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Latif Maulan - An artist on a voyage of self discovery By Gerry Long

Latif Maulan - An artist on a voyage of self discovery 
By Gerry Long

Born in 1974 in the state of Pahang, Malaysia, in the quiet village of Lebu, Latif's early childhood was spent with his family in their bamboo house near a small river. Those early years invoked in him a great love of nature, particularly the Jungle and river where he spent so many happy hours with his family and friends.
It was with the help of two of his sisters that he initially commenced to draw, and not surprisingly his  first drawings reflected his love of the landscape that surrounded him.
He started Primary school in 1981 studying at Skolah Menengah Kebangsaan, Lebu and then continued his education at Skolah Menengah Kebangsaan, Bentong.  Although initially in the Science stream, his keen interest in art soon prompted him to transfer to the Art stream.
He finished high school in 1991, but due to financial constraints, had to forgo further studies at university level. Then followed a somewhat chaotic period…

Danger Ahead

Danger Ahead
By Dennis Chua

Art exhibition Parallel Universe showcases the works of artist Abdul Latif Maulan. The 32-year-old artist from Kampung Lebu in Bentong, Pahang, has been described as a creator of Hitchcock-esque paintings. This is because of the elements of danger in his paintings.

For example, Beware! shows a man reading a newspaper in a playground, with a child's slipper strewn near by. The painting subtly suggests that the man may be a danger to children. Similarly, Toxic Waste shows a warning sign prohibiting hawking as the area is full of barrels apparently filled with toxic waste. However, the background indicates a stall owner who is oblivious to this danger.

In Forest Reserved, an excavator clears a forest reserve despite a sign which prohibits logging on the land proves. Abdul Latif paints stark urban landscapes with themes of alienation as in Ulam Mencari Sambal and homelessness as in Fantasy Dream.

“I first painted images that were a part of my childhood in the village. I began with waterfalls, trees and flowers, things I saw every day,” he said. “After I moved to the city, I began to focus on scenes of city life. As an artist I always want to try something new.”

Upon completing his secondary education, Abdul Latif worked as an advertising designer at a shopping complex in his hometown. During that time, he met his mentor, artist Raja Azhar Idris, who owns Art Case Galleries in City Square, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. He soon became a resident artist of the gallery under Raja Azhar's tutelage, and successfully sold one painting a month to clients.

“I have been to the United States, Australia, Britain, France and Italy and visited many art galleries, including New York's Museum of Modern Art, where I was exposed to the works of Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet,” he said.

He also had the chance to meet talented British artists during a holiday in East Sussex in 2002. “My visits made me realise that artists who lived and worked in the previous centuries differed very little in their desires to depict life.

“They accomplished this without the help of cameras, computers or television. They were able to create masterpieces that are revered around the world,” he said.
Abdul Latif has held many exhibitions starting with his first in Rupa Kata at Pekan Seni in Ipoh, Perak, in 1996. His paintings also adorn the offices and homes of many corporate figures.

( Article from New Straits Times Newspaper, Tuesday 11 July 2006 )


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