Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Good Year For The Roses
Good Year For The Roses

In this painting, Anurendra Jegadeva pays tribute to two major cultural figures in Malaysia who passed away in 2007: Loga Arumugam, a founding member of the hugely popular music group the Alleycats, and Redza Piyadasa, a prominent artist and art historian. Both these men were the artist’s personal heroes. While the painting most prominently features Loga and his famous Afro hairdo, Redza is also referenced by his iconic artwork, 13 May 1969, a coffin painted with the Malaysian flag, which is symbolised as a pendant worn around Loga’s neck. The metallic silver background and stencilled roses allude to the mass-produced nature of pop culture.  Blue paint trickles over Loga like tears or raindrops, adding a note of melancholy to his smiling, familiar face. The painting’s title, “Good Year for the Roses” is a reference to a popular ballad first recorded by  country singer George Jones about love and loss, alluding to the grief the artist felt with the passing of these two cultural titans.

Oil on canvas
122 × 91.5 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Anurendra Jegadeva
About Anurendra Jegadeva

Anurendra Jegadeva (b. 1965, Johor) is a prominent artist and writer, currently based in Australia. He obtained his Masters of Fine Arts from Monash University. His works are layered with narratives of identity and place, and incorporate a variety of mediums to produce innovative forms of contemporary portraiture. They reflect his personal responses to the world around him, weaving an autobiographical layer into the complex realities he seeks to capture. He has exhibited extensively in both Malaysia and Australia, as well as around the region. He was one of four Malaysian artists who exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2019. 

Further Readings
Learning Section

  • Describe the composition of this painting. What is the focal point? How has the artist emphasised this element? Is the composition balanced? How has the artist used symmetry in the composition? What colours dominate the composition? How do the colours affect the mood of the painting?

  • Portraiture has been part of the grieving process since Roman times when craftsmen were commissioned to create a death mask by taking a mould of the deceased's face. How does portraiture help in the grieving process? Each culture has rituals and rites which are associated with the grieving process. What rituals do you observe in your culture? Do they help process the sorrow? Do you know the origins of these rituals?

  • The text tells us that the subjects of the painting were heroes of the artist. Who are your heroes? What makes them your heroes? While the artist painted a portrait of Loga Arumugam, he represented his second subject as a symbol. What object would symbolise your hero?