GEORGE TOWN, Oct 6 — When you look at Maizul Affendy Baharuddin’s paintings in Rabak Series Volume 1, you get a sense that grief is like a dark cave with the turbulent smudges of colours representing the struggle to make sense of a world gone dark.
Maizul locked himself in his studio for more than two years as he grappled with the loss of close friends and his own siblings in 2020 and 2021.
Maizul Affendy explaining the emotions depicted in his abstract paintings to visitors at The Art Gallery Penang.
“It was as if I locked myself inside a ‘cave’, it was all dark and full of destruction within. I was so overcome with grief, I could not bring myself to do anything initially,” he said when explaining the dark theme of his works.
The 45-year-old eventually found little slivers of light in his life by pouring his emotions into his work.
“As you can see from the progression of my works, I began to find some light... I was starting to move on and free myself from my ‘cave’,” he said.
Rabak Series Volume 1 helped him to let go of the darkness and step into a new chapter.
Maizul Affendy explaining how the dark theme of his paintings are representations of a cave of grief.
“These works are very personal to me, it started out as a political commentary in 2019 before I continued with a series on grief in remembrance of my artist friends, my sister and my brother,” he said.
Maizul said his close friend and fellow artist Muid Latiff died in April 2020 and he created some works in remembrance of him.
“After that, Nasir Nadzir, my bubbly student who was always so cheerful, died in early 2021, just a month after I told him to work on his own solo exhibition. Months after that, in June, my sister died and after that, my brother,” he said.
He said the 15 works showcased in Rabak Series Volume 1 were produced between 2019 and early this year.
Maizul Affendy (left) speaking to visitors at his solo exhibition.
“After this I will be beginning new works on rain and rainbows for the upcoming Open Studios Penang,” he said.
In his commentary on Maizul’s works, art curator Ivan Gabriel said Rabak Series Volume 1 is not just a story of grief but also one of love, especially the artist’s persevering love for his friends and siblings whom he had lost.
A visitor at Maizul Affendy’s solo exhibition ‘Rabak Series Volume 1.’
The exhibition at The Art Gallery Penang, Level 4, Belissa Row, Pulau Tikus is open to the public until October 14.
The gallery opening hours are from 2pm to 6pm from Fridays to Sundays while those who wish to visit outside of these hours may do so by appointment.
Poster of Maizul Affendy’s exhibition courtesy of The Art Gallery Penang.