Artist: Mohd Azri bin Abdullah, (b.1978, Malaysia)
Title: Ah Long
Medium: Charcoal with Bitumen
Size (cm): 134.6 x 147.3cm
Mr Mohd Azri shines a light on the shadowy world of illegal money lending and the people who run it, known as ah long in Malaysia. The illegal money lending trade used to be covert and conducted by word-of-mouth, but now ah longs no longer operate "under the table". In the artist's opinion, they have surfaced their operations such that their presence can be felt almost everywhere. Their posters and "promotional materials" are all over the place including scribbled on tables in public places.
The back alleys of the urban, modern city of Kuala Lumpur are usually where theah longs conduct their business. The depiction of the ah long as a shadow is both a literal and figurative reflection. Once the borrower is in the ah long's books, there is no escaping his clutches – he will be a constant shadow dogging the borrower's every moment.