Nota dan Yasin Untukmu

Written by : Zena Khan

Nota dan Yasin Untukmu is a 2013 mixed media on canvas work by the celebrated contemporary calligraphist, Husin Hourmain. Five panels -to reflect the five pillars of the Islamic faith- have been worked in detailed calligraphic style that has fast become Husin’s hallmark to create a personal tribute to his late father and also speak about the artist on three levels: as a son, a Malay and a Muslim.

It is said that everything has a heart, and the heart of the Quran is the (Surah) Yasin. A prayer to be read for the deceased, the Yasin holds strong meaning for the deeply religious Husin on several levels.The first work Husin has created after Awal Hurouf, Asal Hurouf, Husin shows an immediate artistic growth by taking the individual Arabic characters of Ya and Sin that he has painted in the past and paired them to create Yasin in large bold font over the main body of canvas in vibrant yellow and blue. Husin likens it to the progression of learning his Arabic alphabet and going on to read the Quran. As a tribute to his late father, it is fitting that the artist is using the tittle of the prayer he regularly recites in his memory.

The panel bordering the painting on the right is inscribed with stamps from the passport of Husin’s father, a journalist who travelled regularly for work. The major stamp on the top corner reads “Persekutuan Tanah Melayu” which translates into the Federation of Malaya, as what Malaysia was still called in the 1960’s. Husin indirectly touches on the Tanah Melayu issue, which is currently a great source of discourse locally. He addresses the issue of Malay rights, touching on the social contract written post-independence between the Malays, colonial powers and immigrant workers, asking for an exploration of how the Malay population will be affected if there is dissolution of this contract.

The fact that his late father acts as the reference point has brought a personal insight into the painting, which is furthered by the indecipherable notes he has written over and around the stamps.
Husin records his memories of his father and is speaking to him in a personal manner as a son, underlined by the fact he has signed this painting with his father’s nickname for him, “Man”.

Nota dan Yasin Untukmu shows Husin’s tremendous progression as an artist from his triumphant solo Awal Hurouf, Asal Hurouf by combining his previous creative achievements with a development in concept. Husin layers both multiple concepts with physical layering of paint and collage to create an impactful piece that carries personal and social resonance.

Artwork Caption :

Artist : Husin Hourmain

Title : Nota & Yasin Untukmu

Size : 365cm x 213cm

Medium : Mix Media & Acrylic on Canvas

Year : 2013

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