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In the Dream World of Lutfiyah Nanhuck


Lutfiyah's misty and dreamy canvases transports us into a state of daydreaming. Dive into the universe of this incredibly talented young artist, who just had her first solo expo at Caudan Arts Centre.  

Inside Aparte Lutfiyah 2 
Hello Lutfiyah! Tell us, how did you become an artist?

I've always been creative. Always drawing, always crafting something... But it was through an art and design program at school that I truly discovered painting. Although I found the system a bit restrictive, I nevertheless enjoyed holding a brush in my hand, and I started to conduct my own explorations through abstract art. The process of finding my path, my own way of painting, was highly intuitive.

Can you tell us about your style?

It's not words or humans that captivate me, but colours. I understand everything through them: when someone describes something to me, it's the first element that catches my attention! In my canvases, I provide my own interpretation of the world through colours. They are what come first in my mind, and each colour calls for another. My initial idea is never predetermined – it's the colours that define the main theme of the canvas. Therefore, I'd say that my universe is all about colours!

Your canvases offer an entire game of contrasts and nuances. We truly feel as if we're immersed in a dream! How do you achieve this?

A canvas can take me several days. After applying a very liquid first layer, I set it aside. Then I return to it, to see where the paint leads me. I then build the work with several thin layers overlaid until I achieve the result I seek. I love the process, which is initially very intuitive, then very meticulous: the colours flow freely, and I then fill in what's missing to create the right harmony. I mainly use acrylic paint and oil paint, as well as very small brushes and a palette knife.

What reactions do you observe in response to your works?

Most of the time, people are intrigued. I think abstraction creates this feeling. That's why I'm not comfortable discussing my works once they're finished: on one hand because I don't always have the words to explain what I wanted to depict, and on the other hand because I believe interpretation is a deeply personal experience. Everyone should let their imagination run free. What one feels deep down when looking at a canvas, that's what's most important. 

Inside Aparte Lutfiyah 1 

You've chosen to be a full-time artist. That's brave.

Yes, I suppose! I'm fortunate enough to be able to pursue it. It's been a little over a year now that I've been dedicating myself full-time to it. When I'm not painting, I teach adults and children in my workshop. Although it's going well at the moment, I'm aware that it's not easy to make a living from art in Mauritius. However, I'm convinced that when you're passionate, you find ways to succeed!

Are there artists who inspire you?

Yes, art in general speaks to me a lot. I'm inspired by both Mauritian and foreign artists, but the list is long! Beyond purely artistic inspiration, I'm also interested in how local and foreign artists manage to make a living from their art. With the market being better established in other countries, it's interesting to compare the possibilities and opportunities available to us.

Finally, let's be frank. These colourful universes that emerge from your imagination, they must surely say something about you, right?

That's true! The abstract landscapes I paint reflect a part of my personality: I'm a big dreamer, often with my head in the clouds... And here's the result! 

Follow her work on Instagram, here