Ahmad Zakii Anwar

Ahmad Zakii Anwar (b. 1955), also known as Zakii, is one of the best known artists in Malaysia. His art is lauded for capturing not only city motifs and urban features but also the distinctive psychological dimensions and cinematic quality of these settings. Zakii’s preoccupation with the spiritual or metaphysical aspects of urban life is revealed through his use of icons, symbols and allegories. Metaphors of theatre, performance, and masks have also marked his practice. All of Zakii’s work, from his Michelangelesque male nudes to his photo realistic animals and sensual fruits are steeped in contemplative silence drawn from his research in both Platonic simulacrums and Sufi mysticism. Zakii has become known for his photo-realistic, large-scale charcoal drawings of male nudes: Evoking, in two-dimensions, a visceral reality reminiscent of Michelangelo’s slave sculptures, Zakii’s drawings combine his theological, psychological and cosmological inquiries of the human spirit and body. 

Ahmad Zakii Anwar  was born in 1955 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He holds a degree from the School of Art and Design, MARA Institute of Technology Malaysia. Zakii is an important figure of the Malaysian and South East Asian art scene, where he exhibits in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila. Internationally, Zakii has exhibited in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Seoul, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.  His artwork can be found in many institutional collections including National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur, Bank Negara Malaysia, Khazanah Nasianal Berhad, Singapore Art Museum, National University of Singapore Museum and Long Museum Shanghai among others. The artist also maintains an activist practice supporting AIDS patients, women’s rights and his local community. Zakii currently lives and works in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.