like ornamentation, a wood-carving perhaps, floats in an arc penumbra with some of the floral bouquets now etched out and overflowing other spaces instead of being constricted in geometric slabs previously. A stick of different sized triangles filled with various batik patterns reminiscent of wayang kulit regalia are slotted at a slant at the bottom supported by bedrock looking like an embroidered cloth or a wood-carved panel. Depiction of sandals, terompah or a pair of clogs, and a tempayan or clay globular water container – traditionally placed at the steps of Malay families’ homes for the convenience of cleansing one’s feet before entering the home is a symbolic gesture of a traditional local custom and environment that Mastura aims to embrace.  

Mentored by Dr. Sulaiman Esa, Ponirin Amin and Fauzan Omar during her tertiary education at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), she was trained to expand her research beyond local proclivities. Some of her main influences include Persian and Mughal miniature paintings, the concept of spatial arrangements in the Japanese Ukiyo-E prints, and isometric projection drawings - evident in the creation of her first body of Interior series.

Mastura Abdul Rahman is much influenced by the Malay Islamist revivalist movement of the 1980s and a back-to-(Malay) roots orientation following the 1971 National Cultural Congress. Her astute combination of Malay crafts, architecture, traditional culture (textiles, woodcarving) and aesthetics in her Interior series clinched a Major Award in the coveted Young Contemporary Artists competition in 1985. In 1987, she won a Consolation Prize in the Johor Art Competition. A Fine Art graduate from UiTM in 1986 with a Diploma in Art and Design (Fine Art) majoring in Painting and Printmaking, Mastura obtained an Art Teachers’ Diploma in 1990 and a Master of Science in Creative Multimedia from Multimedia University (MMU) in 2009. She has also participated in a number of exhibitions at home and abroad.

The Use of Traditional Malay Art Images in the Paintings of Mastura A. Rahman, Tengku Sabri, 1998/1999