29 May 2016

Hassan Vawda

You have just missed (or maybe not) an exhibition of new paintings by local artist Hassan Vawda. I first came across his paintings at the Penny Fielding shop, bold careless and colourful canvases with scrawled text and primitively-drawn figures. I was especially taken by what I took to be the artist's image of himself as a sort uncouth hairy brute. There was a large painting with some cutting comments about art critics, only £200 I think - I still wish I'd bought it, even if my family might have hated it. At the next Arts Trail Hassan had a lot of work displayed on the outside of a garden wall in Forest Rise, his uncle's house I think. Hassan claims not to take painting very seriously, but he's actually one of the most interesting artists working locally. The latest work is a whole set of paintings inspired by a recent trip to visit family in India.

The new paintings are a bit of a departure, simpler and calmer - the image above is the postcard from the show and isn't really typical. A lot of the paintings feature brown muddy-looking ground, or perhaps dusty beaten earth, with a clear blue stream running through. A father stands in the water, holding his child up high. A man in a loincloth stands by the water. A mother holds her child. The show is titled Indian Cats and in most of the paintings, a cat appears - up to his ears in long grass, swimming in the stream or standing by it. In one, the man holds the cat out of the water. In all the paintings, the cat is red and has a peculiar knot at the end of its tail - I couldn't work out why. Hassan has included a text half explaining and half mystifying about the Indian painter Jamini Roy and how his paintings were an influence. Roy died in 1972 and his art is a striking mix of stylised traditional imagery and sixties pop-art, all bright colours and dark outline drawing. Hassan Vawda isn't copying his style at all, but you can see how he was inspired by the direct simplicity of the subject matter.

The exhibition was at Pictorem Gallery in Hoe Street. Look out for their next show: "Time Capsule "Photographic works by Oliver Hanney" - Artist & Musician - recent graduate Of Norwich University of the Arts"