“Adnan Mohamed – better known in the art workshop as Adi – has been coming along to Project Ability’s Aspire group for a couple of years now. You might say he’s a relative newcomer then, but one who already makes a very big impression!
From the outset Adi’s interest has been in portraying personalities from a broad sweep of popular culture; Movie actors from 1960’s films, TV personalities, Star Wars characters, wrestlers and Superheroes. Occasionally Adi draws these figures freehand but more often he pens them onto acetate paper and uses an overhead projector to create big bold pastel drawings and acrylic paintings.
Most recently Adi has been modelling clay heads. He jokes with me that he has enough to open a shop now! The clay sculptures start off in a similar fashion with Adi bringing in a picture of a famous character or celebrity, or asking Stewart at the front desk to source an image of someone special. Adi has been employing a couple of techniques to build his heads. Sometimes he makes a solid oval shape for the head and balances it on a tapered cone of clay for the neck, after he has added some features he must slice the head in half and ‘scoop the brains out’ to make it hollow, then join it back together. Other times he will construct the head around a ball of paper, then make the features. Either way it has to be hollow before he fires it in the kiln.
Perhaps because the sculptural techniques can take a little longer than his drawings and paintings the characters can change a bit during the making and sometimes finish up being someone entirely different. Adi seems pretty open to this idea of the personality emerging out of the clay as he is working on it. What we are now starting to see are mythical types and characters from folklore rather than specific people.
Adi has just finished making a comical head that is wearing a Fez hat, this reminds him of a cheeky cartoon character he’s seen that kept blobbing its tongue out. He has also created a moustachioed man with an enormous Quiff hairstyle and an old Captain of days gone by who smokes like a chimney, not to mention a demon with horns and fire flaming down out of its’ mouth.
I don’t think Adi has produced quite enough clay heads to open a shop yet, but there are several that would sit beautifully together as a group and I’m very much looking forward to a time when we can see these artworks in an exhibition.”
-Meredith Crone, Aspire Tutor