Beauty in the Beast

Art, Drawing and illustration
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Beauty in the Beast

When it comes to ferocious wild beasts, where most people will only perceive the sense of danger and terror in the face of these creatures, young artist Haris Rashid sees beneath the sharp teeth and claws to the innate beauty within them. This becomes the central focus of his debut solo exhibition – to accentuate the natural elegance of wildlife in hopes of raising the awareness about environmental conservation.

It’s not the first showcase of his art. Haris Rashid, who was born in Kedah and now makes KL his home, has joined various exhibitions and exercised his skills by collaborating with brands. Aside from that, the 22-year-old is an active participant in bazaars and art markets, including the Fuyoh Art Bazaar in Publika, where he promotes his works through the bookmarks, badges and shirts he makes to sell. He has also teamed up with local phone casing brand Just In Case for his latest venture; you can browse his series – at the moment there are six designs, and wildlife-themed no less – on www.justincase.com.my.

For this showcase, portraits of animals are executed in Eastern-styled art nouveau with nuances of neo-classical romanticism. You’ll find lush flora designs surrounding the creatures while simple geometric patterns adorn their hide or fur, with underlying calligraphic strokes and batik-like washes. If you look closely, a couple of the artworks carry a message: There’s one of an elephant head sporting sliced off tusks and overlaying two crossed hunting guns, with a blotch of crimson in the background – it draws attention to the illegal poaching of elephants for their tusks that put the large mammals in danger of extinction. Some may call the artworks florid or too sentimentalised, but if they are able to inspire viewers and ignite the urge in them to act in favour of the conservation of forests and jungles, especially of the wildlife, why not.

By: Tham Ying Hui

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