"One may see a constant distinctiveness or perhaps a permanently traditional nature to the works of Afzal Shaafiu Hasan, (AFU). From the exhibition we may feel that there is effortlessness in unlearning of visual identities often associates or registered within us when it comes to our culture and environment. Do we attain this by gaining a sense of "just being born again" and creating an intriguing visual dialogue? One may argue that the works are spontaneous or research oriented as the association with literary inscriptions, delicate prints and subdued random forms are becoming more identifiable.
The irony of something that appears to be speaking to you as if from a distant memory or a dream may seem instantaneous. One may say that there is a prospect of being selfish and appreciate it as works that were produced with the kind of vivid imagery connected with subdued consciousness that is mostly achieved in the final moments before one falls asleep.
It is arguable that there is a strange sense of instantaneous familiarity or ambiguity to the exhibition. His graphic design professional background seems apparent in his body of work. Some may see it as a technical restrain that ironically gives way and allows room for it to appear both objectively and subjectively aligned with conversing and unraveling, both indefinite and literal, tempting one to form individual translations.
Afu has incorporated Inscriptions from the Novel: 'Raiveribeyaa Rukaa', written by Annabeel Malin Mohamed Didi (15 March 1896 - 15 April 1967) into the exhibition. The story contains paradoxical dialogue between a coconut tree and a toddy man. Both the story and the "South Pacific" BBC documentaries had urged him to emphasize the importance of the coconut trees to the existence of tiny coral islands. Adopting the perspective of the coconut tree from the Novel, he had chosen to exclusively include the parts of its dialogue as a monologue in order to "give it voice" in the works.
In recent years, there has been a consistency with experimentation to his works. Always wanting to explore more than canvas surfaces and not limiting himself to a particular comfort zone is evident. Making delicate sheets of was on which he would carve out the intricate images to be printed is just one example of this disposition. As environmental art projects, he created a raft made from PVC bottles with his collaborators and rowed with five of them from Male' to Hulhule'. Making sculptures from scrap metal is also a new area he explored and they were exhibited as site specific environmentally conscious art. His candor allows him to explore areas that one may think twice about expressing with solo art performances in public addressing controversial social/political issues. Afu has exhibited his works locally and internationally on many occasions and has attended art residencies abroad in addition to having produced a large number of philatelic designs to his credit. he has conducted art workshops, judged many art competitions and is currently a member of Postage Stamp Committee and the Visual Arts Curriculum panel." (Omar, 2011.)
Omar, Mariyam. "Coco Collection," 2011.
From: 10 July 2011 To: 14 July 2011
At: National Art Gallery (Museum Building Block A)