<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 121 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

September 5, 2003

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A Response to the Social Issues

Mustafa Zaman

" I am expressing the mental reaction to whatever is hidden inside the body,” if this paradoxical remark by the artist Mustafa Kamal is what drives him to draw what he draws then one must inspect the surface and content of his painting to find out whether he is successful in doing so. He also says that he strives to respond to the social enviroment that he is a part of, which means Kamal is willing to explore the whole spectrum, from the psichic to the social.

His work explores both the aspects of painting-- the surface and the content. His surface is often textured in order to put the faces and the parts of figures that are his content against a resonating backdrop. But the artist seems to be in two minds about whether to give primacy to his contents or his surface. If the body parts are not used as components of the design, which is the formal arrangement, if they are their to awake our consciousness about other people or society or whatever that lies byond the canvas then he must make a choice.

There was no eye witness-I, Mixed Media, 2002.

Because the two tendencies do not meld well in most of his work. In works like “Three gentlemen are walking with their thoughts” his tendency to apply textures subsides. It is in this sort of work that the artist is addressing the social conundrum-- the class system and its psychological implications. He tries to address the social chaos in the works titled “There was no eye witness-1” and “2”.

The three floating pictures that are set on plexiglass attached to bars that crane from the side of the canvas explore a new dimension. In these the artist presents girls being overpowered. But, he is not overtly concerned with the violent acts or the perpetrators for that matter. The subtlety with which the subject of male oppression is presented lends a mysterious aura to his art.

The artist provides an opportunity for the viewers to look for the clues to what is being done to the girls whose face or hand is shown in stark black and white. The vulnerability of women is encoded in these pictures.

The photographs are sombre but the paintings over which they are propped up are forceful, this results in a tug between the two kinds of temperaments, one of expressionist origin the other of postmoder-nism. In Kamal's endeavor the tug remains unresolved.

Three Gentlemen are Walking with thier thoughts, Mixed Media, 2003.

In his pencil drawings that make up almost half of his displayed works, the artist is free of any such dilemma, as the works are solely based on pencil drawing. In this series his content and form becomes one.

Mustafa Kamal is a young artist who is experimenting with both the concept and the media.

His installation that uses boxes holstered with painted canvas that is placed in the middle of the gallery, is a result of effort to present his images in a different style. Here too the artist is caught in the conflict between what should be expressed and how. Other then this deficiency that stems from the conflict that render the artwork too crafty, the artist is all set to start off on a new footing. Integration of the artistic world with the social factors is the thing of the new millenium, with this concept Mustafa Kamal is fully at home.



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