RAPHAEL SCOTT AHBENG
Signed, dated and titled “RSA ‘06 Subdued” on lower right
Acrylic on canvas
113.5 x 83.5 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
It is known to whoever is familiar with Raphael Scott AhBeng’s works that his interpretation of nature and beauty are different from the rest of his contemporaries.
They have been modified into something that is purely AhBeng’s style – atypical and bizarre. These modifications, his reinterpretations are not unwelcome. In fact, they appeal to the eyes and the emotions. Although the title of this piece is “Subdued”, the beauty and the artistic skill of the artist is anything but that, as seen in this piece. Perhaps it is subdued in his selection of colours, as it is limited, the opposite of his usual works that employ almost every colour available. This piece is drenched in red and black with hints of blue that borders on aggressive but beautifully contained. Another way AhBeng’s works charm the viewer is through the subtle, meandering way it catches the eye. It does not give off an immediate reply to a question, but it beckons the viewer to come and dissect the hidden meaning and blend of colours.
Raphael Scott AhBeng, a Bidayuh, hails from Sarawak and is one of the most prominent Borneo artists. He attended Bath Academy of Art in Britain, where he studied Art and Photography. He won the First Prize for the Sarawak Shell Open art competition in 1959, 1982 and 1983 Third Prize in the Natural Malaysia art competition in Kuala Lumpur in 1991.