Although you may not have heard of him, Hesham Malik is one of the leading artists of his generation. His works are covetable collectables and as such, exhibitions and showings are usually reserved for executives or private collectors where they can sell for upwards of $1million.
But Malik is a humble person and a gentle soul and he believes his work should not be cloistered in the upper echelons and so 28 of his paintings from the last four years are currently on display in the lobby of the H Hotel on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road in a temporary exhibition is titled The Hidden Soul.
“If you walk around and you find one painting that grabs your attention and you feel there is something about it then that is something about you,” Malik explains. “Look at it and search inside it and you will find. It can’t all be about me, you are in there somewhere too.”
Malik chooses mainly to paint in an abstract style that contains hints of figures, animals and sometimes musical instruments. He says, he is deliberately vague so that, the viewer can engage: “Whether it is an animal, a face or a musical instrument it is done to challenge the viewer,” he says. “Most of the paintings too have something missing; that is for the viewer to imagine. Maybe there is a figure with no hands. That doesn’t mean they don’t have hands, it means I have left it open for the viewer. This is what brings them into discussion with the art work or with themselves and I am interested in that dialogue.”
Malik is an Indian artist who was born in Bahrain, lived in Mumbai and now lives in Dubai. Soft spoken and extremely thoughtful, Malik explains that the inspiration for his canvases come from strangers as he likes to volunteer.
“It is really different when you meet people you don’t know,” he says. “I get inspired. Also when you speak to older people, they speak of wars and times gone by and they make you think of stories and spark your imagination. Children too are so pure. I have worked with children with special needs and they have such positive energy. I just think it is very interesting to meet people who are genuine.”
Recently one of Malik's art works from the Forbidden series was sold to a large art collecting family in New York and another to a Qatari collector. Therefore, by all accounts, Malik is establishing himself as one of the youngest master artists of the moment.
* The Hidden Soul is in The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai until November 18.