The best kind of art is the one which makes you wonder, “What’s the story behind this?” It is also what Khairudin Zainudin’s work of art does not lack of.
“A lot of people think line drawings are just supplement,” said the 27-year-old, with enthusiasm in his eyes. He is making “lines” the subject of intense exploration and revealing human spirits along the way.
2015 saw a perfect start for Khairudin, our home-grown artist whom is now under global spotlight. He humbly considered himself lucky in the game of ‘nasib’ (fate), slowly getting the puzzles solved. Last year, he represented G13 gallery, a space with reputation of promoting emerging artists at Art Taipei 2014 and Art Stage Singapore 2015. With new identity (a father) and new heights in his career, he’s definitely crossing into new territories.
He is down to earth, sincere and unpretentious; he is real. Unlike the artists you know, his world is more ordinary, more accessible. He works from real life, with a real set of skills. Known for sketching a myriad of movements and finding the sweet spot in between calmness and chaos, as you may assume, he is highly observant. The portraits are intriguing; they are almost alive.
His favourite pastime involves capturing the little idiosyncrasies in public places and moments you didn’t think was important. The said activity is taken place at local kopitiam, alfresco-styled mamak and inside public transports. People watching and sketching have birthed a solid career for him.
His art is there to deliver us the message of the ever popular otherwise overused latin sayings ‘Carpe Diem’ — seize the day. It is a documentary of lived experience everyday.What has transcribed from his umpteeth sketches in the journals are the laidback-titled 175 × 155cm canvas pieces — Early Morning Wanderer (2014), Hangout during the Rainy Season (2014), Thinking of Something (2014), Mat Ju Wasting Time (2014), Boring For Waiting (2014) and so forth.
But Khairudin also stood for something else. Born and bred in Kelantan, that’s how Zainudin describes his upbringing. The themes of alphas and Kelantan heritage (gasing, wayang kulit and gompang) are omnipresent in his work. Through some of his graphite sketches, he is redefining the notion of Kelantanese and what that means. As a young man who stays true to his roots and attempt to bring heritage and culture to the fore through his work, can be quite a scarcity among the Millennials today.
Perhaps John F. Kennedy was right when he said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” Malaysian art scene is about to experience a period of renaissance.
We can hardly wait. ◆
Gallery credit: G13 Gallery. All rights reserved.