… If It’s True What’s Said; then… My Life and Soul are for You!
Zulkifli Yusoff calls me Tengku.
It reminded me of my grandmother, Tok Nik Moh, who would instructed my aunt to personally attended me whenever I dropped and spent a few days with them in Kampong Pauh, Kota Bharu, many years ago. She would be asking me to bersiram, sembahyang, santap and then she would ba’ri me, telling tales of our Great Grandma who ruled hundreds of years ago in the now and elsewhere lands. She would be telling how thunders roared and lightning flashed during the births of our ancestors who ruled…
Zulkifli Yusoff (Zulkifli) was one of the best students that the Department of Fine Art, Faculty of Art & Design, Universiti Teknologi MARA, has ever produced. Zulkifli, this friend of mine, has proven that determination, hard work, generosity, and all_ are all ingredients for success. He believes in himself, total. He believes in his art, total… and as like many said, would later be_ one of the best artists Malaysia has ever produced.
Since his ITM days as an art student in the 1980s, Zulkifli has already ventured into international art scenes: winning art awards, exhibiting in international and widely acclaim art exhibitions and programs. … and surely and steadily, his art progresses as his education is: from a best student he became a lecturer – teaching, developing curriculums, motivates his students. Zulkifli Yusoff is both a great artist and an art teacher.
“Grandma, do thunders roar and lightning flashes when I was born?”
“My beloved child! Why the worry?” She gave a very sweet smile.
“Do they, Grandma?”
She gave another smile and said, “I don’t really remember… perhaps there’s a little! Why my son?”
“If I am king I like to bestow awards to my friends!”
“Good, very good of you my grandson… and may I know? Who will you bestow first? What’s the award for?”
“For my friend who can draw and teach drawing well!”
Stories with my grandmother were perhaps foreshadows for Zulkifli; not that I am now king and what more King!, but tributes to his contributions as both an artist and art teacher. There was a familiar metaphor that Zulkifli used to work with in mid and late 1990s: a bridge. There was a bridge made of wax-rods to be later cast into lead, or, there was a bridge constructed with iron rods and plates, or, there was a bridge constructed from wooden sticks and wrapped with canvas-strips, or, there was a bridge made for Tun Mamat in the meminang Tuan Puteri Gunung Ledang. – and all these bridges brought Zulkifli to what he is doing now: Negara Ku. Indeed, if I was King in the Never-land stories of my grand mother’s ba’ri , I would gladly bestowed Zulkifli with the title Seniman Negara.
* all illustrations in the post are from Zulkifli Yusoff’s Facebook’s photo albums.