Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Mixed media on paper
40 x 27.5 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Syed Ahmad Jamal
About Syed Ahmad Jamal

Born in Johor, Syed Ahmad Jamal (1929 - 2011) is considered a pioneer of the abstract expressionist movement in Malaysia. An all-encompassing artist, art educator, arts administrator, writer and cultural observer, his immense contributions to the nation’s development of modern art spanned over four decades.. He was awarded the Sultan Ibrahim scholarship to study architecture at the Birmingham School of Architecture (1950-1951) and later studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art in London (1951-1955). He then spent a year at the Institute of Education, University of London studying art education from 1955 to 1956. In 1963, he was awarded a Fulbright grant to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, specialising in sculpture. He left again for the United States in 1973 to obtain a Masters in Art History from University of Hawaii, Honolulu and studied Philosophy of Islamic Art in Harvard University, USA. Upon his multiple returns, he taught at the Specialist Teachers’ Training Institute for more than ten years, where he was subsequently appointed Principal of the Institution. He later served as Director, Culture Centre, University of Malaya and then as Director, National Art Gallery from 1983–1991. He is the only visual artist to date to be awarded the accolade of Seniman Negara (National Artist Laureate).