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Now Batik

In my search to depict the connectedness of our shared human existence, I was naturally drawn towards pluralism, or the idea that people of different beliefs, backgrounds, and lifestyles can coexist and flourish in the same society. This steadfast belief is informed by my syncretic upbringing, where different religious and cultural beliefs are equally cherished, complemented by my childhood in Dubai, where the immigrant population comprises the majority of the city. In order to bridge the idea of pluralism with my artistic vision of depicting energy, I found inspiration in Javanese Batik.

Pious Mongoose

Pious Mongoose

Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 54 x 108 inches, 2017

Javanese Batik has had a rich history; as a central trading point for traders between Europe and Far East Asia, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and a variety of external cultures have influenced Java for over 500 years. Indonesia’s motto “Unity in Diversity” reflects the pluralistic nature of its most prized tradition: batik.

Saucy Turtles

Saucy Turtles

Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 50 inches, 2016

In Batik, I was inspired by the Hindu and Buddhist allusions to Mount Meru and the Garuda, which serve as representations of the universe we occupy. I believe that much of the work visually represents the energy that I have been so eager to visualize, and Batik patterns such as the Kawung or Sémèn designs are constant sources of inspiration for the series entitled Now-Batik.

Floating Finches

Floating Finches

Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches, 2016

The resist-dye technique that is so commonly associated with Batik has also found its way to these paintings; resist-dye is slow, tactile, and part of the magic attached to the final piece. My process mimics this technique; instead of wax, I use painter’s tape to capture my perception of energy. The paintings, much like Javanese Batik, are a mere snapshot of a much larger universe, and therefore tend to bleed off the edges.

Placid Oxen

Placid Oxen

Acrylic on canvas, 50x 70 inches, 2016

Many of the designs have emerged from dreams. I am often captivated by a specific composition or color scheme when asleep, which I promptly translate to canvas when awake. The recurrence of shapes in these images is intended to create a trance-like effect, enabling the viewer to reflect upon the universe that is hiding behind those shapes.

Perturbed Hyena

Perturbed Hyena

Acrylic on unstretched polyester fabric, 54 x 108 inches, 2018

The paintings in this series are characterized by a symbiosis of chaos and structure, which I believe represents the fine balance that exists between the two in the universe. Energy is naturally entropic i.e. it has a tendency to dissipate. When we look at energy from a myopic point of view, we might find chaos. Pulling the lens back, however, reveals an order to this madness that chaos theorists have sought to unravel for decades.

Grey Goat

Grey Goat

Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches, 2016

Batik is a perfect representation of this balance between chaos and order. Up close, many Batik patterns seem disorderly, characterized by a variety of different strokes and patterns. Closer inspection, however, reveals that these chaotic strokes come together to create a beautiful representation of the human condition. The same quality characterizes the Now-Batik paintings, which relish in the discomfort that arises from keeping the two qualities in balance.

Sacred Swallow

Sacred Swallow

Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, 2016

Naked Wallaby

Naked Wallaby

Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, 2018

Chubby Bunny

Chubby Bunny

Acrylic on canvas, 25 x 25 inches, 2016

Hiding Hedgehog

Hiding Hedgehog

Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 54 x 144 inches, 2017