Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
My Daughters Tatie, Aida, & Nana
My Daughters Tatie, Aida, & Nana

Family life constitutes an important aspect of Hoessein Enas’ art. He painted numerous portraits of his family members. In the early years of his arrival in Malaya, as soon as he was able to secure his livelihood, he sent for the rest of his family who were at that time still living in Medan. Because his studio was located at home, Hoessein Enas’ artistic pursuit was closely connected to his family environment. His children fondly recall spending many hours of their childhood years in his studio with their beloved father. These moments of tenderness are vividly captured in the paintings and sketches featured in this section.

Oil on canvas
122 x 91 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Hoessein Enas
About Hoessein Enas

Hoessein Enas (1924 - 1995) came to Malaya from Indonesia in 1947. His artistic stature as a portrait painter in the academic realist style grew in prominence following Malaya’s independence in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963, a country he came to identify as home. In 1956, he was the founding member of Angkatan Pelukis Semenanjung which was an important force in the development of artistic activity in the country around Independence. In 1963, Shell Ltd. commissioned him to travel throughout the country to produce a series of drawings and paintings to commemorate the formation of Malaysia. In 1990, Hoessein Enas was conferred ‘Royal Portrait Painter’ status by HRH The Sultan of Selangor.

Further Readings

  • Dato’ Hoessein Enas: From His Personal Collection, Rahel Joseph and Nur Hanim Khairuddin, eds., Kuala Lumpur: ILHAM, 2015.

  • Menemui Moderniti: 40 tahun Angkatan Pelukis Se-Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur: Balai Seni Lukis Negara, 1998.

  • Tan Chee Khuan, The Life and Art of Dato’ M. Hoessein Enas, Penang Art Gallery, 1999.

Learning Section

  • Look carefully at the girls in the painting.  Look at their expressions, their clothes and their body language. Can you tell anything about their personality? We know that this is a painting of the artist's three daughters. How close is their relationship with each other? How good is their relationship with their father? What clues does the artist give us to answer these questions? Apart from describing what a person looks like, can a portrait tell us anything else about the sitter?

  • Do you think the artist painted his daughters from life or worked from photographs? Did they all pose together or seperately?  When his daughters were posing for him, what did they talk about, if anything? What was the atmosphere in the room? Did the girls enjoy posing for their father? Did they do it often?