‘Underwater Illusion’ exhibition captivates art-lovers

By Patricia Hului
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A couple admiring Zaimie’s grouper series.


Galleria at Wesberly House plays host to exhibitions by many renowned artists. Starting Jan 23 till Feb 22, the gallery is making space for Sabah artist Dr Zaimie Sahibil’s  ‘Underwater Illusion’.

The series is made up of three groups of works featuring sharks, groupers and green turtles, showcasing Zaimie’s vibrant use of colour and technique.

During the launch last Saturday (Jan 23) by a board member of National Visual Arts Gallery Datuk Taib Ali spoke nothing but praise for Zaimie.

Taib said his paintings allowed admirers to take pleasure in the beauty of the underwater world, especially the grouper and green turtle series.

His work also reflected the economic hardship faced by fishermen, especially in Sabah.

“Dr Zaimie’s striking visual pieces speak volumes and are very rare. What is even rare is his artist’s sense of social and ecological justice.

“Many attribute it to his professional duty as a teacher and now a lecturer. Nonetheless, his creative spirit is highly commendable,” he said.

According to Taib, the National Visual Arts Gallery also recognises Zaimie’s strength and research in the art development of Sabah, adding “The National Arts Boards look forward to realising many future plans that will benchmark the artistic excellent in the sense of Borneo artists.”

He was also sure this exhibition would inspire other artists and visitors, local or foreign to appreciate the painted jewels of Malaysian sea.

Many of the pieces in this underwater series use acrylic on canvas but Zaimie is also proficient in other mediums such as watercolour, oil paints, fabric and beads.

His grouper and green turtle collections are particularly accessible as they showcase a single creature in one painting.

He is also well-versed in producing two-dimensional works such as collages and printouts.

Besides working as a full-time lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Zaimie is also active in Sabah Art Gallery and Visual Arts Association.

‘Underwater Illusion’ is Zaimie’s ninth solo exhibition since he started to display his paintings in 1995.

The colours Zaimie used are contrasting and unconventional but the more one gazes upon each painting, the more realistic the subject matter -be it a grouper or green turtle – becomes.


(From left) Galleria owner Irene Lim, Zaimie and Taib during the launching vUnderwater Illusion.



Zaimie (right) having a conversation with Taib (left).



The shark series is distinctly different from the grouper and green turtle series.


Some of art-admirers during the launching of ‘Underwater Illusion’.


A man looking at one of the painting in the green turtle series.

Some of Zaimie’s works of the grouper series:






The exhibition at Galleria Wesberly House will run on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to noon.

Galleria Westberly House is located at Rubber Road West. For more information contact 016-8865278.

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