RONG, Abu Jafar’s exhibition at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, is a retrospective view of his experience in the UK over the past twenty years. Jafar came to the UK from Bangladesh in order to pursue his art studies at the Guildhall University and Goldsmiths College, working in a variety of disciplines including sculpture, glasswork, and painting.
“I gather elements through my emotional experiences then transform them into the art forms which could incorporate anything and everything that’s around me,” says Jafar.
Jafar’s work is highly personal, fusing both figurative and abstract – an inherently political aesthetic given his Muslim upbringing, where the descriptive artistic act is prohibited. His subject is the quotidian – a colourful painting of a seascape where the horizon seems intercut with barbed wire and the vertical by long drips of paint – a comment on the British weather or on the multiple potential realities latent within conventional conceptions of the beautiful. What seems like a field of wild flowers is similarly overlaid with dark streaks – undertones, perhaps, of movement, flux, change.
I would describe Jafar’s stylistic direction for this body of work as Expressionist with a dash of Pop. While many of his works have chaotic backgrounds, they are layered with organised splats and lines of paint. Order within disorder. This leaves the eye to wander around the canvas through the webs of paint, with no destination. The harsh colours also make focusing on one point a challenge.
RONG is on at Rich Mix until 29th October. Entry is Free.
See http://www.richmix.org.uk for more information.
By Monica Urquijo