Art Detail | Ilham Gallery

In this work, Ibrahim Hussein’s fine sinuous lines take dominant form. A trademark characteristic of the artist, the rhythmic lines vary in direction and weight, and interlock into an amorphous mass that dominates the centre. Appearing like coloured arteries, they exude fluid, dancing forms of flux and reflux, moving in and out and across each other in a state of seemingly directionless chaos. Underneath this dense vortex of energy, a rectangle delineated in red and white borders runs parallel to the width of the canvas.

Mixed media on canvas
37.5 x 67.5 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Ibrahim Hussein
About Ibrahim Hussein

Ibrahim Hussein (1936–2009) was born in Kedah. He studied at the Nanyang Academy of Art in Singapore and in 1959, won a scholarship to study art at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in London. After completing his studies there, he obtained another scholarship to study at London’s Royal Academy of Arts for three years. In 1968, the artist went to New York as a Fellow of the John D. Rockefeller Fund. In 1970, he became the first Malaysian artist to participate in the Venice Biennale. His work has been included in exhibitions held all around the world including the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Denmark, Japan, Chile, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil, Canada and India. In 1991, the artist and his wife founded the Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation in Langkawi, a non-profit foundation and museum dedicated to the promotion, development and advancement of art and culture.

Source: Art Asia Pacific

Further Readings

  • Ibrahim Hussein: A Retrospective, National Art Gallery Malaysia, 1986

  • IB: A Life - The Autobiography of Ibrahim Hussein, by Ibrahim Hussein, edited by Eddin Khoo, Alia Ibrahim Hussein, Pentas Seni Pusaka, 2010

  • Modern Artists of Malaysia, T.K. Sabapathy, Redza Piyadasa, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1983

Learning Section

  • Look carefully at this image. Describe what you see. Describe the type of lines the artist has used. What colours do you see? How are they placed in the image? What shapes can you recognise? How has the artist used tone? Are there areas which are darker or brighter than others? Are there any patterns or textures in this artwork?

  • What is the mood or atmosphere of this piece? What does this work remind you of? What do you think the artist was thinking when they made this piece?

  • The artist has not given this work a title. Why do artists sometimes choose a title for their work and sometimes leave it untitled? Is a title more important in an abstract piece than a figurative work? If you were to give this work a title what would it be?