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Haris Rashid’s Art Begs The Question, “Is There Any Humanity Left?”

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Revolving around ideas of human atrocities, Haris Rashid showcases wild and endangered animals exhibiting human characteristics.

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An artist by blood, Haris Rashid began his journey at a young age, and was encouraged by his mother who at the time, was his school’s art teacher. Since obtaining a diploma in illustration from The One Academy, Rashid has continued to develop his visual language, by not only experimenting with various mediums and surfaces, but in establishing and working collectively with Studio Mekar. His current work which revolve around ideas of human atrocities, showcase wild and endangered animals exhibiting human characteristics. His work thus probes spectators to wonder whether there is more humanity to be found in his animal subjects than in mankind itself.

Haris Rashid’s Art Begs The Question, “Is There Any Humanity Left?”

The Final Form 2016 (244x122cm), Mixed media on wood panel.

You are now 28 years old, born in Kedah province (Malaysia), raised in Damansara and you actually started painting and drawing from a young age. You even used coffee to paint portraits and landscape, which is rather unusual. Tell us about your first steps as an artist?

I was definitely influenced by mother who was an art teacher. Therefore I was exposed to art from a very young age but I never thought to be an artist myself. I still thought of more conventional careers because I saw first hand how challenging it can be to be a full time artist and I wanted myself to be stable.

Pray I 2017, 90x60cm, Acrylic on canvas 2017.

Have floral and animal patterns commonly used on textile fabrics influenced your art?

I have always been inspired by floral and animal patterns, there is a connection with nature that I find irresistible. Studying illustration, I was drawn to art movements like art nouveau , impressionist painters and ancient paintings from Egypt, China and Turkey and incorporate them in contemporary settings.

Sun bear 2015, Mixed media on wood.

You have a deep fascination for wild animals and wildlife. Your latest artworks embody the idea of animals exhibiting human characteristics. You actually coined the concept of “Humanimals”. What message do you wish to convey there?

The animal series “Humanimal” was actually done in 2016. At the time Humanimal was an exploration of the similarities or differences. I used the animals as metaphors of the human condition. Animals act on instinct , whilst humans can be clouded by expectations and politics. I am interested in the natural world because it is the purest of forms.

As years pass, my work has evolved to nature and human forms. I am constantly using metaphors and symbolism in my work to convey my own narratives that include self discovery, spirituality and Malaysian culture.

Mural 2019 at Toppen Shopping Centre, Johor, Malaysia.

In your art, you are experiment with various mediums and surfaces: canvas, wood, textured pressed paper, and even plastic. What is your selection process when creating an artwork?

Yes I love experimenting with different materials in my work. Typically the medium will be decided after I come up with the concept and the look I want to achieve. I’m always finding new ways to create my art pieces to keep me on my toes.

Pakai Buang 2019 Watercolor, color pencil and plastic on paper.

Are there any current or past Pop Art artists who have influenced you?

I see myself as pop surrealist artist. I am influenced by artists like Frida Kahlo and Guztav Klimt. I am also influenced by current artists like James Jean ,Mar Ryden and Andre Salgado.

Coffee Art live painting at Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur.

How do you view the current art scene in Malaysia? How important is the space given to artists in modern Malaysian society?

The scene I would say is improving with more and more new talents and shows going around. Though we still have a long way to go, to have more people to be aware of art in Malaysia, I am hopeful for the future. It is very important to give more space and opportunity to the art scene in Malaysia and to spread it out to more rural areas and have it become accessible to the masses.

Evolution series, wood panels, mixed media. 2019, Group exhibition at Badai Art Studio Yogyakarta, Indonesia with Artemis Art Gallery.

You have had a tight relationship with Artemis Art Gallery from your very first steps as an artist. How important has been the gallery in your developments and promotion?

I started initially through opening bazaar and booths selling my artworks and prints for 3 years. Then I started my first solo exhibition with Artemis Art Gallery in 2015. Yes it has helped me tremendously to pave my way as a full time fine artist. As an artist that did not study Fine Art , Artemis Art Gallery has helped me exhibit overseas as well as, open my eyes to the possibilities.

Haris Rashid 2019, Nocturnal color pencil and acrylic on paper.

Tell us more about the purpose & mission of Studio Mekar (Artist Collective) which you founded?

Studio Mekar was founded by me to initially have group exhibitions. It then evolved into a platform to help upcoming artist regardless of age and experience, giving them an opportunity to exhibit and meet other like minded people. It is also used to talk about our journey and struggles as a support system to navigate through the art scene. The collective itself is organic and is project based. I am always open for proposals and ideas to collaborate.  It is important for me that artists support one another.

Details of Art installation called “Nature?” 2019 Young Contemporaries(BMS) at Balai Seni Visual Negara.

The five words that best describe your art?

Colorful , symbolic , nature , floral, wild.

In which city can we expect to see your next solo exhibition?

I will be having my next solo exhibition this coming November in Zhan Art Gallery, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya.

Where can we see some of you work online, are these for sale?

Yes some works are for sale through my website or via Instagram.

 

Haris Rashid, Survive 2018, 80x80cm, Acrylic on canvas.

If you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life and path as an artist, who would that be?

Honestly I couldn’t name one constant individual, but I have always been surrounded strong figures and inspiring artists that we inspire and push each other. My mentors are collectives.

For my information, Haris Rashid is contactable via Email @ hrydin@hotmail.com or through his website.

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