Unravelling the illusion in Hifzul Kabeer’s artwork
Commencing his journey from the culturally rich ghettos of Khairagarh and pursuing Masters in fine art from the IKSVV, Khairagarh, Sheikh Hifzul Kabeer, continues to spread colours and hues in the national capital. Saint-poet ‘Kabir’ is popularly known for his verses which were quickly absorbed by the soul of the Indian society; Hifzul Kabeer attempts to create similar effects with his brush and canvas. His paintings reflect the imagery of the world around him and show a strong connection between culture, tradition and mythology with some elements of Mughal art in his work.
AA: Chhattisgarh is popular for its rich heritage of folk art and Gond paintings, up to what extent has this influenced your work?
HK: The aesthetics of Gond and tribal art of Chhattisgarh exhibit the innate beauty and emotions of the lives of people living there. They create these designs using simple geometrical shapes, are appealing, and compel you to see and ponder the beauty and complexity that lies in these seemingly simple art forms. The folk and tribal art there has always influenced me as I have spent most of my childhood there. These signs, symbols, shapes and traditional designs have been a source of eternal inspiration for me.
AA: In most of your works, one can see a strong satire and a profound message for events related to history and contemporary society, what inspires this?
HK: I believe that art possesses the power of creating a visual dialogue between the artist and the viewer. I choose it as a medium of conversation, narrating a story of historical and contemporary political, social and cultural developments and depict those stories as a satire in my works. I see sending these messages to the society as a responsible artist and create characters that build connection between my paintings and my audience delivering a message with an ease.
AA: What makes you explore mythology as the central theme of your works?
HK: Human imagination seeks its refuse in mythology when it fails to find answers through science. Mythology has its strong roots in human emotions and beliefs as people live these characters as they explore the stories behind them. In my paintings, I try to convey my message through these mythological characters,, and it gradually evolves into a contemporary form. I believe that characters from Indian mythology which I paint have an inescapable presence in everyday life and language.
AA: How do you create the bridge between your personal beliefs of religion with Hindu Mythology?
HK: Since my childhood, the form and features of Indian Gods and Goddesses attracted me and I was smitten by the magical distortion of their ways. Every god and goddess has more than a way, and the stories behind each state fascinated me. I loved celebrating all the rituals and festivals performed in my surroundings; I was passionately and equally involved in the process of creation of the statues and the community celebrations. Curiously absorbing the sacred magical illusion in the fantasy and form of these deities, I attempted to create a narrative out of it. I never felt the existence of any glaring discrepancy between these different ideologies, so I did not have to build a bridge.