The dramatic contrasting effect of light and shadow are of pivotal importance to Ahmad Zakii Anwar. The artist uses the light to direct the vision of his audience, accentuating certain areas of the composition and hiding others. It is this sensitivity towards the effect of light that renders the artist's otherwise plainly realistic subjects an aura that is almost religious. "Zakii continues his attention to the subtleties of line, colour, texture and form reminiscent of classical European still life. 'It [photo-realism] is the sort of style that has emerged in my work,' says Anwar. 'It is something which comes naturally for me. I like to see things as they are. But within my painting there is enigma, mystery. I like being a realist, but, at the same time, hiding things. You show and you hide at the same time. I am setting up a scene by hinting, but not really letting people know what is happening. Things are there but they are about to change The still life scene becomes the human figure later.'" (Ian Findlay cited in Waiting in Shadows in Asian Art News, Vol. II Number 6, Nov/Dec 2001, p. 44.)
Holy Cow depicts the huge animal in a quiet poise, still and majestic, the softly diffused light gently caressing the beaten skin of the animal, silhouetting shapes and forms that grant the subject an almost sculptural effect against a constrained dark background, leaving no room but for the audience to behold it with awe and wonder.