Lot 89 | 27 November 2022



LOT 89


B. Johor, 1950

Siri Tari III, 1984-85 (Washington Series)

Signed and dated “Yusof Ghani, Siri Tari III, 1984”on the verso.
Painted at the Catholic University Washington.
Exhibited at Anton Gallery Washington, USA for Yusof Ghani’s Inaugural Solo Exhibition in 1984.

Oil on canvas

163 x 219 cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

RM 250,000 – 550,000

Yusof Ghani, born in 1950 in Johor, is a Malaysian painter, sculptor, writer, professor and curator and an art collector himself. His career spans over three decades which has produced a very diverse series of artworks dealing with Southeast Asian motifs with an Abstract Expressionist approach. His works blend painting and drawing into a visual entity pleasing to the eye of its beholder.

During Yusof’s master’s programme in Catholic University, Washington DC, he had to produce a series of cultural paintings for his thesis. This was when he turned to his roots and found a dance dubbed ‘mak yong’ that inspired his thesis. The ‘mak yong’ dance is a dance-drama performed by women for the royal court. It was deemed as a subtle message of the people to the king. Enthused by the ‘mak yong’, the Tari series was born and became his artistic platform for social commentaries such as the imbalance in Malaysian society, between the rich and poor as well as the powerful and the powerless. Initially, Yusof’s Tari series was somewhat a literal interpretation of women dancing, subsequently progressing into an expressionistic nature, particularly the American expressionism. Even though he uses figures as his reference, it slowly developed into linear strokes and became very ambiguous. The technique of painting morphed into an aggressive, spontaneous and a dialogue with the painting. It allowed Yusof to be more free in expressing himself and thoughts.

Yusof Ghani’s Tari Series revolves around social remarks, and until this day, remains as his most popular and coveted series. In this series, he uses dance paintings to portray human behaviour and to experiment with lines, movement and colour. Despite how elegant this painting of dancing looks, it was never intended to be graceful. The lines and sketches on this artwork were executed freely and spontaneously in a frenzied and haphazard manner. “Life is sometimes like dancing – we move about with no purpose but we get lots of pleasure out of it,” said Yusof.