ArtMalaysia Art Tourism Fair (AATF 2014)

Ali Mabuha Rahamad

Ali Rahamad, native of Malaysia and citizen of the world, wends his way through the complexities and conflicts of the modern world with labyrinthine skeins of pigment.  Emerging from a humble village of rubber tappers, he displayed precocious artistic gifts, carving novel wood and stone sculptures even before adolescence.
 
Ali’s art has always been predicated on the urgent need for a healing of the injured environment and its human fallout. His extraordinary work deserves to be better known, especially as a revelation of his insightful intelligence and passionate defiance of social injustice and needless, catastrophic wars.
 
For Ali the birds represent freedom and peace, and restore harmony to the troubled world.
 
However much that world has changed over the course of the last century, the new millennium finds artists like Ali Rahamad hard at work in his solitary effort to engage critical issues of self-, cultural, and national identity.  His work challenges the prevailing stereotype of the apolitical artist, and he has shown great courage in his grappling with some of the more pressing concerns of the day and protesting the oppressive conditions that exist under the cloak of patriotic rhetoric and hollow ideals. He has stripped away the veil of this rhetoric to expose the wellsprings of tyranny in vivid and unforgettable imagery.  At the same time, he has also made an effort to tap into the mystical links between human beings and the natural environment, promoting a more spiritualized, and thus more universal, vision of painless progress attended by life and peace instead of discord and death.

Al Biome, art historian, professor at the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and author of A Social History of Modern Art, Vols. 1 & 2.