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#KoraliReview - Nazimbe's Watercolour Journals at the NAG

Nazimbe with his paintings: Photo credit Shaari.

Take a hike Edgelords, this exhibition isn’t going to curb your teen angst – come back to the next one.

Nazimbe's paintings not only depict the Maldives of yesteryear but also emanates a calming and tranquil aura that resonates with viewers in an incredibly soothing fashion. Stark contrast to the Maldives as Ive come to know now, I almost got hit twice on the way to the exhibition itself, courtesy of some Scoopy dhathas.

I don’t think people had cameras back in the day so we can’t know for sure how things actually were back then; but if his art speaks for his character he seems like an incredibly straightforward guy and I am willing to take his word for it.

Some people say that Nazimbe’ has been painting for so long, he can do it with his eyes closed. Each brushstroke carries the weight of decades of practice, effortlessly capturing and recreating the intrinsic essence of the Maldives in its arguably most pristine state.

A masboatu out at sea - photo cred Shaari.

Nazimbe's certainly achieved a knack for capturing the vibes of a time when the only stress was deciding between sunbathing and more sunbathing. The paintings evoke a sense of nostalgia for a time many of us, myself included, have not experienced firsthand but can almost tangibly feel through Nazimbe’s skillful rendering.

As much as part of me wishes otherwise, there were no dolphins high-fiving each other in the background or a coconut with sunglasses. No surrealism here, all the paintings are grounded in reality and more laid-back than a sloth on a hammock (which would also make a pretty cool painting!)

Also, how’s this for an abstract observation, my friend said looking at the paintings made Simon and Garfunkel music start playing in her head and I can totally get behind that. The kind of anecdotal commentary you just wouldn’t get from a professional critic.

I know I’ve said it a lot but there's a therapeutic quality to his work. A balm for the soul (Vicks, not Tiger balm) in the form of serene landscapes that invite a quiet contemplation. Who needs a meditation app when you can stare at a Nazimbe’s art and instantly feel the peacefulness?

Having said that the art itself isn’t very thought provoking. What you see is what you get, there’s not much to gain from delving deep into the subject matter. Nazimbe’ set out to create an entire series of paintings that transforms a canvas into a window to the past and that’s exactly what he did. Some people might say it feels surface level or shallow art but I say art doesn’t need to be complicated.

Each painting feels like a love letter to the past, to a childhood home from a long time ago. Honestly even if you’re dead inside and have no interest in the arts, this is worth checking out just to get a small glimpse into the history of our nation.

Opinions of @just_a_revivv only.


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