On 11th June 2015 nineteen Remove and Lower Sixth artists set off from school on a gallery visit. We arrived at the White Cube Gallery at Medini Mall in less than 10 minutes by bus. Thankfully, this trip did not involve immigration or passports which allowed us to arrive at our destination promptly.
The purpose of this art trip was to visit Mr Zakii Anwar’s exhibition entitled “Arang”. “Arang” is the Malay word for “Charcoal”, the exhibition was named “Arang” because he solely used charcoal to create his art. Instead of using the conventional method of drawing with charcoal sticks, he grinds the charcoal into fine powder before using the palm of his hands to apply the charcoal onto the paper.
Born in 1955, Mr Zakii Anwar is very well known for his engaging fine art, not only in Malaysia but in Korea, Hong Kong and the USA. He started as a graphic designer producing advertising campaigns. His graphic designing endeavours have proven to be useful to help him in his artistic efforts.
We managed to satisfy our curiosity during the talk and question and answer session with Mr Zakii Anwar himself. He explained and gave us useful advice regarding his charcoal technique. We managed to snap pictures with Mr Zakii Anwar as well as each receiving an autographed “Arang” catalogue. Afterwards, the group was given time to freely wander around the exhibition recording some observational drawings and taking some photos of their favourite pieces.
The group was captivated by the immense skill exhibited. The drawings were incredibly detailed, so much so, that they were photorealistic. When the group tried using Zakii Anwar’s technique the day after the trip it proved to be extremely difficult to reproduce the same accurate and interesting effects and we all acquired a newfound respect for the charcoal medium and those who are able to use it in such a gifted way.
As we made our way back to school, we had the time to reflect on what a huge once-in-a lifetime opportunity this was. We are incredibly grateful that we had the chance to meet with the one and only Mr Zakii Anwar.
Pin Tham and Eve Hasler