Lot 073

b. Negeri Sembilan, 1941


Signed and dated ‘AL 65’ (lower centre)
Watercolour on paper
25cm x 17cm

Private Collection, Penang; acquired directly from the artist.

ESTIMATE  RM 15,000 - 20,000

“Forms, colours and spaces of the force of life in my homeland, in the Southeast Asian region are no longer products of my imagination or memory, as they had been when I recorded them in my paintings in Germany. Now I am face to face with them and breathe them in straight from the source in the Nature of Nusantara, the Malay world. Directly shaping the forms: bamboo shoot, rumbia
palm, shellfish, boats.”

– Abdul Latiff Mohidin

This abstract work translates an instinctive quality, composed in an oval-shaped structure with various forms contained within - loose organic streaks, repetitive dots and lines - that form mesmerising representation of nature. The Pago-Pago series is one of the most compelling in Southeast Asian art with its intriguing mix of natural heritage, ecosystems and sacred man-made monuments. At that time, Latiff was heavily interested in nature: “I realise, in the number of paintings and sketches I made around 1963 to 1964 in Berlin, there were merely hints and foreshadowings of forms resembling: the pointed shapes of bamboo clumps, pandanus leaves, fishing boats, shells, hills, even tapering outlines of balconies, mosqueminarets and stupas-pagodas. Already there were the curves of yam leaves, river pebbles, wells, ladles, bivalve shells and domes… and the colours of the land, earth, dry mud, moss, dry leaves and bits of wood...” Artist-historian Redza Piyadasa commented on the series: “His most important contribution to Malaysian art is his potent imagery which is, perhaps, the nearest thing to a Malaysian art that any artist of the 1960s has arrived at.”

Abdul Latiff Mohidin is a national treasure, much admired for his oeuvre in painting, printmaking and sculptures as well as his poetry and books on aesthetics. Upon his graduation from the German academy, DAAD (Deutscher Akademescher AustGuschdientst), he explored printmaking at the Atelier La Courrier in Paris and Pratt Institute in New York in 1969. As a writer, he won the Malaysian Literary Awards consecutively from 1972 to 1976, the coveted Southeast Asian Writers Award in Bangkok in 1984, and the National Literary Award in 1984 and 1986. He was a Creative Fellow at Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1977 and a Guest Writer of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1988.