Art Focus: Husin Hourmain’s Personal Journey To Better Understand Islam
It’s not difficult to spot a Husin Hourmain. His contemporary Arabic calligraphy works stand out in a sea of abstract, figurative and expressionism art. While many artists refrain from engaging with religion in their crafts, Husin wears his identity on his sleeve.
In his latest exhibition at the National Visual Arts Gallery Kuala Lumpur, Husin’s newest bodies of work is held together by the Aku: Dalam Mencari Rukun… quest and it is said to be a very personal interpretation of the artist’s journey as a Malaysian Muslim.
Two years in the making and presented by Core Design Gallery, his fourth solo exhibition explores the six pillars of faith in Islam and when asked about his takeaway, he said: “Aku: Dalam Mencari Rukun… taught me to understand that knowledge is key to every successful journey to any destiny. The research of this series has opened up my understanding towards the six pillars of Islam in an abstract way.”
The six pillars of faith include belief in Allah, belief in angels, belief in the Quran, belief in the prophets, belief in the Day of Judgement and belief in fate. The artist skilfully treads his exploration on canvas by employing abstract mark-making, detailed calligraphy, text, muted colours and minimalist iconography.
Tiga Alam Satu Roh: Kun Fayakun | Medium: Acrylic, Majestic Paint, Bitumen, Charcoal, Wood, Glass Jars and Found Object on Canvas | Size: 214cm x 518cm (Total 5 panels) | Year: 2016
Penunggu Alam: Sayap Jibril… | Medium: Acrylic. Majestic Paint, Charcoal, Coal and Modelling Pace on Canvas, Wood and Iron panels | Size: 214cm x 412cm | Year: 2017
The Hill of Love Jabal Rahmah | Medium: Acrylic on Canvas | Size: 214cm x 214cm | Year: 2016
How difficult was it presenting this journey on canvas?
“It wasn’t that difficult as long as you have the knowledge and enough research done. My sketches and notes are the evidence of this journey. It’s important to understand the skills that you have and channel your energy developing new skills. Through the drawings on canvas and paper, I better understood the canvas and all that it’s capable of,” recalled the artist.
After spending a couple of years working on this series, every piece of artwork is very meaningful for the artist as each has its own journey and process. “But I have to admit that Tiga Alam Satu Roh: Kun Fayakun is the most challenging and meaningful work in this exhibition.”
The “Aku: Dalam Mencari Rukun… exhibition is currently taking place at Galeri REKA, National Visual Arts Gallery KL until June 1. For more information, visit the Core Design Gallery Facebook page.