Ahmad Zakii Anwar wants to paint the nude and other taboos in homeland Malaysia. The film touches on current issues in the Muslim world surrounding artistic expression and religious freedoms, through the personal journey of Malaysia's most internationally acclaimed contemporary artist.
The young Ahmad Zakii Anwar grew up in post-colonial Malaysia of the 1960s and 70s. At home, he discovered sensual images of Renaissance nudes in the American magazine ‘Life’. Hooked on art’s power to charge the human senses, Ahmad resolved to become an artist with the power to capture and channel sensuality through the human form.
However, Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s homeland is conservative and governed by Islamic Sharia law. Drawing nudes is considered ‘pornography’ and taboo. Islamic fundamentalism, on the rise in Malaysia since the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, encroaches on the country’s art scene where for a time drawing human figures was banned and even Ahmad Zakii Anwar’s reinterpretation of Velazquez’s ‘Christ on the Cross’ was vandalised by fundamentalist students. The human anatomy realistically represented and so acclaimed in Western art, finds a dangerous cultural counter-reaction in a radicalising society.
Edge of Obedience is a thought-provoking film exploring issues in today's Muslim world surrounding artistic expression and religious freedoms. Edge of Obedience provides insight into a complex character at odds with religion and society.
Screening will be followed by a Q&A with Producer and Director Jin-Theng Craven.