Zainal Abidin Musa was born in Batu Gajah, Perak, in 1960. With a deep interest in art, he enrolled at the Institut Teknologi MARA (ITM) to pursue a degree in Fine Art. He graduated in 1983 with a promising career as an artist, having just won an award from the Malaysian Young Contemporary Artist competition – one of Malaysia’s more prestigious art competitions.
However, the Malaysia economy was in recession at the time. For practical reasons, he decided to join the workforce as a designer in an advertising firm, leaving behind, temporarily, his desire to paint.
From there on, Zainal continued to pursue his career in advertising, eventually setting up his own business in the industry. Perhaps sixteen years of being in the hectic business took a toll upon this gentle soul who finally returned to painting, at first only as a means to unwind.
Zainal found himself drawn once again to his innate passion for paintings and since then, there has been no turning back as he renders his acrylics and oils on one canvas after another.
Architect Hajeedar Abdul Majid, an avid collector of Zainal’s works, mentions that Zainal’s paintings celebrate his commitment and passion for art as testified through hi formal artistic grooming and natural development over the years.
Artist and personal friend of Zainal’s, Tengku Sabri Ibrahim, has seen the artist through his years as a student, businessman and artist. Of Zainal’s recent return to art, he says, “Zainal studied and rediscovered the science of colours, the dynamic strokes and the glittering lights from amongst our own landscapes…He chose to ignore the contemporary excitement of experimenting, exploring and working with ‘modern’ or ‘expressive’ images and approaches as practiced by many artists of today. He hung on to his romantic attitudes in reading and representing landscapes.”
Zainal is currently a full-time painter.