Angkatan Pelukis Se-Malaysia By Soon, Simon
Angkatan Pelukis Se-Malaysia [APS—All Malaysian Painters’ Front] is recognized as one of the first Malay art collectives in Malaysia. It functions as both a social club as well as a promoter of realism as a painterly style, specifically amongst the Malay community. This was a radical development in its time, given that traditional Islamic Malay society had a culturally strong proscription against the depiction of the human figure. To this end, it was active in holding exhibitions and art classes for members and art enthusiasts in post-war Kuala Lumpur. The society originated in the Malay Arts Council, which was established in 1956 at the United Malay National Organization (UMNO) political party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The founding of APS is connected to the migration of Java-born painter Hoessein Enas to Malaya in 1948 during the Indonesian revolution. He would soon gain his reputation as a highly skilled portrait painter and would become the Malay Arts Council’s first chairman. The APS drew inspiration in part from the organization that Hoessein Enas co-founded in Medan in 1944, called Angkatan Seni Rupa Indonesia, not to be confused with Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia, which is the art school established in Yogyakarta in 1950.