High T With..Husin Hourmain (Malaysia Tatler)

The first malaysian artist to create a unique identity of islamic art. Husin Hourmain shares his thoughts on seeking his own roots (Malaysia Tatler)

TITLLE TATTLE: Being an Islamic Calligraphy painter, what are the challenges the contemporary art world poses to you?

HUSINHOURMAIN: I have never considered contemporary art as a challenge, rather as an opportunity to enable today’s society to understand Islam through simple visual projections. Through maturity over the years in art, I feel the need to start making our own Malaysian Contemporary Art signature, not that of the west. Since the calling of my religion, I re-learnt the alphabets from the basics and studied the calligraphic history throughout the world, and thus produced Awal Hurouf Asal Hurouf.

TT : Share with us your journey in making all the artwork for this exhibition?

HH : In 2004, I had my first solo followed by the second solo in 2008. I started working on my calligraphy taking one it one step at a time. There are three parts to the development. In the first part (2009), the paintings perpetuated expressive gestural lines, saturated with bright colours, projected an individual emotion. In the second part (2010), the pictorial scheme was towards a bolder use of lines integrated within layered lettering composition. In the third part (2011), the use of colours was minimal with bolder strokes.

TT: Why focus only on Malay Archipelago jawi alphabets rather than the phrases?

HH :Words are images too. With words we communicate. Words are active meadiators to conceptually project the meaning, Even when we were schooled we learn the alphabets before we are able we read phrases. I took the same approach to query myself on how well I know my basics. My concept was rather than jumping into phrases, better to allow everyone to visually understand the aesthetic forms of the Jawi alphabets.

TT: Is your work, at the moment, going through further evolution beyond painting?

HH: I am sure my works will evolve ; I am just at the beginning stage of my career. I may have different subject matters or even different subject matters or even different mediums later. I am still at the elementary stage of learning more about my religion and my art. I intend to fuse both elements together step by step until one day I feel I am qualified to graduate from it.


Coming from a graphic design and photography background, Husin Hourmain ventured into the world of fine arts as a full time artist at the age of 40. The owner of a successful studio spent three prolific years creating the inspiring monumental series known as Awal Hurouf Asal Hurouf. Catch the preview of Husin Hourmain’s 3rd solo exhibition at Core Design Gallery until February 28. Visit www.coredesigngallery.com for more info.

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