Penang-based photographer extraordinaire Ismail Hashim passes away


Visual artist Ismail Hashim, one of seven founding members of social reform group Aliran, passed away in a road accident in Penang yesterday evening.

Ismail Hashim at work

Poet Cecil Rajendra, who described Ismail as a close friend, said he had a wonderful time yesterday with Ismail laughing and joking and reminiscing after the launch of Cecil’s new book on Rose Chan in George Town yesterday. Ismail left on his motorbike at about 4.00pm.

Joining Cecil at the launch was Penang-based black-and-white photographer par excellence Ismail Hashim, an Aliran founder member
Ismail Hashim (left) with one of his best buddies, poet Cecil Rajendra, at a recent event

Another founding member of Aliran, Senator Ariffin Omar, attended Ismail’s funeral last night.

For a black-and-white photography buff, the jovial Ismail, a former dean at USM’s Pusat Seni, was camera-shy when the tables were turned and he became the subject of the photograph.

Ismail will be sorely missed. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who had launched a retrospective exhibition of Ismail’s work at the Penang State Art Gallery in 2010, expressed shock and regret at the photographer’s passing. For more info on Ismail and his work, see here.

Cecil Rajendra had recently paid tribute to Ismail’s work in “Master photographers: The Professor and the Doctor” published by Aliran.

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Dear Master ,RIP, you were always in my memory.

Debbie Stothard

Am sorry to hear Penang and Malaysia has lost such a great person.
Condolences to his family and close friends
Thanks for sharing, Anil

Batu Ferringhian

Rest in Peace, dear Sir..I’m still teary eyed as I type this…I was extremely shocked and saddened by the news of his sudden passing. His lectures were the highlight of my days in USM. There aren’t a lot of lecturers like him..he got along well with students and saw us as peers. I am really gonna miss him… Although I graduated many years ago, I still think of him and the impact his presence had in my life. The last time I saw him was about 2 years ago at Ecco with Janet Pillay. He was smiling and jovial as… Read more »


So shocked and sad to hear of his sudden demise. He was my lecturer in USM back in the 80s. I remember he was very affable, witty and kind. He treated us more like friends than students! RIP En Ismail Hashim. May Allah bless your soul, .

M Redzuan

Our condolences to the family of Mr Ismail Hashim.

Not sure if you read today’s NST (i seldom but someone posted it to me)

We think the article does make sense (although NST seldom)


Not many in the corporate world & consumeristic society will empathise with this open letter, let alone slow down any excessive consumption of resources in the name of ‘progress’ of society, lifestyles & economic opportunities / activities. The god of consumer culture is money, an exchange medium initially for acquisition of goods & services to satisfy wants & needs but that has turned into an end itself for the greedy & insatiable souls seeking to fulfill any manner of desire, right or wrong. In a globalized world of permeable cross border cultural influence & trendy adoption, the unfulfilled human souls… Read more »

ks tan

This “Open Letter To Penangites” should be in the forum for your readers comments.
tunglang has set the pace …. the truth hurts but better late than never.

i decided if there is no bubble burst for me to acquire cheap home in the island,
i am likely to move elsewhere in the rural area where the air quality is better.
by the way, i watched astro aec sunday 10pm Go Cuti program on Belum Forest. Catch it if you can on the repeats. I love the place.
check this out