Malaysian art collector Zain Azahari on the occasion of the launch of volume III of “Hati & Jiwa”

A gentleman with a huge appetite for collecting works of art, Zain Azahari Zainal Abidin, also known as Pak Zain, has amassed an incredible number of works of art – over 1,000 paintings and sculptures from artists from Southeast Asia and internationally. Now 84, he began his journey as an art collector in the 1960s.

If one wonders where all the paintings are kept, well, they are systematically scattered – on the walls of his office, his children’s home and his private museum, Galeri Z. Many are in secure storage. – not in a state of abandonment. but rather stored in a temperature controlled environment and maintained by a professional conservator who inspects them periodically.

When Pak Zain was a law student in London in the 1950s, he played the saxophone and began collecting jazz records, amassing around 8,000 records, which he retains to this day. Also an avid reader, Pak Zain immerses himself in Rumi’s poetry, and his rotating readings include the same books of the revered poet.

His interest in arts and culture was nurtured as a student. “On weekends, in addition to visiting art galleries and museums, I also attended art conferences organized by institutions like the Royal Academy of Arts and the British Council. I was excited not only looking at the paintings, but also understanding them. I would pick up a copy of What’s On in London, a weekly magazine, and attend art events in my spare time, ”recalls Pak Zain.

Pak Zain has built an illustrious career in law, founding Zain & Co in 1970. Today his law firm is a member of Dentons, one of the largest law firms in the world with a presence in 78 countries , and is the sole representative of Malaysia.

Today, he enjoys viewing and coordinating his huge art collection, playing with his grandchildren, and golfing with friends on weekends. Occasionally, he attends openings as a guest of honor. A monthly lunch with friends across the road is also on her schedule.

But one of Pak Zain’s latest efforts that has kept him busy over the past year is the publication of Hati & Jiwa: The Zain Azahari Tome 3 Collection, which launched on April 20.

Showcasing over 500 works of art from the region and beyond, and acquired between 2015 and 2019, Volume Three includes four books, beautifully designed and boxed.

For the full article, pick up a copy of The Edge Malaysia (April 22, 2019) from your nearest newsstand. Save by subscribing to us for your print and / or digital copy.

Norma D. Ross