Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Hulubalang Kera
Hulubalang Kera

The artist Nik Zainal Abdin was one of the first modern artists to highlight the traditional artform of Wayang Kulit. In this detailed watercolour, he renders various stylized puppet figures two-dimensionally, including that of Hulubalang Kera which is inspired by Hanuman, one of the central characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana. As a child, Nik Zaiinal was taken by his puppeteer father to enjoy Wayang Kulit performances all over the East Coast Malaysia and his works, many of which are inspired by the characters of the Wayang Kulit, reflect his early exposure to the Malay traditional art form.

Watercolour on paper
54 x 74 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Nik Zainal Abidin
About Nik Zainal Abidin

Nik Zainal Abidin Nik Mohamed Salleh (b. 1933 - 1993, Kelantan, Malaysia) was a self-taught artist. He is a pioneer in adapting the traditional artforms into the realm of modern fine arts. Despite not having a formal education in Fine Arts, he was commissioned by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman to design the “Kunci Ibu Kota”, the royal mace (cokmar) and throne of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and a mural on the West wing of the National Museum, Malaysia. He worked as an illustrator at the National Museum, and was part of the influential Wednesday Art Group founded by Peter Harris. He won 1st Prize in the Merdeka Independence Art in 1967 and represented Malaysia in the World Expo in Osaka, Japan, in 1970.

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