Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
The Boundaries
The Boundaries

Ruzaika Omar Basaree is a Malaysian artist whose works were fundamental to the development of the Malay Revivalist art wave that emerged during the eighties in Malaysia.  Through her work, the artist hoped to revive an appreciation for local visual art traditions and sought to incorporate visual motifs and traditions from her Malay heritage whilst drawing from Islamic aesthetic values. The Boundaries exemplifies Basaree’s predominant focus on the artistic tradition of seni kerawang in her practice, a wood-carving tradition that originated in the state of Terengganu. On the front face of the woodblock, floral motifs commonly found in such as the bunga lawang (star anise) and the bunga pecah lapan (eight-petal flower) traditional Malay craft are carved and repeated horizontally across the composition’s middle section as a sequential geometrical pattern painted in yellow. Surrounding this section are motifs of perforated carvings, wind lattice, mountain/crown carvings, corner/squirrel carvings, sky-pointing carvings, duck tail carvings, ornate widow wall carvings, kelarai wall carvings, pendulum carvings and gates, arranged according to mathematical principles of translation, rotation and reflection. The arrangement of the motifs are fundamental to Ruzaika Omar’s practice, as an artist and researcher interested in the Malay philosophies of beauty and divinity contained in geometry and art. 

244 x 122 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Ruzaika Omar Basaree
About Ruzaika Omar Basaree

Ruzaika Omar Basaree (b. 1948, Penang, Malaysia) was born in George Town, Penang. She was inspired to create her 3D painting “Dungun Siri II” when she was living in Dungun, a town in Terengganu located in the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. She has contributed actively to the visual arts scene as an artist, a researcher and an academic. Her art is based on the concept of Malay Beauty which is rooted in the philosophy of traditional Malay woodcarving. 


Further Readings

  • Ahmad Hakim Abdullah, Yuhanis Ibrahim & Mohammed Iqbal Badaruddin, “Malay and Islamic Traditions Elements through the Paintings of Mastura Abdul Rahman, Ruzaika Omar Basaree and Haron Mokhtar”, Jurnal Arkeologi Malaysia, April 2021, Vol. 34, No.1, 15- 27.

  • Liza Marziana Mohammad Noh, Abdul Rauf Ridzuan, Nurkhazilah Idris, Tengku Intan Suzila Tengku Sharif and Khairunnisa Mohd Abdul Ghani, “The Malay Identity in Malaysian Women’s Paintings”, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 8(10), 63–72.

  • Rahim, R. S. @ A., & Alim, M. M, “Symmetry Analysis in Design of Traditional Malay Paintings through Principle of Repeating Patterns”. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 11(9), 2021, 830–841.