About AFK Collection

The AFK Collection is a collection of the first generation of Malaysian contemporary artists, representing the early development of Malaysia’s contemporary art movement. Instigated by Aliya and Farouk Khan, the collection is dedicated to the acquisition, preservation and documentation of those artworks that mark the beginning of the growth of a contemporary art movement in Malaysia. Critical in quality, encompassing all genres, mediums and forms of art that have been produced from 1980 to present day, this collection is recognised as a watershed moment for contemporary art both in Malaysia and the wider region of Southeast Asia. Indeed it was subsequent to the development of the Aliya and Farouk Khan Collection that a contemporary Malaysian art ecology was solidified. 

The collection was initiated by Aliya and Farouk Khan, after they moved from Singapore in the mid 1990’s, through visits to art galleries, in particular Artist Colony situated in the Lake Gardens and Artist Salon situated in Telawi, Bangsar, viewing art competitions such as Bakat Muda (Young Contemporaries) at National Art Gallery Malaysia and the purchase of contemporary artworks. This early period was marked by a great deal of primary research efforts, primarily in the form of conversations with art industry individuals and viewing artworks, paving the way for a determined collecting effort from 2003. From then on, the collectors kept a regular practice of knowledge gathering, mainly through meeting with artists, curators and art writers who had knowledge on the local art ecology. This practice coupled with viewing artworks directly quickly grew both their knowledge and opinion, allowing The AFK Collection to be informatively and intellectually guided.

The first generation of Malaysian contemporary artists represent a Golden Period of artistic development in Malaysia. It is the contemporary movement which stands out as exceedingly critical within the country’s art movement, in that the works produced are of a high standard both conceptually and technically, and speak to the local history and current conditions. The intellectual approach of local contemporary artists is consistently matched by strong formalistic skills, which are grounded in local heritage traditions as well as formal fine arts education. 

In housing a comprehensive collection of seminal artworks by a wide variety of critically relevant artists from the beginning of this movement The AFK Collection is able to act as a resource centre for knowledge, containing enough material for major bodies of research to be undertaken. Thus, the narrative of contemporary art development in Malaysia is developed through the collection, and as the movement continues to grow, artworks are added to ensure the collection continues to increase in its comprehensiveness.

Continuing to the future, the aim of The AFK Collection is to provide an institutional representation of the contemporary movement and create an awareness of the history of Malaysian contemporary art. This will be achieved through increasing research on Malaysian art history with the intention to produce written publications as well as stage exhibitions in line with this research. Overall The AFK Collection and this subsequent work being done around it will create awareness and knowledge on the canon and timeline of Malaysia’s dynamic contemporary art movement.