Calligraphy Paintings in Malaysia: Clarification as an Art Tradition

By Nor Azlin Hamidon, D’zul Haimi Md. Zain, Rahmah Bujang and Mariana Janeri.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

From the perspective of history and tradition, the art of calligraphy drawing is seen to co-exist from two distinct traditions of the arts, that of the West and the East. Both traditions converge to form a new phenomenon via the assimilation process of the modern era. The phenomenon led to the formation of an art tradition–a premise both assumed and proven–wherein the form is indicative of the times seen in the light of conflicting cultural and ideological knowledge vis-à-vis Islamic and secular values. However this phenomenon can be seen as an integrative element between various racial entities of early post-modern Malaysia for more than a decade. It also gave rise to the commitment of certain quarters to create a work of art that imbues the Islamic ideology, a reactive alternative to the variety of trends and art forms occurring in Malaysia then and generally viewed as lacking in art philosophy as compared to the Islamic Tawhid philosophy depicted in calligraphy drawings, especially when associated with the holiness and preciseness of its meaning. To some artists, the art of calligraphy painting is a preferred choice because of the fulfilment in depicting mature and deep spiritual experience. All these observations led to the need to investigate the calligraphy artworks in Malaysia more seriously in the form of a proper research endeavour, in order to ensure that its history as an art form be given due attention as one that is precise and able to promulgate the Malay national identity.

Keywords: Calligraphy, Contemporary Painting, Art Tradition, Malaysia

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.157-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 23.015MB).

Dr. Nor Azlin Hamidon

Senior Lecturer, Department of Malay Art, Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

She was born in 1971. Completed the first degree in 1995 at the University of Malaya, from the Academy of Islamic Studies. She further her studies in the field of Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London at Master level in 1998. She is now completing her PhD studies at Universiti Technologi MARA, from the faculty of Art and Design. She is currently holding the post as the Head of Malay Art Department, Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya. Her interests are basically related to visual art, craft and calligraphy. She published a book entitled Introduction to Malay Art in 2000, and also numerous articles or chapters in journals, books and monographs. There are also various papers presented at national and international seminars and conferences, such as “Islamic Calligraphy in Malaysia” at IOV Conference (Folk Art) 2004, in Tianjin, China; “The Digital Management of Arts of Buton Island”, at Conference of Buton Island Research 2007, Indonesia and “The Digitisation of Malay Arts: University Malaya’s Experience” at Istanbul, Conference of Future and E-Learning, 2008.

Prof. D’zul Haimi Md. Zain

Professor, Department of Liberal Studies (FSSR), Department of Post Graduate (FSSR), Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Rahmah Bujang

Universiti Malaya, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

Mariana Janeri

Universiti Malaya, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia


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