Description: This nude portrait was done during Khalil Ibrahim’s last-gasp days of post-graduate studies in London in 1965. He had just graduated from the St Martin’s School of Art and Design with a NDD (National Diploma in Design) in 1964. Khalil had done several nudes in his seven years there, but this is perhaps the most colourful, in terms of the ‘painterly’ studio backdrops he chose to project. Perhaps, the device was to contrast with the nervous and awkward pose of the nubile girl, probably a student earning extras to help out with her expenses. She has a short pony-tail and a side-profile angle is easier to handle. Perhaps, she felt self-conscious of her small breasts and her Barbra Streisand nose. Young, tall and a bit scrawny (clavicles showing), she was obviously feeling uneasy from the way she grabbed the edge of the stool seat (which had a cloth draped over it) and with her feet crossed at the ankles. The figure is also pushed more to the far right edge to create a tension. If alive, she’s probably in her 70s now and may look back at how her life has turned since then.One of the best southpaws in Malaysian art, Khalil Ibrahim was sent on a Pahang government scholarship to study art at the St Martin’s School of Art and Design in London in 1959-64, for his National Diploma in Design. He was already 30 when he graduated. He spent another year for his post-graduate in 1965. After a very brief teaching stint on his return, he was released from his bond, and he decided to turn full time, and he has been painting fulltime since 1966. In 1970, he was given his first solo at the Samat Art Gallery, of his batiks and watercolours, and he also had a solo exhibition in Indonesia that year. Khalil was a co-founder of the Malaysian Watercolour Society and rose to vice-president once. His two main exhibitions so far were Khalil Ibrahim: The Art Journey in Petaling Jaya (2015), and Khalil Ibrahim: A Continued Dialogue at Galeri Petronas in 2004.
Dimensions: 82cm x 70cm
Artist or Maker: KHALIL IBRAHIM
Medium: Oil on canvas
Provenance: Private collection, Kuala Lumpur
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