Enas, Hoessein (1924–1995) By Abdullah, Sarena
Mohd Hoessein Enas was born in Bogor, Indonesia, migrated to Singapore in 1945, and became a citizen of the Federation of Malaya in 1956. Largely self-taught, Enas is best known for using acrylic and oil paint to portray his subjects in the style of European academic portraiture.
In 1956 he spearheaded the Majlis Kesenian Melayu [Malaysian Arts Council] and was the founder and president of Angkatan Pelukis Semenanjung [The Peninsular Artists Force, or APS]. He played a distinct role in Malaysian art by introducing modernity and Western art through his figurative drawings influenced by the European academic style. Under Enas, the APS promoted the idea that local painters should produce artwork that stemmed from their emotional identification with Malaya by depicting Malay ideals of beauty and character.
Enas is widely acclaimed as the father of Malaysian portrait painting, and was appointed Royal Portrait Painter to the Sultan of Selangor in 1990. His later works include portraits of several sultans and members of Malaysian royalty. Enas was a fellow of London’s Royal Society of Arts, and was also the head of Design and Staging Services at Radio and Television Malaysia.