Yunizar’s crude, childlike style, composed of raw lines and fantastical imagery, may appear naive at first glance, but in fact radiates deep mystery and elegance. His paintings from the early 2000s portrayed haunting human figures in dark, muddy colours, capturing the psyche of anonymous, alienated people. In the mid-2000s, fascinated by vandalisms on bathroom stalls and street corners, Yunizar began incorporating rhythmic, impressionistic scribbles in his paintings, known as his Coretan or “unreadable letters” series. Evading meaning and literal translations, these writings instead evoked an emotional force akin to what one might find in oral traditions, which have a long history within the Minangkabau culture. Over the years, Yunizar has carefully transformed his practice, exploring motifs that increasingly collapse boundaries between the real and the imaginary—from homes and dwellings, to mythical creatures such as the
Amid these dynamic changes in his oeuvre, what persists to fuel Yunizar’s practice is a deep-seated trust in his intuition, and a singular ability to see poetry and power in the ordinary. His works have garnered critical acclaim within Southeast Asia and across the globe. In 2007, he held a solo show at the National University of Singapore Museum (NUS), Singapore. His works are currently found in the collections of major art institutions, such as the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the Long Museum in Shanghai, and the Benesse Art Collection in Japan. In 2021, he was the only Southeast Asian artist selected to participate in Frieze Sculpture, London.