Kelantan-born Faez Fahmi captures the beauty of natural landscapes in debut solo exhibition

For 'Luar Jendela', the artist draws inspiration from his culture and lush scenery of his beloved hometown.

Faez: The vibrant colours you see in my work represent me as a high-spirited Kelantanese Malay (Photo: Sam Fong/ The Edge Malaysia)

In his previous exhibitions, Faez Fahmi explored various methods and ideas inspired by nature and landscapes, and it is no different for his first solo, Luar Jendela. He very much favours this approach. “I have always been fond of the beauty created by Allah, and we live in a world abundant with natural landscapes,” says the 26-year-old fine art and technology master’s degree-holder from UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor.

He hails from Bachok, Kelantan, in a kampung that is sandwiched between the sea and lush greenery. “Since my studio is in Shah Alam, where there’s less [attractive] scenery compared with the village, I started looking at the window when the twilight light streamed into the studio. From there, I got the idea to focus solely on the surroundings. For example, [I tried to capture] changes in time like day and night, the wind blowing leaves on branches, falling leaves and so forth.”

He says being true to own feelings is crucial in conveying what the soul of the artist truly desires to express, as art should not deceive in portraying genuine emotions. To express his art fully, Faez uses white cement as a primary material because of its textured visual effects.

“This material is inspired by my late teacher and mentor, Azian Hashim. When I started getting serious in art, I had to work with readily available materials due to various limitations. The vibrant colours you see in my work represent me as a high-spirited Kelantanese Malay. As for the patterns, they are somewhat aggressive but there is a sense of sopan-santun in the process that emanates from the soul. Why are images of flora always used, one may ask. That’s because they resonate closely with my identity.”


'Dedaunan' (left) is an ode to the greenery in his village in Bachok, Kelantan (Photo: Core Design Gallery)

Faez is also greatly inspired by the technique of batik-making “because one of the methods before applying colours to the pattern or image is a process similar to applying wax with a canting to create designs on the fabric surface, followed by adding colours. This process resembles the production process of my artwork, but with different materials”.

When creating his work, Faez pours a mixture of colours and water on the canvas as the white cement starts to harden. When it is almost dry, he uses gloss paint with a metallic finish, which has oil properties instead of water, to create an intriguing effect on the surface.

“This dripping technique is inspired by American artists. Although one of the styles used is similar, the process, layering and personal characteristics are quite different. For example, Jackson Pollock worked while intoxicated and with an aggressive expressionistic style. However, I am not like that because I produce with gentleness and a polite demeanour [that is] characteristic of Malay culture.”

How does his background as a Kelantanese influence his body of work? “It is evident in the colours produced. Another aspect is the patterns depicted in the artwork, which lean towards flora rather than fauna. Our culture predominantly features floral motifs and calligraphy, as seen in traditional wood carvings of houses adorned with bean plants, tapioca leaves, lotus flowers, bamboo shoots and more. Motifs on fishing boats and the colours used in those patterns are similar to my artworks. These aspects symbolise my identity as a Malay Kelantanese artist.”


To express his art fully, Faez uses white cement as a primary material because of its textured visual effects (Photo: Core Design Gallery)

Faez speaks at length about his mentor whose influence greatly shaped him and his artistic journey. Initially not much of an artist, his perspective shifted when he entered Form 6 and met the teacher who inspired him to become an artist. “He taught me visual arts. It was then that I delved deeper into the world of art and embraced contemporary art.”

After Form 6, Faez joined the AZ Fine Art collective where Azian conducted classes that helped him to refine his artistic skills. He then participated in competitions and exhibitions.

“For a good three years, I drew inspiration from the techniques and processes observed in creating art using similar materials but with different ideas. Not long after, he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. I stood by him until his last breath.

“I am determined to emulate him as an artist, even though his recognition in the art world may be limited. The knowledge he imparted will always remain with me,” Faez reflects.


Faez Fahmi’s 'Luar Jendela' runs until April 22 at Core Design Gallery, SJCC Gallery, Jalan SS16/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor. See here for more info.

This article first appeared on Apr 8, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.

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