AWANG DAMIT AHMAD
B. Sabah, 1956
Marista “Ingatan Yang Tersisa II”, 2001
Signed and dated on the reverse
Artist, title, date, medium and dimensions inscribed on the reverse
Mixed media on canvas
110 x 118.5 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
Illustrated on page 83 of “Alun-alun ke Marista, Awang Damit Ahmad 1996-2002” exhibition book
Published in 2002 by National Art Gallery to commemorate the exhibition from 28 June – 4 August, 2002
The title itself hints at what this painting might be about. Different shapes and forms are scattered all over the canvas, with a space largely consisting of the colour grey takes precedence over the rest of the objects. Those familiar with Awang Damit’s work are provided with the knowledge that his works are inspired by his memories, most of which are scattered, symbolic and garlanded with numerous emotions. Even this series, dubbed ‘Marista’ means “to talk about the past” in Brunei’s Malay language. This is a piece about broken and lost memories, one that is strewn around a grey area, as bits and pieces only remain.
Born and brought up in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, he spent most of his teen years learning painting from various artists whilst traveling around the state. He initially came to Selangor to work as a technician for Telekom Malaysia, but found that art was something he truly was passionate about. He eventually left the telecommunications company, and took his Diploma in Fine Arts in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Masters Degree in the United States. A painting of his, Nyanyian Petani Gunung, won the 1991 Salon Malaysia Award. PETRONAS bought it and is, until this day, exhibited at the gallery.