Sep 2015 - Yusof Ghani, far more than a gallery tour! - Shah Alam

Though the TAPAK Gallery in Shah Alam is easy to find, none of us had been there before.


A surprisingly light-filled and modern, almost futuristic building which forms the perfect background for not only the artworks  of Yusof Ghani, one of the leading Malaysian artists in Abstract Expressionism, but also for the artworks of young and emerging artists from Malaysia and other countries.



Yusof Ghani was originally a graphic artist who transitioned into fine art after studying at George Mason University/ Virginia, USA in 1979. 

Pollock and de Kooning were initially his inspiration before he ultimately developed his own style. 


Once Yusof Ghani appeared, we were all fascinated by his welcoming, charismatic and open attitude. Not only did he answer all our questions, but also let us see his studio which is connected to the TAPAK Gallery by only a few steps. When you are inside, you feel like being in a huge tree house, with open walls and a pool table. After being asked, he stated that one of the strongest qualities an artist needs is never ending discipline. This seemed to be surprising but after some reflection was obvious.

Not only did Yusof Ghani paint in front of us by using his signature strokes and dramatic movements, but also invited us to a workshop that we could have together with him. We will find out if that is going to happen…! For sure, if he had not been an artist, he could easily have been an entertainer. 


He did not seem to care about the time he spent with us, but was obviously “guarded” by his assistants who had to get him to the airport later.

To top it even more, he then took us to his private house up the hill only a few meters away from the studio. The walls are completely covered by his paintings including huge canvases of his Segerak series and also one of his favorites – trees painted in a park in Paris. 



We got a very private insight into Yusof Ghani`s artworks and after taking a group picture together with him, he left to catch his plane.


Full of impressions, we went to a nearby road whose walls were covered with graffiti and 3D-installations as part of an initiative by the Shah Alam City Council to improve the atmosphere of back roads. 


We then had lunch together at a nearby Malaysian soup restaurant. “Which soup is it?” – This will always be a secret as our repeated questions were never answered and we couldn’t care less as we were already full of pictures!



Many thanks again to Mr. Yusof Ghani!


Excursion led by Kathrin Schuler and Christine Rost who also wrote the report


Photographs submitted by  Rosemary Chin and Susan Sawyer