Lot 061

b. Johor, 1955

KEBYAR, 1996

Signed and dated ‘AHMAD ZAKII ANWAR 97’ (lower right)
Acrylic on canvas
120cm x 180cm; diptych, 120cm x 90cm each

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

Dance, Rhythm & Motion, Galeri Maybank, Kuala Lumpur, 1997.

ESTIMATE  RM 80,000 - 120,000

“But there are times though, when an artist reaches a sublime level, a level where the idea of the painting and the act of painting becomes one, and at those times he comes close, so close he can almost hear the gamelan.”
– Ahmad Zakii Anwar

, one of the oldest traditional dances in Bali, is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. Accompanied by the florid and embellished sound of gamelan, the abstract, non-narrative dance is an interpretation of the rapidly changing moods of the music. The performer’s movements and expressions are accentuated by a crouching position with the dancer often raising the hem of a narrow skirt resembling older legong costume with one hand. Expressive movements are traced in the air by the dancer’s bare arms while the hands and fingers are extended into delicate, quickly changing gestures. A fan is being used to accentuate the rhythmic and emotional patterns of the gamelan accompaniment.

One of Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s first three creations of Kebyar, this uniquely composed diptych is the genesis of the artist’s depiction of the celebrated Balinese dance. The rich, vivid hues of the dancer’s attire reflect the historical significance of Balinese culture. Enamoured by the transcendence that the dance brings, Zakii has brilliantly rendered this celebration as an act of devotion. Every characteristic of the dance is captured with great marvel - its expression, rhythm and motion – as if the dance is performed right before the viewer’s eyes.

From a successful advertising background, he switched fulltime 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.

A Love for Bali’s Art and Culture
by Ooi Kok Chuen, News Straits
Times, page 3, Wednesday, May 27, 1998.