Hassan Massoudy is known for his works on paper that integrates both calligraphy and figural representations. His creations are a subtle mix of oriental and occidental art, tradition, and modernity.
The present lot, like most of his works, highlight individual letters and words in saturated colors, stretched across the paper. The painting usually contains quotes and phrases from poets and writers from all over the world with the text written on a smaller scale framing the central letter or word, which is used to signify the essence of the message.
Massoudy perpetuates tradition but manages to be free from the constraints by the strict rules that governed the art form. Although Arabic calligraphy is traditionally done in black ink, Massoudy introduced other colors in his work to fully express himself. He further pushed its boundaries by merging it with abstract imagery.
The value of beauty in calligraphy lies in the execution and the perfection of style. Over the years, Massoudy purified and simplified his form while also maintaining a body of work that is inspired by a deep humanistic interest. By joining the ancient tradition of Arabic calligraphy with French plasticity, he continues to make something new but remains deeply rooted in the old.
Reflective of Iranian history and tradition that incorporated many religions and cultures into its realms, the interaction of cultures and exchange of ideas enabled a vibrant cultural and artistic heritage from which Farah Ossouli draws inspiration for her works.
Ossouli pioneered the introduction of contemporary themes and ideas into miniature painting. Her modern take on Persian miniatures resembles highly decorated minarets with their geometric and calligraphic designs that tell countless stories. However, her most significant influence is from Iranian poems, which for her is as enduring as human nature. In her works, she portrays stories of love, violence, friendship, and family; themes that are as timeless as in the times of Persian miniature.
The current lot titled, ‘Waiting’ shows Farah’s thin and precise brushwork in an unbelievably detailed idiom. The woman, portrayed in bright and vibrant colors, is shown through a cutaway with exterior views visible in the facade. Lighting throughout the picture is even while the whole work is divested of shadows. The picture is in a vertical format that is reminiscent of Persian miniatures influenced by Chinese scrolls in the 14th century.
In typical miniatures, there are often panels of text inside the picture area enclosed in a frame. Ossouli replaces the spaces for text with a broader band of color that borders the image, manipulating both the picture area and the scale of the figure. The rest of the work is in dense and detailed design; particularly the background which was achieved through extremely delicate and controlled brushwork, as evident in the details of the plants, the birds and the patterns on the clothes.
Replete in symbolism in a modern retelling of stories, Farah appropriates the language of miniature painting into her work turning it into a contemporary idiom that is both timeless and teeming with history.
With a career spanning over 40 years, in a period of enormous cultural and historical changes in his native Uzbekistan, Bakhodir Jalal is considered one of the leading figure of art in Central Asia.
He is credited for the reinvigoration of the mural genre and in helping shape a new cultural and artistic landscape. While his influences range from architecture, mosaics, nature, as well as from more formalist elements of Western modernism, Jalal’s art practice is firmly rooted in his national heritage. He produces works that merge various techniques reflecting his country’s ancient traditions, culture, and socio-political climate.
As with his abstract works, “Memory of the Land” is characterized by its intricate details depicting mythological stories and fantasy worlds from his imagination. He used fluid forms and colors replete with traditional Uzbek ornamentation and textile motifs to express himself. Speaking about the influences on his work, Jalal says, “My father worked in an ikat factory, and those beautiful textiles opened my eyes to color and texture at an early age. I was also inspired by the beauty of the landscape…”
Sakti Burman is a figurative artist for the most part, but the association of his figures defies the general norms and logic of reality. Apart from his drawings, Sakti paints mostly in three mediums – oil, watercolor, and pastel. While his oils are generally jubilant and vibrant, his watercolors are somewhat restrained which can be attributed to his treatment of space. This technique which developed towards a synthesis of naturalness and the abstract helps him create a minimal yet surreal environment.
