AOTM: Harvesting Girl by Mohd Hoessein Enas

AOTM: Harvesting Girl by Mohd Hoessein Enas

Every month, we feature an artwork from Penang State Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

By Erni Faridatul Husna

Mohd Hoessein Enas, Harvesting Girl, 1993, Pastels on Paper, 46 x 31 cm
Image courtesy of Penang State Art Gallery’s permanent collection

Mohd Hoessein Enas, born in 1924 in Bogor, Java, was the founder of the art society Majlis Kesenian Melayu which later changed its name to Angkatan Pelukis SeMalaysia (APS). Artist-members of APS are known to favour subject matter inspired by local norms, traditions and landscapes. Often implementing Realism when painting, they believe that this choice of subject matter and style will not alienate the everyday person from appreciating their art.

Mohd Hoessein Enas himself often used imagery tied closely to Malay cultural elements. These elements, according to academician Siti Zainon Ismail in her book Imagining Identities: Narratives in Malaysian Art, are rarely separated from the worldview and ethos of being Malay.

Harvesting Girl was created in 1993 using pastels on paper. The material used was easy to get and conveniently carried around, making it easier for quick outdoor sketching. The artist drew his subject on-the-spot, challenging himself to capture as much detail as possible in a short time, mimicking a camera snapping photographs.

The usage of colors is almost realistically representative, focusing on the clothes worn by the subject. The lines are rough and gestural, with the light coming from above. There is little emotion shown by the girl as she is seen focusing to something below her. She probably stopped for a while, giving a chance to the artist to draw her.  However, she probably could not stop thinking about her task at hand.

Further reading:

Shannon, “Dato’ Mohammed Hoessein Enas (1924 – 1995)”, (Oct 13, 2012),, accessed Jan 5, 2020.

Muliyadi Mahamood, Kunang-Kunang Potret Diri Syed Ahmad Jamal (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2000).

Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Beverly Yong with T.K. Sabapathy, Imagining Identities: Narratives in Malaysian Art Volume 1 (Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt, 2012).

Jurnal Perintis Pendidikan Seni Lukis Dan Seni Reka: INTI (Selangor: Fakulti Seni Lukis dan Seni Reka UiTM, 2005).

The Penang State Art Gallery is located at the Dewan Sri Pinang, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah.

Erni Faridatul Husna is an art student from Universiti Sains Malaysia. Also an aspiring writer, she wants to contribute to the art scene by covering local art and artists.