B. Kelantan, 1934
Grand Old Palace, Kota Bharu, 1956
Signed and dated “Khalil Ibrahim 5.12.56” on lower left
Oil on canvas
34 x 50 cm
Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur
Illustrated on page 86 of “KHALIL IBRAHIM The Art Journey” exhibition book
Published in 2015 by KL Lifestyle Art Space
This was a piece that was done to commemorate that time in his life, a time that influenced him, his life and ultimately his art. Executed and completed on-site, there are two paintings by Khalil that are of the same palace. This villagescape showcases the beauty of nature and the architecture surrounding a palace compound. Rather innocent and upfront, this historical piece was a showcase of Khalil’s skills on canvas, as well as the beautiful landscape in Kota Bharu, of the most important palace in Kelantan. Captured here is the Istana Balai Besar, which was built in 1840 by the orders of Sultan Mohamed II. the Istana Balai Besar replaces the old palace, Istana Kota Lama along the Sungai Kelantan (Kelantan River) as the Sultan of Kelantan’s new administrative centre (then).
Since the palace was erected, the town where the Istana Balai Besar is located has been named Kota Bharu (New Town) and later became the state capital of Kelantan. The palace stands proudly, surrounded by a fort within an area that covers over 1627square metres. This beautiful wooden structure is made of timber provided with courtesy from the people of Ulu Kelantan and Pasir Puteh.
Khalil Ibrahim graduated from the prestigious St. Martin’s School of Art & Design, United Kingdom in 1964. Thereafter, he became a full-time artist and has been so for fifty years now. He has held solo and group exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Switzerland, with most of his works center around figures and are heavily influenced by East Coast fishermen and women.