Ali Nurazmal Yusoff
Ali Nurazmal Yusoff- participating artist in the GMCA (Great Malaysia Contemporary Art)
Written by : Zena Khan
About the Artist
One of the most prolific mid career contemporary Malaysian artists, Ali Nurazmal creates large-scale paintings that study the effects of Western influences from globalization with a decidedly Asian flavor.
An avid participant of Malaysia’s art scene from a young age, Ali’s natural talent coupled with strong paternal encouragement led him to participate in many art competitions, both locally and internationally. Ali’s first win at a young age was a main motivating factor and he went on to win the Switzerland Olympic Art Competition while still in his teens.
Encouraged by his youthful success, Ali worked on his technical ability and stylistic range, understanding that the ability to express oneself with technical precision in a wide range of mediums would be key to future success as a fine artist. Ali frequented Central Market and there managed to gain the mentorship of Aris Aziz, a portrait artist, and Abdul Ghani Ahmed, a landscape artist. The role of a mentor is key to an emerging artist as the critique of one’s style, technical ability and conceptual thinking is important to push oneself to the next level.
Ali soon learnt that what would distinguish him from an ordinary self-taught artist and a high functioning conceptual fine artist would be his fine art education. Fine art education not only affords a strong technical background but also refines the ability to intellectually think and critically assess how best to express one’s idea and concepts in a signature stylistic manner. In 2000, Ali graduated with a degree in fine art from UITM and the ability to “sum up my knowledge and experiences by reflecting it in my art practices, in search for identity.”
In his search for artistic identity, Ali experimented with various styles, among them realism, expressionist, abstract. The 2006 exhibition Faith, Plurality and Freedom features examples of Ali’s foray into expressionism coupled with abstraction (insert one or two visual slides to illustrate this) The constant experimentation of style was crucial to Ali discovering his own personal signature, which became evident in his first solo exhibit in 2009, Satire in Paint, and thrust Ali into the spotlight of contemporary Malaysian art.
Quite possibly the show stopper at Satire in Paint was the painting Imitation Master- After Caravaggio. Ali perfectly reproduced the famous Cardsharps by Renaissance artist Caravaggio. In this modern version however, Ali includes a self-portrait, standing smugly rubbing his hands together just past the card players, in an almost sinister manner as if he might trick all the participants in the game to ultimately profit. This painting correctly summarises the personality and humour which burst forth from Ali’s canvases, the inclusion of self portraits and expressions that give the audience a strong insight into the artist as a person as well as his views on society.
2012 brought with it Ali’s widely anticipated third solo, Alism. Painstakingly produced over a two year period, Ali fortified the accolades surrounding him as one of the upcoming stars on the Malaysian contemporary art scene with this meticulously painted, thought provoking series that retained the particular brand of humour audiences had come to associate with Ali. Widely touted as the highlight of Alism was the seminal painting Imitation Master- After Caravaggio II. Created over an eight-month period, Ali projected a video of the painting process for Imitation Master- After Caravaggio II alongside the work itself to underline what a momentous task it was, and to create an awareness of the creative process an artist undertakes on committing to creating truly seminal works.
In the competitive landscape that is contemporary Malaysian art today, Ali stands out by producing triple threat works, starting from a well rounded concept which connects to his viewers, flawlessly executing his paintings in a manner that allows his message to be pristinely communicated and finally injecting humour and charm that seduces his audience, leaving them in a state of anticipation for the next statement he wishes to submit.