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Exquisite art coming up for sale

Sarah Abu Bakar
Sarah Abu Bakar  • 7 min read
Exquisite art coming up for sale
The Edge Auction 2019 has on offer highly desirable and collectible artworks by top Malaysian artists as well as leading contemporary artists from Southeast Asia.
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The Edge Auction 2019 has on offer highly desirable and collectible artworks by top Malaysian artists as well as leading contemporary artists from Southeast Asia.

SINGAPORE (Mar 4): The seventh edition of The Edge Auction will see 105 lots comprising modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks go under the hammer on March 17. The cover lot, Kambing Hitam (2009), is a painting by Malaysian contemporary artist Hamir Soib @ Mohamed and has an estimated price of between RM80,000 ($26,519) and RM150,000.

Measuring 198cm by 300cm, the mixed media on canvas depicts a trio of goats floating in a mountainous landscape. The treatment of the background in layers of bitumen and black oil and acrylic paint in a rectangular layout is reminiscent of Chinese ink-and-wash landscape paintings.

Hamir and fellow founders of the Matahati collective — Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Bayu Utomo Radjikin and Masnoor Ramli Mahmud — presented their artworks in a group exhibition entitled Matahati ke Mata Dunia (Matahati in the Eyes of the World) in Los Angeles, the US, in 2009, the same year Kambing Hitam was painted. Hamir’s experience as a theatre-set artist enabled him to execute large-scale paintings such as this lot but his style of painting has evolved over the years, making Kambing Hitam a desirable work from this period.

Also on offer are three paintings by Matahati co-founder Shukri, entitled Barcode Series: White Haze (1998), Progeny 3 and Progeny 4 (2001).

Progeny 3 and Progeny 4 feature an egg in positive and negative space. Inspired by a bantam breed of chicken called Serama and a lucrative pageant industry revolving around the fowl in Kelantan, where Shukri was born, Progeny is the artist’s response to the local environment. The complexity of the pair of works — a collage on canvas created using layers of silkscreen on fabric — is a feature of Shukri’s early work.

Estimated at between RM18,000 and RM30,000 each, the artworks were created before Shukri’s residency at Rimbun Dahan, where he conceived his celebrated Incubator series. At the end of his residency, he exhibited two installations based on the concept of incubation. As described by Stephanie Ho on Rimbun Dahan’s website, they comprise “structures filled with hundreds of white-and-black plaster eggs, drawing on the yin-yang concept to suggest the inevitably heterogeneous nature of the world. As Shukri puts it, within 100 white eggs, there will be a black egg, and vice versa”.

Established artists

Also up for auction are artworks by veteran artists Khoo Sui Hoe, Jolly Koh, Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir, Tajuddin Ismail and Yusof Ghani.

Khoo’s Lake Merah (2002) was exhibited in his retrospective, The Painted World of Khoo Sui Hoe, at the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery in 2007. Estimated at between RM35,000 and RM50,000, the abstract painting is also featured in the exhibition’s catalogue. An earlier painting, Two by the Sea (1981), with an estimated price of between RM22,000 and RM30,000, gives buyers an opportunity to bid for the artist’s classic rendition of abstract figures.

A Touch of Yellow (1996) by Koh depicts a vibrant abstract landscape in blue, green and yellow with a hint of red. Priced at between RM26,000 and RM48,000, it features the artist’s hallmark gestural brushstrokes in effervescent colours.

Sharifah’s Celebration 18B (2018) comes from an ongoing body of work called Celebration that began in 1996. It depicts a kaleidoscope of colours in several layers to form a floating scene of shapes in various magnitudes. The multi-coloured artwork in Sharifah’s distinctive style is estimated at between RM65,000 and RM75,000.

Assembly I (Wajah Series) (2007) by Yusof was exhibited in a solo exhibition at National Gallery Indonesia in Jakarta in 2010. The show featured works from his Wajah series created since 2006. Illustrating a group of anonymous faces hovering against a backdrop of gestural brushstrokes of bright red and yellow, the enigmatic painting radiates a strong sense of dynamism.

