Yusof Ghani’s fascination with the human form has seen him move from his first series, Siri Tari (1984 -1991), where he combined abstract expressionism with figuration to make some strong socio-polital statements on humanitarian issues, through to Segerak (2003), which once again explores the figure, but this time without the angst involved.
Segerak is the artist’s reinterpretation of the figure, but this time he has approached it from a more philosophical point of view. Instead of making personal statements about issues that he felt strongly about such as war, famine and poverty, and injustice to mankind, his works have become more of a social commentary about the positive and negative forces in our world today. In many of his Segerak pieces, the works contain a personal story and/or reflect upon the good and evil in our world today. Although, Segerak’s themes are somewhat mellow in comparison to those represented in Siri Tari, the works are no less energetic, and contain a vibrancy that have taken his works to a new level. Using a combination of mediums, from charcoal and chalk to pastels and oil paint, he has employed a variety of spontaneous marks and lines to document human movement. With broad, confident brushstrokes he applies varying layers of colour and intermittent expressive lines to his canvas to capture the mood, feeling and atmosphere of the story he is trying to tell.
Since Segerak was born in 2003, Yusof Ghani’s journey has taken him from a purely experimental stage in Segerak I, where he was finding his footing with the human form again, to a more confident, definite Segerak II. In Segerak I, his emphasis was on the movements of figures in specific activities, such as walking, running, or catching a bus and his colour tones were predominantly red. Segerak II however saw him expanding his palette to incorporate more colours on larger than life canvases. These works were less concerned with the particular activities the figures were engaging in but were more interested in capturing figurative movements and energy. These works emanate with tremendous life force.
Segerak III has now taken the artist’s works to a whole new level. Limiting his palette to blacks, whites and browns, colour has become secondary to the work. Spontaneity in his use of lines and of alternative materials such as bitumen, charcoal and chalk layered on various types of linen and polyester to represent the figure are the focus, giving this series a unique freshness that sets it apart from its predecessors.