Hakim Alakel’s Seeing things from above is devoted to works which spotlights on human behavior in domestic settings and doing everyday tasks or enjoying themselves in ordinary ways – scenes which are an imaginative take on popular Yemeni culture and modern life.
From the bird’s eye view, Hakim’s works offers us the chance to witness human activity in a different way. Dramatic representations are distinguished by forms in angles rendered in bold patterns of color that accentuate the abstractness of the pieces. The paintings are carefully composed with constructed geometries and high-keyed palette juxtaposing warm tones with cool and bits of other colors that produce visual vibration – a fascinating combination of jarring modernity with wonderful traditional design motifs.
The color that illustrates these works is vivid, contrasting, and lush. These three aspects combine to demonstrate equally bright tales in these simplistic settings – full, loaded, directed at the viewer; the emotional impact is fascinating. Cerulean blues made brighter alongside flaming orange bring to the table a sense of excitement. Radiant reds and lemony yellows, flesh tones and spring greens bring out the extraordinary in the ordinary.
His brushworks are fluid, predetermined, and linear, but somehow he manages to combine them with random and spontaneous movements. The combination of the long and short, and thick and thin brushstrokes add to the tension inherent in his unusual depictions, making his works both compelling and highly appealing.
DESIRES AND ANXIETIES
Educated in Moscow, Hakim’s work also shows influence of the art nouveau. The ornate surface patterning in some of his paintings, can never determine whether these paintings are focused in its pattern-making, or in its subject-matter, or its emotional charge. It doesn’t have a central schema. All the various levels work strongly and work together, interacting and compounding but not necessarily agreeing into a determinate sense, the subject. Yet the body of his work is easy-to-read: every part is visible and plays its appointed role. And the contrast in the surface of his work is highly visible; the figures while in acts of play or relaxation expresses tension – the artist’s constant expression of desires and anxieties – a glimpse at reality that cannot be verbalized but instead it has to be visualized.
As the key to the power of representational work is the draftsmanship, Hakim is a skilled draftsman who has the ability to say and express it in something unique and each flight into his works is a visual experience that transforms the viewer from the realm of representational realism into an abstract stage and leaves his viewer ample space for eye and mind to wander.
Hakin Alakel is from a generation of Middle Eastern painters who are very serious about what they do, and he has always been aware of his place in Yemeni history. On view in this exhibition are paintings of high quality, a continuing theme in his work and as the world keeps on changing, the richness of his new art will remain to compel anyone who loves the art of painting. – JOE KENNETH SCHWARZ
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Hakim Alakel, was born in 1965 in Taiz, Yemen. He studied under artist Ali Hashim from 1987-1994 and went to Moscow State Academy, graduated with honors and a Master of Arts degree specialized in Murals in 1997. He was advisor to the Minister of Culture and has exhibited extensively in Yemen and the MENASA region, also in Moscow, China and Japan.