Every month, we feature artwork from Penang State Art Gallery’s permanent collection.
By Rebecca Yeoh
P. Ramlee (1929 – 1973), had a special relationship with the entertainment industry: he was a singer, actor, musician, composer, producer, and scriptwriter. Beyond this, he was a man of curiosity and ambition—with the courage to realise his dreams.
This rectangular (100cm x 71cm) portrait by Aris Aziz crystalizes what seems to be an important but private moment from P. Ramlee’s life. The actor seems to be in the midst of deep thought or on the cusp of conceiving his next idea.
Centred on the canvas, P. Ramlee is vividly painted with smooth tones and strokes. The light falls directly on his face. The tiny wrinkles painted by Aris Aziz suggest P. Ramlee’s level of maturity and focus as a Malaysian entertainment legend.
Behind the subject, the light hues of red and blue are suggestive of the colours of the ‘Jalur Gemilang’. The softness of the background creates more focus on P. Ramlee himself.
Aris Aziz is well-known within and beyond Malaysia as an acclaimed portrait artist. It seems that one talented Malaysian has successfully painted another talented icon of Malaysian TV and music.
Rebecca Yeoh is a curator and writer. She graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia and King’s College London. With a Certificate in Curatorial Practices, Rebecca has curated in Penang and Venice.