Ali Kazim

Multiple works, variable dimensions

Untitled (black Magic II), watercolour on paper, 2006
Untitled (sleep series), watercolour on wasli, 2008
Untitled (man of faith series), watercolour on paper, 2019
Unfinished 01, watercolour pigments on paper
Unfinished 02, watercolour pigments on paper
Unfinished 03, watercolour pigments on paper
Unfinished 04, watercolour pigments on paper
Unfinished 05, self-portrait, watercolour pigments on wasli paper

Ali Kazim is a fine and highly skilled and accomplished painter, but he is also a deeply compelling and accomplished teller of mysterious and wondrous stories. These stories in turn contain subtle, yet strong references to autobiographical narratives and reflections on the self. The artist uses watercolour pigments as his preferred medium of mark making. Yet Kazim’s work demonstrates a very unusual technique of using these watercolour pigments to give an almost layered, textured effect that give weight and form to the figures in his paintings.
Within these paintings there is a fascinating interplay between the notion of beauty as a combination of visual qualities that please and indulge the aesthetic senses, and the beauty to be found in simple spiritual or religious devotion. The figures in Kazim’s paintings, in embracing the former notion of beauty, refuse, simultaneously, to distance or separate themselves from the latter notion of that which is spiritually beautiful.
Perhaps more than anything, Ali Kazim’s work fascinates and intrigues us because we think we discern within it what one writer has called very private feelings and equally private fragments of autobiography being brought into the public arena. Like the figures he draws and paints, the works reveal as much as they conceal. Surprisingly perhaps, given the artist’s subject matter, these are singularly unsentimental works that do much to (re)animate our ideas of identity, beauty and spiritual devotion.

Text written by: Eddie Chambers