“In his watercolors, he transforms vacuity of the space into a divine light of the sky through the treatment of his figurative forms. The second characteristic of his watercolors is the use of texture especially his signature pointillist. But the transparency and subtlety of application of chromatic points bring out a different character in his watercolors. The smudgy display of minute chromatic points intermingling with very tiny yet crafty non-chromatic voids displayed by the whiteness of paper creates a wave that dilutes the naturalness or reality of the environment and transposes the characters in the pictorial field to a different conceptual environment and helps to bring down the divine on the earth and elevate the mundane towards a noble sensation. This nobility is the essence of his expression.” (Mrinal Ghosh, The Divine Desire: Paintings of Sakti Burman, Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata, 2015, pg.5)
ARTIANA presents the first selection of Modern and Contemporary African art within the upcoming Art Beyond Borders sale from March 28 – 31. This serves as a preview to the auction house’s long-term dedication to showcasing work by African artists.
Art Beyond Borders is an auction sale comprising works by established and mid-career artists from Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia, focused on cross-pollination of art. The sale of 40 lots highlights an African art section presenting works by artists Kofi Agorsor (Ghana), Ablade Glover (Ghana), Ato Delaquis (Ghana), and, Muraina Oyelami (Nigeria).
ARTIANA is an online auction house that provides a credible and engaging auction platform sans boundaries, whilst redefining and streamlining the transactional process. It delivers to a global audience the excitement of art auctions through the convenient medium of the internet together with the benefits of Dubai’s business friendly environment, thereby creating a worthwhile opportunity for international collectors.
There is no buyer’s premium charged in the sale, so what you bid is what you pay. Registrations to bid in the sale can be done at www.artiana.com from March 28 – 31, 2019.
Born in Accra in 1970, Kofi Agorsor is a contemporary artist from Ghana. He initially studied Architecture for two years before switching to Art at the Accra Ankles College of Art, where he obtained his degree in 1993. In his paintings, Agorsor uses bold and vibrant colors to reflect the daily lives of people in Ghana. His subject matter borders on the generic but rendered often in a buoyant, semi-abstract and witty manner. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, as well as auctions both locally and internationally.
Born in Cape Coast in 1945, Ato Delaquis is one of Ghana’s foremost artist. He was one of the leading figures of the Ghanaian Renaissance and is known for his iconic paintings of horsemen, landscapes, as well as abstract works. As a prolific draughtsman, he has worked in a wide variety of media including prints, watercolor, and etchings. Ato Delaquis has exhibited widely and his works are in private collections in Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
Ablade Glover is a Ghanaian artist and educator, regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. He founded the Glover’s Artists Alliance Gallery in 1993 to showcase emerging talents and bring international attention to traditional and contemporary African art. He is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.Glover has exhibited widely over several decades, and his work is held in many prestigious private and public collections, including at the Imperial Palace of Japan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Muraina Oyelami was born in Iragbiji, Nigeria in 1940. Known as a master painter and as a great performing artist, he is one of the original products of the Oshogbo Art School. He studied at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife specializing in Theater Design, where he later taught traditional music from 1975 to 1987. Before his career in art, Oyelami was a founding member of the late Duro Ladipo Theatre Company performing as an actor and musician. Some of his works are in the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Berlin; National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos, Nigeria; IWALEWA- Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London among others.
Khaled Ben Slimane is a renowned sculptor and painter whose artistic practice comes from his quest for spirituality. His creative pursuit spanned the gamut of exploration; from time, the universe, space, and the mystical quality of symbols and signs. He reutilized traditional ways and materials such as canvas, bronze, wood, paper, and ceramics.
Hailing from Tunisia, he’s one of the numerous artists from the region that explored the precise dimension of signs and symbols, drawing from Berber motifs and the rich Islamic heritage. Traditionally, the symbols were painted on walls of villages and homes for their healing quality and to embody magical attributes that guard against evil and misfortunes.
By invoking their aesthetic qualities, using them in organic compositions or expanding on their mystical properties, he combines traditional symbols from the Berber culture with Andalusian themes to create abstract work that references the past and present.
Here, employing graphism Slimane synthesize new symbols from old forms to produce new meanings in a distinctive style reflective of his interest in different cultures. Also present in this work are his signature elements – the calligraphy that gives movement to his work and the repetitive colors – ochre and gold which were inspired by the masters he worked with in the past and contribute to his overall composition.
Ablade Glover is one of Ghana’s acclaimed artists and regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. Having been trained in Ghana, Britain and the United States, his artistic exploration conveys aesthetic acculturation of complex African representations fused with western modes of artistic expression.
