Sabina Manik found herself in the Maldives after responding to an advertisement seeking a ‘beautiful lady fluent in different languages to work on a dream island’. The island referred in the advert was Coco Island in Male atoll, one of the first exclusive, high end resorts in the Maldives. She admits it was the idea of the ‘dream island’ that caught her attention rather than the prospect of being employed in the then bourgeoning tourism industry of the Maldives. Sabina never found her way back to her homeland and married in the Maldives and is completing her third decade in the country. During her stay, the one constant strand in the trajectory of her intellectual, emotional and spiritual life has been her art, which has taken many forms including literature and painting.
Sabina Manik makes no attempt at representation in her paintings. Instead she creates a language of her own with colour, line, written words and phrases. Often they depict abstract shapes, elements of the human figure or motifs from nature and are all done in a loose, almost naïve style. However, the colors she uses are always bold, making the work rather strong in contrasts. The impression the viewer is left with is a residue of lived experience; that of feelings, emotions, coupled with quotes from existing texts as well as her own words and phrases.
Sabina Manik enrolled in a fine art school in Switzerland as a child although this was to last only three months. But she continued her passion for producing vivid imagery, mostly using acrylic and water colors as a constant and integral activity in her life, often producing several in a given month. Other than this, Sabina’s first novel - Triple Simplicity - was written in German and published in Switzerland in 1999. Composed as a trilogy of three stories the novel was set in the Maldives, covering the period beginning from 1950s until the 1990s and told the story of a Maldivian hero born in an atoll away from the capital where the ruling establishment was based. An avid reader, since then Sabina has also experimented with the Japanese genre of Haiku.
Whimsical Poetry is Sabina Manik’s first one person exhibition in the Maldives and is also the first time she is showing her work publicly in the country.
National Art Gallery, Maldives
From: 16 April 2009 To: 12 May 2009
At: National Art Gallery