Creating waves across boundaries

by Jivani

The Malaysian art scene has seen a considerable growth with the likes of Ibrahim Hussein, Khoo Sui Hoe and Yusof Ghani. However, finding an artist that shares his passion for art, music and poetry in the form of seascapes is well, rare, but not for M.Shafarin Ghani.

This young self-taught and multi-talented chap may come across as shy and reserved at first glance, but it’s only a matter of minutes before he starts opening up and talking passionately about his love for art. “I love art because there is no positive or negative to it. It’s my way of expressing who I am, my existence and my identity.”

Growing up in George Town Penang, Shafarin left school at an early age to embark on a self-searching journey of art, music and literature. “I loved studying but I had no interest in the grading system. For me, learning something was as simple as picking up a book and reading. My family supported my decision to leave school and even gave me a space for me to work on my art.” And it was in this small zinc attap house that Shafarin really begin to learn about art, poetry and music.

“I was 16 when I first showed my art to the public at a group exhibition and 17 when I had my first solo exhibition. I don’t really like to promote my art to people, which is the reason it took me this long to have my first big solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur. I believe that my art speaks for itself and thus I have nothing to prove.” When questioned on which he prefers most, painting, poetry or music, he says, “art is my priority than comes music. I love poetry too but it is a complicated form of art.”

Oeuvre of Movement No.1 is an exhibition that comes in the form of seascapes produced with a technique known as chiaroscuro and encompasses 3 life body works of Shafarin; art, poetry and music. “Chiaroscuro is a technique perfected by Rembrandt, a famous Dutch painter. It means light and dark in Italian. I use waves and the ocean to release my ideas and emotion because the ocean has no boundaries and it can mean different things to different people.”

Oeuvre which is a French word, describes the sum of the lifework of an artist. In Oeuvre of Movement, Shafarin has skilfully invented a poetic rhythm of waves composed of rich dark shadows teamed with hints of accented highlights; liquid arcs catching alight in the volatile temperaments of the sea.

Shafarin insist that people’s perception on his paintings doesn’t bother him. “I have no expectation on how people should perceive my art. It’s enough for me as long as it stirs something within themselves and they walk away thinking about it.

As William Dobell once said, “a sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.” Saying thus, I think one can sincerely agree that Shafarin has indeed successfully managed to bring his paintings to life.

Published in the September 2010 issue of Vision KL

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