Well known Malay water colourist
In the Kuching art scene of the late 80's, Othman Borhan stood out as probably the only well known Kuching born Malay artist who made it good at the water colour medium.
Artists in Sarawak in the 80's were conveniently grouped under the Sarawak Artist Society of which almost all its participating members were artists in and around Kuching town. The society which was comprised of artists from various ethnic origins, held regular exhibitions through out the 80's. But these exhibitions were largely composed of works of the 'heavy weight' artists of the art fraternity in Kuching then of which the Chinese group was more active and predominating.
Towards the later part of the 80's , Othman's watercolours showed intense subjectivity especially in capturing the 'ambience' or 'mood of the place'. He achieved this by employing ' atmospheric effects' . His technique and style showed a departure from the majority of Chinese water colourists who tended to optimise the use of the Chinese brush. His use of 'western' brushes found good effect in his paintings , thus providing a 'modernising' influence on water clour technique or style at that period.
In terms of colour, there is lesser use of black colour ( as in Chinese ink black) in highlighting figures or outlines or economical strokes so typical of Chinese water colour painting. His was a very western use of colour and feel.
Othman Borhan, water colour on paper, 34x50 cm, circa 1988, Rural Sarawak
( Unframed and in Private collection)