SYED AHMAD JAMAL, DATUK
B. Johor, 1929 – 2011
Roger at Work, Chelsea School of Art Series, 1950s
Ink on paper
25.5 x 39.5 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
Illustrated on page 588 in the “Syed Ahmad Jamal – Pelukis” retrospective book published by National Art Gallery, Malaysia.
RM 10,000 – RM 15,000
As the eldest of his family, with six younger brothers and sisters to look after, a higher education seemed out of reach to Syed Ahmad. But despite his predicament, he did so well in school that the Johor government awarded him the Yayasan Sultan Ibrahim Scholarship to study at the Birmingham School of Architecture, England in 1950. Once he was there, however, he realised that architecture just wasn’t his cup of tea. The time he looked forward to most was when his class went to sketch in the outdoors or visit art galleries. Syed Ahmad’s sketches would always turn out to be the best among all his classmates’, something his principle, Mr Jones took notice of. “Lucky for me, Mr Jones saw my talent in art. ‘You are too good an artist to be an architect,’ he told me.”
So Mr Jones wrote to the Johor government and said that I should discontinue my studies in architecture and enroll in art school instead. The first letter was rejected but Mr Jones persisted and wrote an appeal.” This time, the Johor government responded and Syed Ahmad was soon on his way to the Chelsea School. His dream had finally come true.