Lot 061

b. Johor, 1950

TOPENG, c. late 1980s

Signed 'yusof ghani' (lower right)
Watercolour on paper
Set of two, 74cm x 54cm each

Private Collection, Singapore;
acquired directly from the artist.

ESTIMATE  RM 3,300 - 5,000


We all wear masks. You wear a mask when you are talking to your boss. When I was teaching, I had a different mask. Now, if you tell me to smile or be serious, it is likely to be a mask too.” – Yusof Ghani

Yusof Ghani, a former graphic artist at the Malaysian TV network RTM is considered as one of Malaysia’s foremost artists today. His passion in art began in his second year at George Mason University in Virginia, USA . When he returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1984, Malaysia was in pursuit of artistic national identity. Yusof Ghani sought to convey cultural message and to experiment with formalistic aspects like lines, movement and colours.

Yusof Ghani’s obsession with masks was initially inspired by the ceremonial masks he saw during his trips to Sarawak where he observed the Kenyah and Kayan tribes in the 1980s. His travels to this region, and also to Nepal, Morocco and Siem Reap have enriched his artistic exploration on the richness of the places and also their cultures. The artist has used the mask theme for years as a motif to explore layers of the human condition and emotion. Yusof Ghani’s masks series cemented his importance in the development of contemporary art in Malaysia. Executed shortly after his return from the United States of America, the present lot is a fine example of spontaneity and fluency in the brushstrokes.