In Volume Eleven, Ghazali unveils his ‘Cut Paintings’ series which combines geometric abstraction with traditional fabrics from the Malay ethnic groups of Indonesia and Malaysia. Cutting into fabrics from traditional costumes, typically used in festive and religious ceremonies, and also painted canvases, Ghazali arranges these cut pieces in a series of folds and layers, that creates a single vertical slit down the middle of the composition. Upon closer inspection, this chasm is made with disparate fabrics placed askew – subtle shifts in fabric grain and dye provide aesthetic pleasure; hemlines and shadows from folds and layers create bold lines.
Viewers are presented with hints of the artist’s aesthetic responses via the act of cutting and the progressive layering of materials. The process acts as a function of Ghazali’s suggestions embedded in the work and the connections pursued to provide knowledge about his past experiences and affective state. The layered elements are juxtaposed clearly, suggesting a sense of story and inviting connection.
Underlyingly, it reaches into the unconscious to reveal personal meaning for Ghazali within his ethno-political conflict for diasporic identity. As such, the body of work serves as a cathartic process for Ghazali as a conduit to seek balance between anarchy and peace. On one side, Ghazali focuses on the balance of materials, colour and form in the midst of presenting scrupulously clean skew lines, but they can also be read as a rupture in an otherwise perfect state – they are a reflection of his own dissidence and oblique perspectives.