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Aniwar Mamat

White Drift

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Aniwar Mamat

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White Drift by Aniwar Mamat
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White Drift

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Aniwar Mamat

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Overview

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2015

Tapestry Painting - Lamb's Wool Felt

Unique Work

Dimensions: 210cm(H) x 210cm(W) / 82.7"(H) x 82.7"(W)

Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.

Artist Statement

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Aniwar, a Uyghur-rooted, Beijing-based abstractionist of long-standing (since the late
1990’s), has built a career on quietly challenging prevailing social-realist norms. His
fidelity to abstraction, long pre-dating the art world’s fashionable embrace of the neo-pop,
op art abstraction of today, remains at the core of his artistic strategy. In recent
years, the artist has experimented with adapting traditional Uyghur felt making to his
vision of spatial, color-band and color-grid, abstraction. Whether on felt or on canvas,
the artist’s abstract works are consistently minimalist, comprised of bright contrasting
color bands, rejecting more popular narrative, folkloric motifs, while retaining the vivid
Central Asian colors used in traditional Xinjiang carpet and textile design. Aniwar’s
colors – taken from his Uyghur heritage – embrace the brighter hues first imported to
China by Uyghur carpet makers over 1000 years ago via the Silk Road, and differ
radically from colors preferred by the Han of Eastern China. Even today, the more
vivid Central Asian color palette remains far removed from Beijing’s preferred ink greys,
and Imperial reds and yellows.
Today, the artist’s painterly choices are extended to his felt tapestries: Aniwar’s
compositions are decidedly the product of his minimalist aesthetic, while his fidelity to
a Uyghur color palette remains traditional – evoking the emotion of his homeland.
The colors chosen are never arbitrary, instead reflecting a fidelity to his heritage. His
felt tapestry-making color choices may also stem from local limitations, reflecting
limited access to dyes in these remote and economically challenged Xinjiang
villages. The foreground or main body of each felt tapestry for instance is either off
white, light or dark brown, remaining un-dyed, and true to the original lamb’s wool
colors. Only the bands of color are dyed. On a practical level, the mash-up of
contemporary design and traditional Uyghur colors makes the work a bit more
familiar to local craftsman, does not radically inflate production costs, and is likely
providing a simpler means of gaining their initial cooperation. Despite the modern film
shoot, the unchanged workshop of the craftsman seems almost medieval, relying on
skills and basic tools little changed over the centuries.

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Artist Profile

Born: 1962

Hometown: Xinjiang

Lives and Works: Beijing

A singular force in China’s contemporary art scene, Aniwar Mamat creates abstract paintings influenced by his earlier experiments in minimalism and figural representation, as well as by the history of Abstract Expressionism. As a young man in Western China, Aniwar was trained in Uighur carpetmaking, and his works recall felt or woven fabric. But within the abstractions are hints of desert landscapes, wind whipping through cityscapes, and the peaceful quiet of the inner world. To capture these small moments of sensation, he has developed new paints, including a water-soluble pigment that he uses in conjunction with environmental forces such as wind and rain. The result is paintings focused more on poetic and emotional response than the political statements so common in his peers.

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