AWANG DAMIT AHMAD
B. Sabah, 1956
EOC Series “Sinumandak” 1988
Signed and dated on lower right
Inscribed artist, title, medium, dimension and year on the verso
Acrylic on canvas
89 x 79 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
RM 70,000 – RM 120,000
It can be argued that Awang Damit’s works are elegiac. They do not have pretty colours nor are they paintings of flawless and fantastic dream realms. They are commanding, ruthless and stares back at the viewer, standing its ground firmly. As seen in this piece, the colours are dark and busy, creating a chaotic atmosphere. Jagged lines, shapes and random colours are scattered about the canvas, so forceful that they command the attention of the viewer at once. These are not mere random drawings or arbitary strokes of the brush, these are raw gestures filled with raw human emotions and the essence of culture (hence the series’ title) – Awang Damit’s intellectual journey. This rare work is an early masterpiece from the Essence of Culture Series which was executed prior to the artist attaining his master’s degree in Fine Arts at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, United States in 1989.
“Through them I try to translate the deepest parts of it onto something that is tangible,” said Awang.
His bittersweet memories of his childhood are represented in this canvas, filled with emotions that are hard to forget even after all these years. They are, of course, unique in terms of colours and shapes, but that is what makes Awang Damit and his works truly memorable. The message needs a little dissecting, as if the viewer is trying to dissect parts of Awang Damit’s personality as well, as if one looks close enough they may find bits and pieces that may hint at what the painting is truly about.