With a dear 'art appreciating friend' I recently visited the white & clean art gallery The Edge in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition shown is the latest solo exhibition of Rafiee Ghani named HOMELAND. According to the text in the beautiful catalog the name 'relates to the increasingly common phenomenon of people and even whole communities being displaced by violent conflicts and natural calamities in various parts of the world'.
'Even in Malaysia, the annual floods in the east coast of the peninsula continue to cause hardship on the people.
The 26 oil on canvas works (most of them dated in 2014/15) are not merely pretty pictures in vibrant colours but reminders of people who flee their homes in search of refuge for various reasons.
As an artist who has traveled far & wide, Rafiee finds the plight & sight of communities that have to overcome great obstacles to resettle far from their homeland very moving.
Rafiee aims to delve into global & social issues and highlight such problems instead of closing his eyes to them.
Born in Kedah (peninsula Malaysia) Rafiee grew up in a village environment and moved to Kelantan in 1962. With an interest in art sparked by European postcards, the young artist traveled to Europe when he was just 18. After a stint in a print workshop in the Hague, the Netherlands ( Academy for visual arts), Rafiee returned to Malaysia and completed his studies at the MARA/UTM technical university in Kuala Lumpur and subsequently at the Manchester Metropolitan University in the eighties. In 1993 he decided to devote himself full time to art.'
As expats we are also living outside our original homeland, we found in Malaysia or in other countries in the wide world a new homeland, sometimes temporarily, short or for a long period, other people migrated for good. Most of us were not driven by violent circumstances or calamities nor were huge obstacles found. On the contrary the majority found a better life and more luxury (and more pleasant weather) than at home. As for myself: this exotic country brought me such an inspiration for my silk painting & photography & editing colourful cards.