Ahad, 23 Januari 2011

Anuar Rashid

Tak sempat nak membebel, tapi ada sesuatu perihal painter Anuar Rashid... Selamat membaca. Artikel dikebas dari sumber atas talian kerana pada firasat saya, jika tidak "dikebas", tak ramai yang mahu meng-google-nya.


ONE of the most infamous paintings in Malaysian history is in the possession of publisher and writer Datuk Baharuddin Zainal. It is untitled. But back in 1978, it made history for reasons beyond artistic merits alone.

Artist Redza Piyadasa bought the painting, blacked out three- quarters of it, and wrote these words: "1. After buying this "oil painting" by Anuar Rashid for RM130, I decided to black out most of it. 2. This Piyadasa 'art proposition' is now offered for sale at RM500."
Back then, Piyadasa was one of the ideologues of the art movement of the 1970s. Some would argue he has little patience for "aberrations" in the local art scene. Interestingly, Piyadasa, too, was an experimenter and an uncompromising artist. So what he did to Anuar's work was, to say the least, baffling to most people, or to quote an art critic at the time, merely "another artistic expression" albeit a notorious one. Call it desecration of art.

Naturally the artist community was furious. Anuar was 20 then, struggling to make his mark as a painter. He wasn't sure what was happening and what it meant to him.

Piyadasa later became one of Malaysia's best known artists, critics and art historians. He had served as a member of the board of trustees of the National Art Gallery of Malaysia and a member of the Acquisition Board of the Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka City, Japan.

He will be remembered for his studies on modern Malaysian and Asian art. He has published numerous essays and books on the subject. Three of his best known books are Modern Artists of Malaysia, Rupa Malaysia: Meninjau Seni Lukis Moden Malaysia and Masterpieces From the National Art Gallery of Malaysia.

He, too, had his moment of infamy. When he held a joint exhibition with Sulaiman Isa, entitled "Mystical Reality", someone pointed at his works and asked, "Is this art?

What he did later at one corner of the Sudut Penulis (Writers' Corner) of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) will enter the history books as the most ludicrous act ever witnessed in any art exhibition: He urinated.

The world of paintings was at its most robust in the 70s.

Anuar was one of many young artists drawn to Kuala Lumpur. He was born in Langgar, Kedah. At 15, he almost died after being bitten by a cobra. He joined the School of Art and Design at the Institut Teknologi Mara (now UiTM) in 1975.

When he came to KL, art galleries were mushrooming. Artist communities were in abundance. DBP was providing the impetus for the development of literature, culture and the arts. The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports back then was the patron of various artist movements.

One of these was Anak Alam (Sons of Nature) which adopted the late Ismail Zain of Kompleks Budaya Negara and the late Usman Awang of DBP as their godfathers. Ismail allowed them to reside in an old bungalow outside the complex (opposite Padang Merbok).

It was an artists' colony unlike any other. Initially, it was started by painters and poets like Latiff Mohidin, Mustafa Ibrahim, A Ghafar Ibrahim and Siti Zainon Ismail. It was there that Latiff nurtured his "Pago-pago" painting series.

It was bustling with activities - exhibitions, workshops, poetry readings. Troubadours and seniman were attracted to Anak Alam, and Anuar was one of them.

Anak Alam became synonymous with freedom of expression, experimentation and the bohemian way of life. No, they were not hippies. The penghulu of Anak Alam, Mustafa (Bang Tapa) ensured they conformed to rules and regulations while in the compound (read: We're Anak Alam. No free sex please).

Anuar made his impression soon after. In 1976, one of his works was exhibited as part of the "Young Contemporaries" paintings at the National Art Gallery. At ITM, he had his fair share of problems with lecturers found him too "experimental" or introvert. His paintings, to quote him, "never passed the lecture theatres". Instead, he spent hours in his studio without attracting the attention of his supervisors. He graduated nonetheless in 1979.

To prove his worth, he won second place in the coveted Salon Malaysia Awards 1979, beating many of his lecturers who participated. He held solo exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Johor Baru and Penang. In 1981, he was one of the youngest painters to decorate the walls of the National Art Gallery in the auspicious exhibition entitled "Twenty Five Years of Malaysian Art".

It was Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat of Penang who actually discovered him back in the late 70s. It was through his initiative that Anuar was given the opportunity to exhibit his earlier works overseas.

Lim was instrumental in securing him Starr Foundation Fellowship Programme organised by the Asian Council of New York in 1986. His foray into the international art scene started in 1980 when one of his paintings was selected in the Contemporary Asian Art Show in Fukuoka.

Sometime in 1983, Anuar "disappeared". He surfaced in Romania, Italy, Russia, Yugoslavia and France. "I was searching for something," he said. "Perhaps my lost soul."

He came back in 1986, "trying hard to come to terms with myself". He did a mural for Pasar Seni entitled "Wind, Water and Fire" as a tribute to Kuala Lumpur. He then left for his home State and has resided there ever since.

Many years ago, he left about 20 of his best paintings ("almost my life history") to a friend. Due to carelessness, the paintings were destroyed. He was devastated. But the friend, who later became a corporate titan, did try to mend the rift.

"I have survived a cobra bite, endured the pain of my painting being blacked out and some of my finest paintings destroyed," he told me. "I have to start afresh. And to look for a new beginning."

1 ulasan:

  1. terima kasih kerana berkongsi karim-yang-sibuk.

    ayat last dia menarik.