Born in 1904, Abdullah Ariff is one of the earliest generation of Malaysian artists where he was formerly an art teacher with the Penang Anglo-Chinese School. He is a self-taught artist who was in the 1920s raked in to teach the then exclusive club ‘Penang Impressionists’ which was made up mostly of English housewives.
Abdullah Ariff’s Exhibitions
His works have been acknowledged and he is known to be one of the pioneers in watercolour painting together with another watercolour guru Yong Mun Seng where in comparison, his works is known to be more ‘European’ in terms of technique and approach. He would the head out to Kuala Lumpur in 1945 when he began working with The Straits Echo as a cartoonist where he would continue to become active in politics. So much was his contribution to the society that there was a name in Penang named Jalan Abdullah Ariff. He would then continue to work on his art where he then participated in the ‘United Society of Artists’ group show in 1955 at the Royal Society of British Artists galleries in London.
He passed away in 1962, but his artwork has lived on. One of his paintings was presented to Tunku Abdul Rahman in the occasion of the Merdeka celebrations in 1957 while his painting ‘Marketplace’ also was auctioned off at RM39,000 recently.