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Sujak Rahman

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Biographical Info

Sujak Rahman was born in 1949, Singapore. A self-taught artist, his batik training is based on his research in his early years. The artist started drawing at a young age, creating cartoons and comics in his way. While at Tanjong Katong Technical School where he was unable to receive any art teaching, he committed to undertake ‘O’ level art exams on his own. Thus, in secondary school, Sujak began painting in watercolour and oil, through his attempts and personal research, and with advice from a teacher and a friend.

After that, he taught art at school, including at ‘O’ level. Early in the 1970s, Sujak began an interest in batik, wondering why local batik paintings were not washable. He started to research batik methods in Indonesia at Balai Penyelidikan Batik, Jogjakarta. His first piece Tiga Wajah (Three Faces) was paid for in diamonds by a European trader. He began teaching batik at secondary schools and also privately a hobby centre in Bougainvillea Park, Bukit Timah. Sujak moved to live and paint in Hokkaido, Japan from 1983-1989. On his return, he taught at LaSalle College of the Arts with Br Joseph McNally, and at local schools until the present.

Sujak Rahman has been regarded as one of the finest artists in the art of batik painting in Singapore and the region. He is undoubtedly one of the few who is consciously developing batik methodology through his paintings, as well as combining the style and technique of modern visual art. He is concerned that the language and methods of batik art should develop as a contemporary artistic medium, transforming from traditional craft. Sujak’s work stands as an essential connector between traditional craft and modern experimentation in Southeast Asia.

Since 1976, Sujak has held seven solos in Singapore and Japan, with the latest in Singapore in 2012. His works have been shown in group exhibitions in Japan, Moscow, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He has represented Singapore at art fairs in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. He has been teaching the batik painting for more than forty years.

Sujak’s list of awards includes the National Day Art Award (1976), Merit Prize at Singapore Innovations in Art (1981), First Prize at the Hokkaido International Culture Exchange Award (1986), ‘Pingat APAD’ (1987), and Merit Prize at the IBM Art Award (1989). Amber competition, Japan.

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