This artwork is probably the earliest work by the artist to be featured in an auction in Malaysia
NIK ZAINAL ABIDIN
B. Kelantan, 1933 – 1993
Wayang Kulit, 1968
Signed in Jawi and dated “1968” on top left
Ink and colour on paper
102 x 36 cm
Formerly Private Collection, United Kingdom Private Collection, Singapore
RM 6,000 – RM 12,000
Born in 1936, Nik Zainal Abidin is often hailed as the “Painter of the Epics” because of the recurring motif in his paintings, which defined his career as an artist. Wayang kulit was his obsession, from the time he was a child surrounded by Kelantanese shadow play. Nik Zainal was deemed the foremost artist in incorporating wayang kulit into his art, being the pioneer of weaving traditional and ancient imageries with modern visual art, but he also created artworks aside from that, as seen in this piece.
Taking his cues from his roots as a Kelantanese Malay, that form of culture and tradition is illustrated in this piece. It is a form of cultural identity and it is done beautifully. Nik Zainal Abidin never had a formal education in art but took lessons in art. He was a member of APS and Wednesday Art Group. He also often dabbled in painting romantic landscapes of picturesque countryside, paddy fields, beaches and boats.