Analysing Ali – Life Through Artistic Lens

“I get inspiration from daily observation of life for my artwork,” says Ali Nurazmal Yusoff who is set to present ReALISM, a unique study of the progression of Malaysian art at Art Stage Singapore this month.

“I tell a story through my painting as a performer and main act through my art,” explains this Mara University of Technology (UITM) Fine Art graduate who was at the institution from 1996 to 2000 and who has been a professional artist for 20 years.

“I discovered my love for art when I was nine. I started brushing up on my skill and imitated renowned cartoonist Datuk Lat. I have taken part in many art and drawing competitions since my schooldays,” says the self-taught artist of his early years.

“I was born in Penang and grew up in Terengganu. During the early 90s, I didn’t have much reference. At that time, my only reference was Majalah Gila-Gila and a magazine called Fantasy both produced by Creative Enterprise. In Terengganu, I followed water colour artists such as Mak Zain and Chan Fee Ming. I also had the opportunity to know them through my father, Mohd Yusoff Jaafar, as they were all friends. Most of my family members are musically inclined and I’m the only one with the gift of art,” he said.

The 38-year-old has participated in many art competitions globally. Ali’s first win at a young age was a main motivating factor for him to win the Switzerland Olympic Art Competition when he was 15. He has carved a name for himself with his canvas oil works which focus on abstract and figurative paintings.

Ali is an eclectic performer. He sits and watches from afar, observing how each piece interacts with the other. He is more than an artist. He has been an athlete, a vocalist, performing also in dance and drama, and his work embodies these elements. His pieces are loud, with musical elements, so to speak.

“I express myself through art. I am very much an observational person. I observe Malaysian culture with its historical context. In my initial years, I produced humorous pieces and put myself into it due to my artistic background. All this discipline comes to play and I transfer the attitude, character and others into my art work. My art represents myself,” says Ali.

In 2012, he introduced ALISM – a self-coined term describing himself in his daily life – and it was mainly about self-exploration and rendering realism art. “After the conclusion of ALISM for three years, I continued to perfect the techniques of abstraction, lines, space, perspective and movement; before combining them into a winning formula. The new style in painting forms can be seen in my latest artworks.”

Ali has come a long way employing interesting techniques of painting dramatic and descriptive movements and forms straight onto canvas without using projectors of sketches.

He takes pride in painting freehand, without gridlines, or a projector, and he does not trace. This is why he needs to be well-prepared, and sure-handed.

“As long as I have been doing art, I have been trying to find myself, find my style and technique. I started imitating. But the works I did seemed static. I did not know how to enhance these images. I kept changing styles, compositions and began putting together things I have discovered into a form most representative of me. I’m inspired by what is around me. I paint what I know, whatever is around me. So I began injecting myself into these paintings,” he says.

The colours Ali chooses are his. Ali’s pieces boast rich colour combinations which are bold and vibrant.

Ali fuses the contemporary art movement in the 90s, and the pop surrealists of the late Nineties together. Being exhibited with Malaysia’s art masters in his teenage years, Ali is a strong reference point for today’s young artists.

Ali is supported by his family. His wife, Wan Fareza, an accountant by profession, is also the woman behind his success as she encourages him to pursue his dream. Ali is also a proud father of five sons, aged between two and 12.

Ali will be the sole Malaysian showcasing his works at the Art Stage Singapore, between Thursday and Sunday, for the ReALISM category.

Showcasing on an international platform, under the banner of Core Design Gallery, is a dream come true for the 38-year-old. He hopes to create a good and lasting impression on visitors. His project, ReALISM, is a rare exploration of Malaysia’s contemporary art history, seen through eyes of the artist.

The gifted artist will display his artistic journey through three parts such as ‘Progression’, showcasing posters, press clippings, old paintings and scrapbook describing his artistic journey, Now, a major quadriptych (a picture or series of pictures painted on four panels) measuring 7×12 feet, Tsunami, which embodies his 20-year foray into abstract and figurative art and Future, giving visitors a sneak preview of the artist’s exciting new explorations.

All in all, the ReALISM project showcases a documentary narrative of Malaysian art history in-part of the effort of providing the public a glimpse into the rare contention and understanding of the seeding and growth in the Malaysian contemporary art industry.

Being exhibited with Malaysia’s art masters in his teenage years, Ali is a good reference point for today’s young artists.

As part of his plans, Ali hopes to reach a higher level and be known as a globally recognised Malaysian artist.



Written by: Sonia Belani

Published by: Life – Malay Mail

Date of Publication: 19th January 2016



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