Glover preferred to work on urban subjects like market places, lorry parks, shanty towns, urban spaces crowded with ordinary people, and studies on the women of Ghana showcasing the visual richness of the continent while linking modern Ghana with the mythological past of the African tradition.
The current lot is a vibrant oil painting, part of Glover’s profile series which illustrates Ghanaian women in profile, rendered in hues of yellow. Part of his signature is the depiction of the woman in a stylized yet recognizable rendition of reality, swirling between abstraction and realism. Also evident is the “wet into wet” technique using thick application of paint that results in a textured finish that Glover is known for.
Movement and energy are emphasized in the vigorous palette knife application and the thick impasto that he employs in his works. Gestures are transformed into jagged lines accentuated by frenzied pop of colors to emphasize a sense of activity and motion, while his choice of colors reflect the bright colors and textures of Ghanaian fabric and textile. An element of pointillism is also present in his work where you have to stand back from the scenes, in order for the shapes, tones, and colors, to blend into each other.
“Glover’s paintings radiate both movement and color. Using a palette knife in place of a brush, and starting with simple shapes, his paintings accumulate weight by a process of repetitive strokes, which create surprisingly dynamic images out of seemingly static planes. What appears to be a brilliantly executed abstraction at close quarters suddenly comes into a magical focus on retreat from the canvas, and a seemingly chaotic tangle of colors[…]” (Africa Now! Emerging Talents from a Continent on the Move exhibition catalogue, Washington DC, 2007, p.102)
Bobur Ismoilov is one of Uzbekistan’s premier artists, His works explore the depths of human nature and are deeply rooted in the Uzbek culture. He takes components from theatre, illustration, opera, ballet, and video installations for his oil-on-canvas creations.
Ismoilov has a deep affection for the theatre, particularly since it dates from antiquity in Uzbekistan. He directed the musical play “The Tricks of Nasreddin” at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet (1997) and worked at the Republic Puppet Theatre and the Theatre of Drama from 1997 to 2000. Having had this background from the performing arts, some of his works drew inspiration from theatre including the present work. Explaining the symbolism of his work Ismoilov alluded, “I paint from my heart and soul. The scenes reflect episodes around me. There is no particular philosophy in what I show — it is only the world around me!”
Drawing inspiration from ancient histories, early Byzantine art, medieval tapestries, and mythology Timur D’Vatz produces dreamlike creations featuring the timeless metaphor of hunting.
He used the motifs of dogs and falconers to emphasize the ancient theme of a hunt. Here, he depicts the figure of a hunter with the pointed hat of a magician or shaman ready for the sacred ritual. The gold-colored hunting robes emphasize the idea of the ceremony while the birds of prey perched on the arm and the dog posed with overarching necks give a sense of movement. The concept, widely held among hunting people and often found in prehistoric art referred to them as the master of the animals.
Early Russian icons influence the elongated forms of the figures as seen here. The use of golden colors reflects the traditional gold ornamentation of Uzbekistan. D’Vatz masterfully merges the ancient culture and traditions of Central Asia to create a powerfully iconic image.
The paradoxes that exist in the relationship between man and nature lies at the heart of Manu Parekh’s Banaras. As a continuation of the artist’s fascination for the intriguing contradictions that lie within the holy city, issues of mortality and the temporal nature of all existence are referenced in his colorful landscapes.
On his Banaras inspired paintings, Manu Parekh said, “I had always wanted to create a truly Indian landscape, and in Banaras I found the inspiration and the symbols to create one. A darker landscape, but with patches of brightness; fearful, crowded with uncertainties but full of faith. A landscape with both bright colors and solemnity; teeming with human energy yet with underlying quietude. I was painting, perhaps, the riddle of faith, by simultaneously depicting incompatible experiences.”
A common motif of his Banaras is the ubiquitous temples and shrines. The lights emanating from them provides Parekh the imagery and symbols to create dramatic compositions. To frame a slight change in the mood, he depicts Banaras in different lightings and seasons. Aptly titled, the current piece is Manu Parekh’s depiction of the Banaras landscape in the monsoon season.