(B. Johor, 1950)
Topeng Series – Pucok, 1996
Signed, titled and dated on verso
Oil and acrylic on canvas
25 x 25 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
SOLD – RM 7,280
Bold and abrasive, this piece makes as strong a statement as its execution. Although the colours seem to work harmoniously, there
is a certain conflict that hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Perhaps it is the mystery behind the distorted mask or the rough lines that bring out its shape, but Yusof Ghani had always been taken with masks. It started when he travelled to Sarawak in 1988 and 1991, and being exposed to the Kenyah and Kayan masks inspired him – both artistically and philosophically. It can be used for a cultural statement as well as a personal one, as the artist himself had said that everybody was hiding behind masks, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not. One is a different person in front of friends compared to when one is with his or her boss.
The slowly eroding local cultures, as seen in Sarawak, are also part of the main focus point in this series. There are many faces, personalities and attitudes and culture that were involved in making this piece, therefore it is not meant to look nice, according to the artist himself. This piece makes a statement without too many details, and induces a myriad of thoughts and feelings from the viewers.