Tajuddin’s Blue Windrift (2001) is an example of the artist’s skilful combination of colour and shape in abstract form. His current body of works — as seen in his recent solo exhibition Ambiguity that featured abstract works in structured geometric shapes — is a departure from his early style of painting, making Blue Windrift a collectible artwork. It is priced at between RM29,000 and RM45,000.


Among the contemporary artists whose iconic works will go under the hammer next month are Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Amron Omar, Noor Mahnun Mohamed, Wong Perng Fey, Chong Siew Ying, Kow Leong Kiang, Tan Wei Kheng and Anthonie Chong.

Ahmad Zakii’s Kecak under the Dark Moon (1994, estimated at between RM60,000 and RM80,000) was created during one of his many visits to Bali. According to the artist, he had traded the painting with its current owner in 1995 in exchange for two Ethiopian swords, owing due to his personal interest in ethno­graphic arms and armour. The owner, a long-time friend, served in the diplomatic corps in Addis Ababa in the late 1970s and acquired the swords for their beauty and craftsmanship.

Ahmad Zakii had experimented with a special oil paint to produce the iridescent quality of Kecak under the Dark Moon to emulate the spiritual notion of the trance ritual.

His fascination with Bali is conveyed through his paintings of the island’s traditional dances, such as Legong, which is also on sale in two sets of sketches estimated at between RM6,000 and RM10,000 for each set.

Jalaini, or Jai as he is popularly known, is represented by one of his early works, Fan Shell. Conceived in New York in 1995 when Jai was completing his master of fine art at Pratt Institute, this work was completed in Kuala Lumpur and displayed in a solo exhibition entitled Lifeform at Gallerie Taksu in 1996.

Noor Mahnun’s Lanterns (2013) depicts a young girl holding a bouquet of Japanese lantern flowers. Standing on a hollowed platform — with a deliberate arrangement of symbolic objects such as a pair of scissors, a glass vase containing three marbles and a pink perfume bottle — the female subject is a portrait of Noor Mahnun’s relative. Also seen in the painting are the artist’s characteristic geometrical shapes that form the floor tiles and shoji doors as well as a figurine of Disney’s Bambi placed at the edge of a table.

Lanterns was displayed in a charity exhibition at the Nalanda Centre in Selangor to raise funds for a documentary on Buddhism. Entitled A Journey of Self Discovery, the show was curated by the late Syed Nabil Syed Nahar of NN Gallery.

Estimated at between RM65,000 and RM75,000, Lanterns is expected to attract the interest of collectors because of its painterly quality and scale. Paintings of this size — 182.5cm by 121.5cm — have rarely been executed by the artist in recent years. Her paintings in her solo exhibition, Disco Lombok Still Life by Noor Mahnun, at The Edge Galerie in 2017 were relatively small.

Alternative media and regional artworks

In this sale, an exciting segment of fabric and batik art will feature works by contemporary artists Azam Aris, Anne Samat and Fauzin Mustafa as well as veteran artists Tay Mo Leong, Lee Long Looi and the late Ismail Mat Hussin.

Nanyang-style artworks will include paintings by Tan Choon Ghee, Tew Nai Tong, Tang Hon Yin, Peter Liew, Lui Cheng Thak, Lee Weng Fatt, Eston Tan, Alex Leong and more.

Also on offer is a diverse selection of regional art, including works by Indonesian artists Jeihan Sukmantoro, I Wayan Sujana (Suklu), Gede Putra Udiyana, Yunizar, Besta Bestrizal, Dedy Sufriadi, Indra Dodi, Harlen Kurniawan; Singaporean artist Anthony Chua Say Hua; Vietnamese artists Thanh Chuong, Nguyen Thanh Binh and Bui Huu Hung; and Myanmar artists Win Pe and Myint Soe.

The Edge Auction 2019 will again offer live online bidding through for its growing international clientele, alongside the conventional absentee and telephone bidding options.

The Edge Auction 2019 will be held at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur at 1pm on March 17. The public can preview the 105 lots at The Edge Galerie in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur from March 7 to 15 (11am to 7pm) and on March 16 (11am to 3pm). The gallery is closed on Sundays and public holidays. To view the auction’s e-catalogue, visit

Sarah Abu Bakar is assistant manager of the Arts + Culture unit at The Edge Media Group

This article appeared in Issue 871 (Mar 4) of The Edge Singapore.

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