Lot 82 | Auction XXXIII


LOT 82


B. N. Sembilan, 1941

Pago – Pago, 1966

Signed and dated “AL 66” on lower left Formerly sold in Art Salon Malaysia in the 1990’s

Oil on board

46 x 44 cm

Provenance Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

RM 380,000 – RM 500,000


Latiff’s works bear a distinctively cosmopolitan outlook in terms of the successful development of a modern abstract visual language and a sustained exploration of world art and literature. It is the Pago Pago series that won him critical acclaim as one of Malaysia and Southeast Asia’s most important modern artists. This series brought about primitive and tribal essences into his works, and the artist recalls his travels to Thailand and Indochina as being the key development and inspiration to his work in this series. He meticulously sketched sacred monuments and nature. It is in this series that he fused stupa-like forms and natural plants and rock forms, focusing on the “energy-movement” of structures rather than their simple depiction. Using rapid strokes, Latiff‘s work conveys spontaneity and the subject matter of interlocking geometric and more organic forms would become recurrent in his practice. 

Born in 1941, Latiff started painting at an early age and by 10 he was holding his first exhibition at Kota Raja Malay School in Singapore, and was dubbed in the local press as the “boy wonder”. He is as well-known a poet as an artist as well. He was trained in art at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste in Germany, Atelier La Courriere in France and Pratt Graphic Centre in America. Among the honours and awards he has received are the Salon Malaysia’s 1968 second prize in Graphic Design and the Malaysian Literary Awards for four years in a row, the National Literary Award in 1984 and 1986 and the Southeast Asian Writers Award in 1984 for writing.