The Esoteric gives way to the Universal
This series of paintings, called collectively The Soul of Civilization and completed in summer of 2002, continues the artist’s fascination with language and history, but at a more fundamental, archetypal level.
The relationship of hieroglyphs and ancient sculpture in this series make direct pictorial statements. Figures in many of the works are built up in low relief, giving them a living, three-dimensional quality.
Hussain has reached for one of the earliest civilizations, that of the Indus Valley, for inspiration to make paintings that are contemporary and immediate. The works refer directly to ancient figures uncovered in archaeological finds in the Indus Valley, and combine those references with early hieroglyphics and still-relevant archetypal imagery, conveying the universality of human experience across the ages and across the continents — the emergence of understanding from the depths of the soul.
The heartbreaking events of September 11th caused an cataclysmic shift in focus, as Hussain reached deeply into his own prayer life for inspiration and healing. The Soul of Civilization was the outward result of that tragic but breathtaking internal journey.