Description: These four caricatures are like an ‘Empat SeKawan’. The appellations of the same moustachioed person, are said by Datuk A. Samad Said to resemble the Indonesian art icon Affandi, Zulkifli Dahalan’s idol. If so, then it is a monologue, as Zulkifli’s figures are shown either in a dialogue or monologue. What is it that is ‘logue-ed’, however, will never be known. They are like the ‘bare-forked-animal’ characters straight out of Zulkifli’s magnum opus, Separate Reality: One Day In A Forbidden Land (Realiti Berasingan: Satu Hari Di Bumi Larangan, 244cm x 366cm), only in a small microcosm and a more intimate space. But if it can be called any consolation at all, they are all wearing shorts, to hide their aurat (private parts). Witty and playful, the legendary Zulkifli Dahalan, who died young, rails against materialism and hypocrisy in his works, which is against the trend of works of the Nanyang and the Post-May 13 1969 disorientation. Yusoff ‘Volkswagen’ Osman presented helpful insights into Zulkifli’s oeuvre by throwing two names: 1) Carlos Castaneda, who wrote a lot about hallucinations and 2) the Flemish artist Peter Bruegel the Elder, not his son. Zulkifli was given a major posthumous show organised by the National Art Gallery Malaysia from May 9 to July 2, 2017.Zulkifli Dahalan is without doubt one of the most phenomenal artists to have made a big impact in his short 25 years of existence. He is self-taught and one of the founding members of Anak Alam. His works have been variously described as “naïve, Neo-expressionist and surrealistic”. It was in the 1970s that ‘Jo’, as Zulkifli is known to his friends, started making a huge impact. In 1973, he won a Special Award in the Man And His World exhibition, and in 1974, he was the Best Artist in the inaugural Young Contemporary Artists (Bakat Muda Sezaman) competition. In April 1974, he had an unusual two-man show with Yusoff in the open Taman Jaya in Petaling Jaya. He had a stint as “resident artist” together with fellow Anak Alamist Mustapa Ibrahim under the Indonesian artist Mozes Misdy, in Medan, Sumatra. During the 1970s, he started travelling to Europe, Jakarta and Bangkok. He was resident artist of the Angkatan Pelukis SeMalaysia in 1973-1974.
Dimensions: 27cm x 20cm
Artist or Maker: ZULKIFLI DAHLAN
Medium: Ink on paper
Date: c. 1970s
Provenance: Private collection, Selangor
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