Najib Ahmad Bamadhaj
b. 1987, Malaysia
Painting, according to Najib Ahmad Bamadhaj, describes the concept of a wall, translated with paint on canvas. The wall is the main image, whereas the subject on the surface is the secondary image. This talented artist was born in 1987, completed his Diploma in Fine Art from UiTM Melaka back in 2008 and then pursued a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art (Sculpture) from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam, Selangor, in 2010. According to Najib, his interest in the arts began in primary school where he started with sketches and participated in poster design competitions in school.
From the time he began his career until today, Najib has participated in numerous group exhibitions including, Endangered, a two-man show with Hirzaq Harris at TAKSU KL (2011), Visual Art Award (2011), LiFest at MAPKL (2011), HIMPUN at the National Art Gallery KL (2010), and many more. Najib was also a Finalist of MRCB Art Awards at the National Art Gallery (2008), 1st prize winner in the Tanjong Heritage Art Competition in Kuala Lumpur (2010), and a finalist for the Visual Arts Awards in Kuala Lumpur (2011). Najib had his first solo exhibition, Great Migration in 2012 at TAKSU Kuala Lumpur. This collection saw the highly-rated artist exploring various themes through his endangered animal-centric mixed media artwork on a range of surfaces, including mud, cement, recycled wood panels and zinc.
Developing from his previous series, which exposes the destruction of animal habitats as a result of human greed and the obsession with money and development, the artworks explore the idea of survival as animals migrate from their natural habitats to the urban jungle. Later he developed his muted palette to be enlivened with more vivid blocks of colour.
In 2020, his latest solo exhibition titled “Pride & Prejudice” in TAKSU Kuala Lumpur, Najib returned to a theme and style previously worked on in his series, but his focus shifted from animals as subject to women as the subject which he gets his inspiration from a classical novel by Jane Austen and the movie adaptation of the same novel, and thus his latest solo exhibition was based on. He tackled the tricky subject of human emotions, and he’s embraced the practice of figurative art. However, the series’ real value is in the open-ended questions that viewers are drawn to consider. Najib wants us to challenge our readings of others, and unlike the animals that the artist used to portray, the one distinguishing feature among his new subject matter is the ability to think critically.