After six years of formal art training in Europe, I returned home in the late 1960s very much influenced by modern western art and its secular utopian worldview. However, when viewed from a religious perspective, modern art evidenced the process of secularization and humanization. Local scholars lamented such art could led to the gradual loss of the nation's tradition which is steeped in spirituality. To them, Western-trained Malaysian artists’ works are a reflection of a captive mentality glorifying art that is spiritually debilitating, sociologically alienating and psychologically corrupting. Concerned with such phenomenon in Malaysia's post-Independence period, the government convened the National Cultural Congress (1971), to harness the cultural power in fostering unity in her multicultural society. Among the three resolutions recommended, one was Islam, as Malaysia's official religion, it would play a vital role in the formulation of a national cultural identity. In view of this historic event, I made a u-turn denouncing modern art, ingrained in me for decades, and made Islam as the raison d‘être of my art by responding to the challenges of NCC. This paper therefore, will extrapolate my five-decade artistic trajectory from Western-centric art period to Malay-Islamic art from 1970s -2018.

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