Siri November: Terik Pagi and Riuh Petang
Written by Zoey Moo
The scenes in Husin Othman’s diptych named Siri November: Terik Pagi and Riuh Petang are plucked out of his boyhood memories of playing in the village ditches with his friends. While the black-and-white colour scheme is ideal for depicting a hazy narrative from the past, minimal colours add interest and pick out details in the painting, such as the glimmer of light on a face or a deep green cast on the wooden cart.
Through his artwork, Husin, a graduate from the MARA University of Technology, demonstrates a sound knowledge and eye for composition by balancing the visual weight of the elements in the painting – light and dark as well as the subjects and scenery. Husin also creates a sense of perspective and depth through the distant telephone poles in the background of the painting. His brushstrokes at times appear to be spontaneous and at other times deliberate, but they showcase the artist’s deft and expressive technique using acrylic.
Concept-wise, the artwork represents a visual diary that examines two situations that are similar from the aspect of the location and characters, but starkly in contrast at the same time. The left panel, Terik Pagi, depicts a tranquil scene where two boys bob on calm water in a makeshift raft improvised from scrap wood. In the right panel, Riuh Petang, we meet the boys again but this time, a violent storm is roaring and they are drenched, scared and scrambling to get their umbrella open.
This particular memory intrigued the artist as to him it portrays the possibility of experiencing joy and trepidation in every experience we go through. Translated as the “scorching morning” and “chaotic evening”, the titles of the four-foot by four-foot panels also emphasise the contrast between the two circumstances. Far from having negative connotations, however, the painting conveys an uplifting impression, in that peaceful and turbulent times alike are memorable when experienced with other people, especially close ones.