Ahmad Zakii Anwar

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Ahmad Zakii Anwar
Zakii studio N29688544934 1201464 8269.jpg
Born (1955-03-31) March 31, 1955 (age 64)
EducationMARA University of Technology
Known forPainting, charcoal.

Ahmad Zakii Anwar (born 1955 in Johor state, Malaysia) is one of the most well-known artists in Malaysia.

Early life and education[edit]

Zakii was born in Johor Bahru, Johor in Malaysia. He is the youngest of 6 children. Zakii developed his love for art at the age of 6. He attended Ngee Heng Primary School from 1962 until 1967 and went to secondary school at English College Johore Bahru. After graduation, Zakii was accepted into the School of Art and Design, MARA Institute of Technology.


Zakii's father, Tan Sri Haji Anwar bin Abdul Malik, was a politician. He was credited as the person who gave the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) its name – initially United Malays Organization. This was at a meeting in Batu Pahat when seven UMNO founders from Johor Baru met Datuk Onn Jaafar to call for a unification of the disparate Malay nationalist groups at the time. He later became Onn’s private secretary when Onn became Johor’s Chief Minister. Anwar's mother was Hajjah Saodah binti Abdullah, a housewife. Zakii has two elder sisters, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, who was the chairman of Securities Commission Malaysia and Zainah Anwar, prominent Malaysian non-governmental organisation leader and activist. She was the head of Sisters in Islam for more than twenty years before deciding to step down to give way to young blood to continue the fight for Muslim women's rights. Their father died in 1998, and their mother, Hajjah Saodah bte Abdullah, died the following year. Zakii is married with 4 children.


The artist began his career as a graphic artist, producing some of the leading advertising graphics of his time. From there, he continued to establish his name by converting to fine art where his techniques have been exemplary and world class. Zakii came to attention for his virtuosity and command of a spectrum of media from charcoals to oils, building a reputation for stunning photo-realist still-life paintings and expressive portraits. Later, a more contemporary edge surfaced in his works as Zakii introduced urban subjects and settings into his canvases. He is lauded for capturing not just city motifs and urban features but also a distinctive psychological dimension and cinematic quality in these scenarios. Zakii's preoccupation with the spiritual or metaphysical aspects of urban life, as seen through his use of icons, symbols and allegories (including metaphors of theatre, performance and masks) have also marked his practice.

Some of Zakii's exhibitions include:

Solo Exhibitions[edit]

Group Exhibitions[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Ahmad Zakii Anwar: A Malaysian artist shuns a taboo to 'distill the truth'". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  • "My Art Tracker Beta: Ahmad Zakii Anwar".