AWANG DAMIT AHMAD
b. Sabah, 1956
SINUMAN DAK (ESSENCE OF CULTURE SERIES), 1988
Signed and dated 'damit '88' (lower right)
Acrylic on canvas
89cm x 79cm
Private Collection, Negeri Sembilan.
ESTIMATE RM 9,000 - 15,000
PRICE REALISED RM 44,240
|The works of Awang Damit Ahmad are predominantly based on nature conveying an elegiac quality. The sentimental bittersweet memories of childhood pastimes and intimate impressions of a place in the past (his hometown in Kuala Penyu, Sabah) and a much changed present are some of the themes seen in his abstraction. His colour palette tends to be dark, melancholy, sombre and earthy although later cheery reds and soothing greens are present in his works, reflecting a more positive spirit. This work stems from his early major series, Essence of Culture (EOC), at the beginning of his studies at the Catholic University in Washington, USA, from 1988 to 1990. Awang Damit recalls with childlike innocence and an attuned experience, his frolic in the paddy fields where the scarecrow acts as a guardian spirit and an object of fear. His abstraction is cartography of symbolisms of shapes and fragments of patterns arranged sporadically. The symbolic shapes are derived from his thoughts, reflections and observations.
Awang Damit Ahmad came into the national limelight when his work was selected for the travelling Malaysian Paintings exhibition in Pasadena, USA in 1988. He had shown early promise when his work won Minor Award in the Young Contemporary Artists competition in 1984. A graduate with a Diploma in Art and Design at the Mara Institute of Technology in 1979, he obtained his Masters from Catholic University, Washington, USA in 1990. He won Second Prize in the Malaysia Bank Association art competition in 1988. In 1992, a work from his EOC series called Farmer’s Song clinched the Painting Prize at the coveted Third Salon Malaysia. He also received Honourable Mention at the 1994 and 1995 Philip Morris Malaysia Art Awards.