Artist Profile: Naufal Abshar

Arts | Written By, NOW!Singapore | March 5th, 2016

In the run up to Singapore Art Week, which took place this January, Indonesian artist Naufal Abshar showcased a solo exhibition entitled “HAHA” at Canvas Creative Space. To understand more about the inspiration and meaning behind his work, we asked him a few questions about how found his passion for art, what he wants to express through his work, and where he goes from here.

Artist Profile: Naufal Abshar

How did you get started as an artist?
I actually never thought that I would become an artist, but when I was younger I simply loved to draw, anytime and anywhere. When I first told my parents that I wanted to become an artist, they were shocked. However, once I told them that it was dream, they became fully supportive. My mum even started introducing me to some successful Indonesian artists, such as the famous sculptor, Sunaryo, and painter, Nyoman Masriadi. Meeting these artists was the turning point where I promised myself that one day, I would become a professional artist too.

How did you get involved at Singapore Art Week?
It started with Art Porters Gallery giving me the opportunity to exhibit my artworks at Art Stage Singapore. Then I received an offer from Canvas to arrange my first solo exhibition in Singapore around the time of Art Week.

Artist Profile: Naufal Abshar

What can people expect from your exhibitions? What particular topics do you explore?
People can expect attractive vibrant, colourful paintings that hide a critical analysis of socio-political issues. I mostly explore the topic of laughter, particularly the different meanings behind a laugh. Laughter is not always caused by humour and happiness, but it could also stem from fear, mockery, rejection, shrewdness and so many more things. I use the symbol of laughter and its many meanings to comment on and criticise social and political topics that I take great interest in.

Much of your art centres around the act and experience of laughter and humour, what do you think the relationship between the two are?
The relationship between laughter and humour is very complex. Humour often causes laughter, but laughter does not always originate from humour.

Artist Profile: Naufal Abshar

Is there a particular cause or concern that you want to express through your art now more than ever?
I used to focus on expressing my views on Indonesian politics through my artworks. However, now I focus on expressing my concerns of daily social issues that might seem petty but are actually quite profound, such as how we often hide our true identities and the complexity of human relationships.

Where do you find most of your inspiration?
I find most of my inspiration from observations of daily life problems that happen around us, especially matters that are often ignored but actually hold deep philosophical meaning. I also often find inspiration in movies, art and fashion magazines, comic books and video games.

Artist Profile: Naufal Abshar

What are your favourite mediums to work with, e.g. acrylic on canvas, sculpting etc.?
My favourite mediums to work with are definitely acrylic, soft pastel & oil stick on canvas.

What are your plans after your show at Singapore Art Week?
I will be busy with preparations for an artist residency in Ireland, a painting/photography exhibition in Jakarta and several other art projects.

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