Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) presents new works on paper by Malaysian artist Zakii. Amongst the frenzy of installation, conceptual and new media art, Zakii’s new work is modern in the classical tradition. Created during a residency at STPI in February 2005, the works are a continuation of Zakii’s interest in a universal representation of human nature. They include powerful portrayals of the classical human figure, portraits of the Mak Yong northern Malay performers and images of Buddha.
The exhibition features over 40 works in total. The majority are monoprints derived primarily from copper plate etchings. Using variations in colour and texture, the same copper plate etching presents different moods and intensities. The works have the luminosity and stillness typical of Zakii’s work. By contrast, the smaller number of paper pulp works demanded a very different method. Zakii found himself using a drip technique to form his images, even the contours of the human face. This more expressive, natural approach represents a liberating break from his more controlled style.
Zakii has always been intrigued by Man’s inner nature and his relationship with the outer, physical self, and sees the ‘body being an expression of the soul.’ In the large etchings of the male nude, the figures are reminiscent of Old Master drawings yet charged with a spiritual power that makes them immediate and current. In the smaller etchings of the Mak Yong, Zakii portrays the ‘masks’ we put on every day, hiding our inner true selves.
Zakii is the first Malaysian artist to be invited onto STPI’s Visiting Artists Programme (VAP). Born Ahmad Zakii Anwar on 31 March 1955 in the southern Malaysian state of Johor, he received his formal art training at the School of Art and Design, MARA Institute of Technology. He lives and works in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He has exhibited extensively in Asia, with solo shows in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Hong Kong.