Idris Ali

1944 , Singapore

Known for his watercolour landscapes and street scenes, Idris Ali’s works reveal a strong understanding of colour, depth and realism. His paintings of old Singapore are especially important as they serve as a visual documentation of our national heritage. 

Started painting at 10 and not being able to afford formal art training, Idris learnt from books, observation, practice and a brief tutelage under pioneer Malay artist, S. Mahdar. In 1962, at the age of 18, this self-taught artist had his first group exhibition at the Singapore Victoria Memoral Hall.

With a natural gift for drawing, Idris embarked on a career in the advertising industry for 20 years. A member of APAD (Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya) since the 60s, he was their art teacher for young children from 1964 to the 80s. He also taught art at various secondary schools. 

Idris’ works have been shown at the Singapore National Museum and various exhibitions in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. A residency in Bali with Maya Gallery in 2012 kicked off his new series of Balinese scenes. In 1999, he had his first solo show. His second solo exhibition – commemorating five decades of painting – was organised by, and held at Maya Gallery in 2013.

His paintings can be found in the collections of the National Heritage Board, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Defence, several dignitaries in Singapore and Malaysia, and many private individuals. Idris received the Pingat APAD (APAD Award) by the Association of Artists with Various Resources (APAD) in 1974. He was also awarded the Cipta Mekar or Creative Award for outstanding work at the Action \'90 Art Exhibition by APAD in 1990.

Raffles Place
Watercolour
76 x 56 cm
1980

Joo Chiat
Watercolour
76 x 56 cm
2014
Path to the Beach
Watercolour
100 x 70 cm
2016
Masjid Sultan
Watercolour
50 x 37 cm
1995