17 March 2018
Splendours of Love - The Art of Syed Thajudeen
Love was undeniably the one great inspiration behind Syed Thajudeen Shaik Abu Talib’s art. From the artworks displayed, one cannot miss and be amazed by his deep and all-encompassing love for art, Indian history, culture and tradition, homeland, nature, literature, philosophies and religious belief. Equally amazing is his true dedication to art and his perseverance in the pursuit of art – a journey that spans over five decades.
The Eternal Love between Puteri Gunung Ledang and Hang Tuah (Malacca Sultanate series)
Oil on canvas
183 x 762 cm
The Royal Barge (Malacca Sultanate series)
Oil on canvas
183 x 450 cm
“Splendours of Love – The Art of Syed Thajudeen”
Born in 1943 in southern India, Syed Thajudeen Shaik Abu Talib is a prominent Malaysian artist. He spent his formative years in Penang and obtained a post diploma in Fine Arts in 1974 from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Madras, India.
Instead of conveniently going with the flow, he chooses to stay true to his own ideals. He actualises his ideals into action to create awareness in the Malaysian art scene. He is a silent current that brings people back to the prime point, to respect our traditions and love our homeland.
Syed Thajudeen is also immensely erudite about histories, folklores and legends and hence has been able to create great works from these themes. For example, the magnificent Merdeka series, the artwork Eternal Love between Hong Tuah and Puteri Gunung Ledang depicting the epic love tale of Hang Tuah and Puteri Gunung Ledang who are legendary figures in Hikayat Hang Tuah and Sejarah Melayu, which took him three years to complete, as well as the Malacca Sultanate series which depicts Prince Parameswara’s founding of Malacca and his travels. Syed Thajudeen has seamlessly depicted the characters, events and scenes with such expressive effects that he did not only manage to capture the appearances but also gives articulation to historical essence.
The artist’s prodigious passion for Indian art and local cultures is evident throughout his works. Since the day he started painting, his love for the colours of cultures has only grown stronger. This is especially obvious in his works surrounding traditional subjects such as in Cheongsam and Odissi. Tradition is the source of all endeavours as well as the yardstick for advancement. The artist’s soul is rooted in the great ground of tradition, while infusing new ideas to break through old boundaries, bringing in a fresh air of “modern traditions.” He has displayed to the people of this modern age the importance of focusing on the present in order to move forward with confidence and courage!
It is his desire to bring people back to the prime point, to respect our traditions and love our homeland that formed the core objective in curating this solo exhibition – to showcase the artist’s patriotic spirit, the artist’s great love for traditions and the artist as an enlightened thinker. His latest collection of works is described as an oasis of his heart. The works are depictions of his devotion and realisation of his spiritual belief that all humankind will eventually return to a great and profound spiritual state. Just as celebrated in his art piece, Ka’aba I, when a connection between humankind and spirituality is formed, a metaphysical effect will arise and open up to a deeper and broader dimension. In this collection, Syed Thajudeen expressed his realisation from the perspective of religion, conveying a deep sense of devotion and nobility. His artworks are full of colour, aroma and sound, absorbing viewers into these spaces, as if time-travelling through the magic of his art.
Since the very beginning, art has always been based directly or indirectly on religious beliefs. The artists’ feelings for their religions and art are coherent. After all, they both share a similar raison d’être which is humanity. In fact, this is why art and religion have always been good partners.
Syed Thajudeen has proven boldly through his art that “tenacity is power.” Based on a firm and noble starting point, he has progressed steadily. Over a long time, he deepened and polished his works. His tenacity is fuelled by his sense of mission towards art and society.
In March 2018, Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) was proud to hold Syed Thajudeen solo exhibition entitled “Splendours of Love – The Art of Syed Thajudeen” showcasing his tenacity and unwavering spirit in his pursuit of art and perseverance in staying true to himself.
Syed Thajudeen (1943-) was born in India and later migrated to Penang along with his family. In 1974 at the Madras College of Arts and Crafts in India (currently known as the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Madras), he completed his 6-year post diploma in fine art. After returning to Malaysia, he worked as a fine art lecturer for two years at the Institute of Technology MARA (currently known as Universiti Teknologi MARA).
The artist’s stylisation at his early stage was influenced by the Bauhaus art of Swiss-German artist Paul Klee, but Thajudeen deeply appreciates Indian’s as well as our country’s cultural tradition, his works are all aiming at showing the multiculturalism, local history and the literary theme of our country. His unique stylised figures in art represent his imagination which was inspired while he was studying in India, by the exquisite sculptures found in temples in the ancient city of Madurai. The romantic and vibrant style of his art is inspired by the murals found in Ajanta caves.
After a journey of more than 40 years in exploring and creating art, Thajudeen beautifully and wonderfully integrates the features and values of Western, Eastern and our cultural heritage into his artworks, bridging the traditional and modern elements and thus, developing his own unique artistic style.