Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
c. 1950s

In this idyllic landscape, a group of farmers work hard, sowing paddy. The undiluted, clean colours of the painting convey a sense of freshness and openness - the vast skies are clear, and a crisp mirror-image of the quintessential wooden kampung house is reflected in the still water-logged fields. The artist was adept at blending his colours, using the wet-on-wet technique, which refers to the technique of applying fresh paint onto a wet surface. Over the span of 35 years, A. B. Ibrahim produced many such naturalistic watercolours, often undated and without a title.

Watercolour on paper
29 x 39 cm
c. 1950s
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© A. B. Ibrahim
About A. B. Ibrahim

Ibrahim Abu Bakar, better known as A. B. Ibrahim (b. 1925-1977, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia) was a self-taught painter and one of the founding members of Persatuan Pelukis Melayu, Malaya (Society of Malay Artists, Malaya), organizing and participating in exhibitions between 1945-1970. In 1946, he established Warna Art studio at Pekan Rabu with co-founders A. J. Rahman and Saidin Yahaya, sustaining themselves through selling their watercolour works. Ibrahim has shown at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (1962), Ipoh; 4th Malaysian Artists Exhibition (1958) held by the British Council in Kuala Lumpur, and the Penang Trade Fair (1948). Today, his work can be found in prominent public collections such as the National Art Gallery, Kedah State Art Gallery, and Kedah Royal Museum.

Further Readings

  • Semangat dan Jiwa Pelukis Cat Air. 2018. Ismaliza Badarudin.

  • Narratives in Malaysian Art, Vol 1: Imagining Identities. 2012. RogueArt.

  • Senikini #14. 2011. National Visual Arts Gallery.

Learning Section

  • The artist did not give this painting a title. If you were to give it a title what would it be? How important is it that an artist gives their artwork a title?

  • The painting shows some farmers  working in a paddy field. In what ways are their lives idyllic? In what ways are their lives difficult? Do you think the artist is romanticising their lives?