RAPHAEL SCOTT AHBENG
b. Sarawak, 1939
CONDO NEGARA, 2009
Signed, dated and inscribed
'Condo Negara RSA '09' (lower right)
Mixed media on canvas
180cm x 120cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
ESTIMATE RM 13,000 - 19,000
PRICE REALISED RM 15,400
|The title Condo Negara has no literal or metaphorical meaning but of the artist’s odd humour after coming up with a real abstract gem of a visual feast. It has a reticulated veinous centrepiece in silhouette with an overhung blob of reddish stain on the top left corner with an optical glow. While the gauze-like mesh does loom like a misshapen condominium in the night sky with all the myriad cubicles albeit its odd outer shape, it is the appellation of calligraphic emblem of gold in the centre that is the piece de resistance. A moon-like shape discernible in the red blob acts like an arbitrary sentinel.
Raphael Scott Ahbeng, a Bidayuh is a man of many creative talents – artist of abstract and caricatures, photographer, cartoonist, radio broadcaster and teacher. He attended informal Art and Photography courses at the Bath Academy of Art, England, from 1964-67, and also took up a Drama course British Drama League in London for four months in 1973. He also had a stint as cartoonist for the Sarawak Tribune. After teaching, he left the civil service in 1990 to concentrate fulltime on art. He first showed promise when he won First Prize in the Sarawak Shell Open art competition in 1959 and participated and won again in 1982 and 1983. He also won the Third Prize in the Natural Malaysia competition in Kuala Lumpur (1991). He was adviser of the Sarawak Artists Society from 1999 to 2000.