Lot 047

b. Johor, 1955

EARTH #6, 1996

Signed and dated ‘AHMAD ZAKII ANWAR 1996’ (lower right)
Acrylic on illustration board
75cm x 50cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 18,000 - 25,000

A well-known form in the Southeast Asian repertoire of vessels, the kendi has played a significant role in the rituals and daily life of the region since ancient times. Kendi is a Malay word derived from the Sanskrit name kunda, which originated from kundika, a particular type of Indian container used as a vessel for holy water in religious Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies.

Depicted here is a stoneware kendi with a globular body, short neck, flange around the mouth, a teat spout and a flat base with stylised floral motifs. The two openings of the mouth and spout make the kendi suitable for both pouring and drinking liquids. The kendi is distinguished from other pouring vessels such as the jug by the absence of a handle. In order to drink from a kendi, one has to grasp the neck with one hand, place the other on its base for support, hold the vessel away from the body, point the spout towards the mouth and gradually tilt it to start the water flowing. The kendi is hygienic as the lips never touch the spout.

Ahmad Zakii Anwar is enamoured by its curious shape which is a challenge to depict artistically, as much as by its sensuous quality and its multipolar pedigree and history. Executed on illustration board, a material rarely used by Zakii today, the finely illustrated object of history represents the artist’s truly incontestable talent.

From a successful advertising background, he switched full-time to fine art in the early 1990s and has become a master of Urban Realism. A graduate of Graphic Design from the Mara Institute of Technology in 1977, he made great impact with the Smoker series for 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 photorealistic 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 abroad 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). He participated in an artist residency program hosted by Baik Art in Jeju Island, Korea in October 2013.