2010 - Painting Dreams

It is with great excitement that the National Art Gallery (NAG) has curated this collection of works by N.T., who is counted among one of the most distinguished intellectuals of our time. It is rare in the contemporary history of the Maldives that we are able to experience such intimate insights into the workings of a mind that seems to be forever flowing through thoughts and feelings which weave in and out of dreams and realities.

Now in his ‘80s, N.T.’s paintings and photographs are just but a strand among many of what can be deemed as symbolic of what the 20th century meant to Maldivians. His paintings depict abstract and surrealistic imagery with titles that seem to be or sounds like a pun on the visual image depicted. Reminiscent of the Surrealist Master Rene Magritte’s ‘The Treachery of Images’ (1928-29), N.T.’s works seem to comment on the improbable stemming from what is visible. Or, at times they seem to hint at the childlike and playful nature of imagination, making natural objects look unnatural and surreal.

While N.T.’s paintings on show seem to have been mined from his dreams or the interaction between his fertile imagination and seen and lived experiences, the photographic works on display tell the story of human beings through the depiction of their hands in various contexts. Initially exhibited in the ‘90s at the Esjehi Gallery with the title ‘Hands’, the exhibition is an integral component of the present retrospective. While a body of work on its own, they compliment the paintings and enhance the overall scope and reach of the exhibition by letting us see very different dimensions of an acute and engaged mind.

The NAG is thankful for N.T. for loaning his works to this exhibition. The NAG is also indebted to N.T.’s sons Mohoj and Huchen for providing us with insights on N.T.’s life and works which are captured in the essay especially commissioned for the exhibition catalogue and researched and written by Ifham NIyaz. Special thanks also go to Ahmed Naeem and Fathmath Filza and all other staff at NAG who have worked under stressful conditions with minimum resources and staff.

Mamduh Waheed

From: 15 April 2010 To: 20 May 2010

At: National Art Gallery, Male\'

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