Jamil Ahmed doesn’t want to be famous as an incidental abstract painter in Mindanao. That’s probably the reason why his name will remain unfamiliar and unrecognized in local artist circles for the simple reason he rejects any kind of limelight.
Although Jamil had always been inspired by the 1950 abstract works of Jose Joya and American abstract artists tossing their paints on the canvas, this Zamboanga born painter would rather come up with his own original works that best expressed his feelings which respond to events and his own surroundings, like his “Urban Jungle” which expressed the way he looks at the hazy skyline of Manila or even Davao at sunrise. His Joya-inspired “Deconstruction” reveals his inner struggle to rearrange elements in his mind, making sure these fragile elements do not fall into a dark abyss.
Although he started playing with abstract works in the mid-1960s at the University of Mindanao, those years in between brought him into the world of Amorsolo and his romantic rendition of the provincial countryside, so provincial you could even smell the wet rice stalks after a thunderstorm. He agreed to one-man exhibits before in early 2000, not because he wanted them but because the art gallery that set them up wanted to push his Amorsolo inspired works.
Jamil found it interesting that Joya was a student once of Amorsolo at UP Diliman in the early years, churning out country paintings like the master —but later revolted against his realist art, turning everything upside down after seeing the abstract art movement overturning American modern contemporary art .
Fact is, Jamil tried to capture this movement in his “Magnitude 4” work that shows the bold downward strokes done in thick impasto using earthly colors. Perhaps a similar movement is seen in his “Karat 14” which show the earth’s strata crushing down on a rock that eventually turns into a diamond beneath the earth… but Jamil was quick to admit that his “Birdisland” was intended to be an island at sunset, but its shape turned into a big bird, and so came up with this title.
All his works are expected to be displayed a few months from now, inside a new furniture showroom at SM City Ecoland.
(Jamil Ahmed can be reached at this email > firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook messenger at Davao Art Society or mobile phone 0936 317 4922)