Katy Texas

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Katy, TX (May 13, 2016) On Saturday, May 7th, The Institute for Hispanic Culture of Houston held an opening reception for the new art exhibit by world renowned abstract artist HANAFI, from Indonesia.  The exhibition, When the Spanish and Portuguese left:  Story of the Spices, runs through May 18 at the Institute, located at 3315 Sul Ross Street in Houston.

 HANAFI with Nubia

HANAFI and Nubia Gala

Artist, Nubia Gala from historic old town Katy, was instrumental in organizing HANAFI’s visit to the U.S. by bringing together the Consulate of Indonesia and the Ministry of Culture and Arts in Indonesia to sponsor the visit, including his exhibition at the Institute for Hispanic Culture.  Gala met HANAFI in Jakarta in 2003 and, as an artist he became her mentor.  Her work to bring about this International, diplomatic exhibition showcases her passion for merging art and culture from all over the world.  “Houston is a multi-cultural city with ninety-two consulates,” Gala said, “my goal is that people learn about the similarities and embrace the differences, which is what makes up our national identities.”

Story of the Spices brings to life the distant history of Spain’s and Portugal’s involvement with the trade of five precious spices that once were worth their weight in gold and available only to royalty in the 1500’s.  HANAFI’s abstract paintings are characterized by a minimalist aesthetic that has been compared to the Japanese Mono-ha tradition.  The artist has also embedded a subtle quality of realism in the spatial relationships between the abstract forms, echoing both the relationships of natural forms in a landscape, and the sensation of being physically and emotionally present within that landscape.  This is his first exhibition in the United States.

 HANAFI installation

HANAFI working and the installation

“The exhibition is an excellent example of the history and experience in Indonesia by way of the spice trade,” said Christine Poleski Gaona, JD, President of Oakstone Human Capital, LLC and Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association.  “The abstract paintings evoke the sights and smells of spices and colonialism,” she said, “it was an historical sensory experience not to be missed.”

The ceremony included remarks by Honorable Consul General of Indonesia, Mr. Henk Edward Haroinsong. He spoke of the vast richness of Indonesian culture and the diversity of dialects.  He gave a brief background of HANAFI’s career, with art exhibits all over the world including the Girona Museum in Spain and the National Gallery in Jakarta.  He also mentioned that it is an honor to have HANAFI exhibiting his work in the U.S. for the first time.

 Group 2

From left: Nubia Gala; HANAFI; , Consul of Indonesia Mr. Henk Saroinsong; , Consul of Colombia Luis Miguel Lopez Mendez; Director of Hispanic Institute of Houston, Lia Tusanotte; Inmediate Past President, consul General of Spain Enric Panes Calpe

Lia Tusanotte, Past President elect for the Institute of Hispanic Culture in Houston, introduced HANAFI, whose U.S. visit is sponsored by the government of Indonesia. Part of his mission here is to connect with university students and faculty to exchange ideas and plan projects that will facilitate more connections with the art community in Houston and in the U.S.

HANAFI then gave a brief speech in which he mentioned the energy and excitement of his first visit to the U.S. He mentioned the hustle of day-to-day activities in the U.S. and his observations about art and culture. “The universe is in God’s hands,” he said, “every creation of God is in rounded shapes, men and women create squares.” He went on to say, “God did not create the round earth without reason, it might be so we could not hide.”  With this profound reflection, the exhibit was opened.


HANAFI with Concul of Colombia, Luis Miguel Lopez Mendez

Those in attendance were very impressed with the exhibition.  Among them were Consul General of Colombia, Luis Miguel Lopez Mendez and Consul General of Spain Enric Panes Calpe. For the installation, HANAFI painted on the wall and laid spices along the floor. Included are cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, peppers and cloves brought from Indonesia.  “His paintings are serene and peaceful, they are very Zen,” said artist Nubia Gala, “the general reaction by the attendants is that his work should be exhibited at a museum.”

The exhibit is open to groups, schools and University students by appointment. Please call 713-528-1492 to schedule.  Story of the Spices will be open to the public at the closing of the exhibit on May 18 from 12:00p.m. to 8:00 p.m.