Lot 001

b. Kuala Lumpur, 1934 - d. Selangor, 1997

UNTITLED, undated

Signed ‘Ahmad Khalid Yusof’ (lower right)
Mixed media on paper
29cm x 21cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 3,000 - 5,000

Known as the foremost Malaysian artist using khat calligraphy technique in his painting practice, Ahmad Khalid breaks away from the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism of his time with his Alif Ba Ta series, skillfully developed from 1971. The two key elements in his works are the choice of khat motifs as pictorial forms and the dimensions of his pictorial method. Rhythmic optical images are transformed in his compositions which essentially originated from the art of khat. Upon viewing Ahmad Khalid’s pictures, one’s perceptual sense is instantaneously aroused as he transports the viewer into a meditative sensory experience.

Illustrated here is a tranquil piece with its focal point depicting a sky blue silhouette of a mihrab - an ornamental indentation in the wall of a mosque - which marks the direction of the qiblah. Mihrabs are usually shaped like a doorway and decorated with tiles and calligraphy to create prominence. In addition to marking the qiblah, the niche also amplifies the voice of the Imam during congregational prayer. The traditional mihrab is a common element of Islamic mosque architecture throughout the world. Ahmad Khalid Yusof conveys the beauty of Islamic architecture through this piece and its rectangular dimension is symbolic of a prayer rug. Ahmad Khalid Yusof was an art academician, an artist and an activist all rolled into one. After graduating from the Malayan Teachers College in Kirby, Liverpool in 1957, he joined the Specialist Teachers Training Institute in Kuala Lumpur in 1963. He then studied at Winchester Art School (1966 to 1969) and continued his studies at Ohio University, obtaining his MFA in 1976. He taught at the Mara Institute of Technology between 1970 and 1989, retiring as Deputy Dean in Academic Affairs. He served as Shah Alam Art Gallery director from 1991 to 1997, and was the founderpresident of the Malaysian Artists Association established in 1979. In 1994, he was appointed Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka guest writer.

Alif Ba Ta: Riwayat Hidup Ahmad Khalid Yusof, Zakaria Ali, National Art Gallery, 2004.