The Story Behind Edge of Obedience


In a world where religion plays a prominent role, how much freedom of expression should an artist be allowed?

Ahmad Zakii Anwar may well be Malaysia's best-known artist. He is famous for his photo-realistic animal pictures, still life paintings and expressive portraits, which offer a timeless reinterpretation of modern Asian society. His painted images of male nudes and various taboo subjects are beautiful yet controversial in homeland Malaysia.  Edge of Obedience : stream now on AmazoniTunes and GooglePlay, and other premium platforms.

View the latest details about our documentary, Edge of Obedience

Edge of Obedience tells the story of Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Malaysia's foremost figurative artist whose creative vision is controversial in a modern society embracing Islamisation. 

Ahmad Zakii Anwar's desire to paint like the Western Renaissance masters is not straightforward: when he begins his journey in 1970s to become an artist, Malaysia does not have an art market to speak of. Raised in a conservative Malay Muslim household in Malaysia, his desire to draw the human figure, let alone the nude, is also a delicate matter. 

Learn how this gifted artist (re)interprets humanity through the process of developing his art. The film explores the controversies surrounding artistic expression and religious freedoms as he pushes the boundaries of convention.

Production: Jin-Theng Craven, Yin Phua and Annemarie Lean-Vercoe

Edit: Susan Brand

Find out the team's thoughts on the project:

Key Locations: Johor Bahru, Malaysia and London, UK.

Stills from Edge of Obedience