Lot 15 | Auction XIV

LOT 15

(B. Kelantan, 1938)

Wayang Kulit Musicians at Work, 1998

Signed and dated “ISMAIL MAT HUSSIN 1998” on lower right
102 x 114 cm

Private Collection, Kelantan

SOLD – RM 31,920

Musculoskeletal renderings and brassy versions of the traditional Malay life in scenic compositions are Ismail Mat Hussin’s trademark.

Taking batik to an entirely new level yet again with another piece of his distinguishably vivid-coloured depictions of Malaysian life, his theme here is forthright and uncomplicated, no intricacies or hidden messages behind it – it is a very stunningly done piece of batik artwork, pure visual bliss.

The musicians are perhaps playing an upbeat, melodious tune, the mood set by the surrounding milieu that is perhaps as vibrant as the colours.

The artist, known for encapsulating the everyday life of the country people in the East Cost illustrates a group of village men playing traditional instruments, clad in sarong. The simplicity of the scene combined with the heavy detailing that Ismail Mat Hussin features in this piece are definitely something to behold, not only because of how paradoxical the combination may seem, but also because he manages to make something so common and modest be filled with depth and aesthetic value.

Ismail Mat Hussin was born in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. He developed an interest in batik at the mere age 12 years old and picked up his batik skills from well-known artist Khalil Ibrahim and art teacher Yusof Abdullah. His career began as a violinist for Radio Televisyen Malaysia Kota Bharu, but he left and decided to put his all into painting. Ismail’s painting’s can be found in various galleries, a few being PETRONAS, Bank Negara, ESSO, Maybank and the National Art Gallery of Kuala Lumpur.