Kenyem & Hamdan Shaarani Two Solo Exhibition
2 - 31 March 2013
HAMDAN SHAARANI: INTROSPECTION
(Introspection: The examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes)
It is interesting to note that Hamdan Sharaani’s approach in his works somehow alludes to aspects of introspection, especially his series of paintings of close up views of water reflections on shallow streams, with partly submerged moss covered rocks in hues of brown and green coalesced with leaves as well as other low lying foliages, all taken from angles looking downward. Whatever the intentions of the painter may be, whether consciously or unconsciously, it is clear that his paintings, soothing and meditative, are more than just random visual snapshots of the more unassuming parts of nature. To observe the fallen leaves being carried away gently by slow moving currents is to be reminded of the transitory nature of existence. One could even hear the faint sounds of flowing water, rustling of leaves, birds chirping or insects from a distance, all innate rhythms of nature that contributes to the quiet pleasures of witnessing the leisurely movement of change that takes place away from our everyday hustle and bustle and provides us with that much needed moment of respite. An ode to nature or to its Creator, the tranquil beauty captured through the painter’s mind’s eye is both unassumingly arresting. He presents to us a sense of wonderment that can only come from a child’s innocent wide eyed gazes or the amused glances of a contented old soul who realizes the futility or rather the folly of going against life’s natural flow when the most effortless (and sensible!) thing to do would be to partake in its journey to wherever.
Hamdan’s previous works, though different in terms of subject matter, shares a common underlying theme that expresses sentimental appreciation for the passing of a time when life was simpler and its pace was much slower and humane. Besides the appeal to the nostalgic, it must be obvious his somewhat refreshing way of framing his sentiments with aesthetically dynamic compositions and a keen eye for the profound are both unique and insightful. The element of water and the reflection on its surfaces as mentioned hints at introspection, with the presence of the ‘self’ lost in contemplation is implicit in these paintings. However, one could add the aspects of spirituality as water is symbolic of the soul, the mysterious and of purifying qualities. Water plays much part in religious rituals or rites, spiritual practices and signifies as the unconscious self in dream psychology.
Hamdan is a painter of the mundane and unostentatious who offers much food for philosophical, spiritual thought as well as sentimental musings. Akin to the adage ‘a man does not step into the same river twice’ his paintings are also about the inevitability of change and all that it entails as part of the natural cycle of this great adventure and mystery we called ‘life’.
Living Life Tomorrow’s fate, though thou be wise,
Thou canst not tell nor yet surmise;
Pass, therefore, not today in vain,
For it will never come again.
By Omar Khayyam
NYOMAN SUJANA KENYEM: EXTROSPECTION
(Extrospection: The consideration and observation of things external to the self)
There is an unabashed appreciation and joyful feeling for nature’s vast wonders and abundance in the paintings of Kenyem. This he has successfully elucidated through his creative compositions and clever interplay or overlapping of stylized motifs namely leafs, bamboos and flowers, interspersed to various scenic views especially mountains and valleys. Though Kenyem’s paintings are unapologetically decorative and colourful, they are sophisticated projections of his inner pleasures and joie de vivre inspired by the beauty of his surrounding environment.
The simplicity of forms and uniformity of composition in his paintings deceptively downplays the considerable amount of forethought involved in its construction. There are generally two to three layers of images which convey specific meanings that overlap and complement each other. The background, valleys or mountains are painted in gestural manner to produce an ‘abstract’ effect. This is done to highlight the organic and primordial energy that is rooted in nature. The second layer which is consist of the above mentioned motifs are at times structured in a stencil cut out-like pattern or presented in symmetrical manner without the terseness or geometric precision of arabesque art. To contrast the background with this more uniformed and sometimes playful arrangement suggests that in its uncultivated state, nature possesses an innate order at its core in the midst of its seemingly chaotic manifestations. It follows a universal rhythm discernable as the shifting from day to night or the transition of seasons. It is to this rhythm that Kenyem has his stylized miniature figures moving in steps harmoniously to its natural beats.
The miniature figures which are presented mostly as common villagers and peasants, carries and conveys the artist’s exuberant feelings through their outrageous choreographed movements and poses. Their formations in large groups or in small numbers, sometimes in rows on top of mountains or the gorges underscore the gaiety and ecstatic feeling which the painter wish to capture as exemplify in that expression ‘on top of the world’. Finally, to call attention to the interconnectedness shared by all in nature, primordial symbols namely the spiral and circle are strategically positioned in his paintings to serve as subtle testaments.
In Kenyem’s paintings, we have an intelligent combination of the elemental and the symmetrical in multi coloured gestural strokes and stylish patterns that serves as both backdrop and essential supporting components to the troupe of dancers, who are in actuality, the manifestations of the self celebrating the spiritual renewal and the abundance of Mother Nature.
With joy as fuel to inspire one’s soul, who could resist dancing along with the figures in Kenyem’s paintings to the rhythms of the universe?
“We rarely hear the inward music, but we’re all dancing to it nevertheless.”
- Kenyem Sujana
- Hamdan Shaarani