Description: Ahmad Hassan painted mostly ordinary rural folk during the 1960s, at work and at play, as exemplified by his three works in the collection of the National Art Gallery Malaysia namely Kasih Sayang (1959), Gadis-Gadis Nelayan (1960) and Menjirat Jaring (1960). The coarse stumpy feet of the woman in the picture with slightly disheveled white hair match the sparse surroundings of wooden-panelled wall. Even her hands are large, suggesting one who eked an existence by doing laborious jobs. She seems to be sitting on the floorboard next to the steps of her raised atap-roofed house, sorting over something on the basket, although the title, From Hand To Mouth, may suggest that she is partaking food from the close-hatched oval basket, which doubles as a plate. Or probably, it refers to working hard (with hands) to earn a living to feed one’s family. Ahmad Hassan is one of the founding members of the Angkatan Pelukis SeMalaysia (APS), previously known as Majlis Kesenian Melayu, formed in 1956. APS, set up by Dato’ Hoessein Enas based on a similar coterie he founded in Indonesia, started the figurative tradition among Malay artists before the Islamic Revivalism spurred by the rise of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeiny in the mid-1980s and the Islamisation of the education system. Islam prohibits images of sentient beings although the Qu’ran does not explicitly prohibit the depiction of human figures, only if it smacks of idolatory. The APS flourished at the time of outstanding figurative artists such as Hoessein Enas, Idris Salam, Mazeli Mat Som, Zakaria Noor, Yusof Abdullah, Mohd Salehuddin and Sabtu Mohd Yusof. Ahmad Hassan was a director of the Information Department in Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur.
Dimensions: 90cm x 58cm
Artist or Maker: AHMAD HASSAN
Medium: Oil on canvas laid on board
Provenance: Private collection, Selangor
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