2011 - Untitled Works

"Achi, mee koche? Mi dhen kon me' meehakah ves kurehidhaane enun!"

This is one phrase that has allowed me to love art, may it be paintings, sculptures, film, installations or any other medium of work that has been processed through an artist's thoughts, feelings and labour. A creative statement spoken through an artist's chosen language for a wider audience to contemplate and question. It is true that anyone can draw; the brutal honesty of the audience to interpret and define a work within a minute of experiencing it, is also true. However, stating that the work is ugly or nice, easy or hard, unique or indistinctive is neither insult nor praise but rathr the ability between the artist and their oaudience to communicate. The uniqeness in art lies in the fact that the communication utilises all senses to understand the statement being made by the creator of the work. And for the general public audience, what they see is what the artist gets - anyone can draw and everyone who chooses to see can comment.

Mariyam Omar's exhibition "Untitled Works" is honestly pleasing to look at and yet allowing room for a range of interpretations. - Aesthetically appealing in using minimal range od colours and simple neat strokes of human figures in a sedated state of euphoria. At the same time embodied in an environment that lacks visibility of their states of mins - the dark textured stains of coffee and deep, bright reds contrasting a dream like state within a nightmare. One can tend to think towards these works as a personal commentary on our current social status with so much abuse, violence and corruption going on in the country and our tendency to escape it all from within ourselves. This maybe one of the many interpretations of her work and this is one aspect that makes the curatorship of this work interesting - a choice for numerous narratives to be formulated. In blatantly not giving a title to her works, the artist has allowed more room for different narratives to be created. The 'Achi Mee Koche' statement could be looked at in more than one way.

Elements of her graphic design background are portrayed in her work – strokes and textures, choice of composition and fine lines gives the work an essence of control over her work, a certain appeal to please the eye. Thus we are forced to look beyond what we see and look further into her choice of presenting her ideas. From the states the figures in her paintings appear to the choice of gestures their bodies present and to the environment that they are embodied within. These elements play with our senses (the audience’s) to garner emotions that we are certainly familiar with. One can decode a number of symbolisms out of a gesture of a hand / feet – the way a body is turned and ask yourself questions like ‘why the artist has chosen to face her subjects back to us’. These simple features of her work subconsciously speak to us thus making it more accessible to frame a narrative with in and out of the painting.

The tendency for her work to be familiar and accessible does not end with the choice of the subjects she chooses to communicate with, but also through the ease of which she has presented her style and technique as well. A significant aspect of the above mentioned phrase – “kon me mee haka ves kurehi dhaane” is visible in Mariyam’s paintings. There is no evidence that she has tried to reach out as a realist or overplay her fluency with brush and paint and at times even playful – experimenting with mediums. Even her choice of using coffee as a medium has certain tendency towards humour in it – we are all very familiar with it in certain senses and allow for great deal of time for it in our lives. It embodies a great deal of our conversations and is a vice for expressing ourselves socially. This may not be the intention of the artist to use coffee in her work; however the connotation does tend to arise. Over a cup of coffee we frame, dissect and apply our knowledge through a spoken language to (social) happenings and try to make a sense of the reasons for them to occur, just as the artists frame their statements and the audience interprets, dissects and analyses these statements in order to understand for themselves the nature of things around them.

Mohamed Khayyam
Curator

From: 10 March 2011 To: 31 March 2011

At: National Art Gallery, Male\'