Interview: Adil Ghani | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Adil Ghani

Interviews | August 14, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

Interview: Adil Ghani
Luca Curci
talks with Adil Ghani during SECRET SPACES, second event of BORDERS ART FAIR 2023, in Venice at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Educated at Universiti Technology MARA, Perak-based Adil Abdul Ghani is the creative powerhouse behind the ceramic art brand RAAQUU, which was founded in 2020. Adil has a passion for Raku ceramics, a Japanese pottery style first developed in the 1580s that is characterised by the removal of a clay object from the kiln at the height of the firing, causing it to cool very rapidly. Raku ceramics are revered because of the unpredictability of the firing technique, which combines extreme heat and a reduction process that sees the new ceramic piece placed straight into combustible material – usually sawdust – which is then ignited, causing unique colours to coat the piece. Adil’s works have been showcased in exhibitions across Malaysia, and while he has applied his talents to a variety of pottery styles, it’s his Raku pieces, acclaimed for their rainbow patinas and metallic coatings created through this unique process, that have earned him a loyal following. Inspired by nature, Adil taps into the natural world to create clay and grogged earthenware ceramics with mysterious, smoky features in a style that’s known as “painting with fire”. With more than 20 years of experience, Adil’s elegant, awe-inspiring works include everything from unique ceramic art pieces to tableware, sculptures, home décor, and gifts.

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Adil Ghani
– I am currently working on a range of raku-fired sculptures as well as a 40-inch vase that will become one of my signature series. The large format vases require a special handling technique, custom-made ironworks and skill to produce. Besides working on new pieces, I am actively seeking participation in exhibitions around the world to forge new partnerships in bringing my pieces to new collectors around the world.

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
– In my family, I am the only person to pursue the arts. I paint and draw too but during my undergraduate studies, I was offered ceramics as a course. At first, I was reluctant but soon fell in love with pottery. In 2002, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics from UiTM. In 2006, I was approached by a State Development Agency in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to undergo training in Porcelain technology. It was then that I was exposed to the Raku technique practised by Japanese potters. Once home, I started my experiments with Raku and since then there was no turning back. During my raku experimentation, I was amazed by the spontaneity and unpredictable results that were produced by copper matte raku. This triggered the shift in my work from traditional Japanese Raku to a more Western style/contemporary copper matte raku technique. The pandemic was one of the greatest turning points for me. In order to expand my reach, I explored working together with Everpeaks, a digital export specialist team. We explored exporting my pieces on global marketplaces such as Amazon and ETSY. This opened up a world of possibilities when my pieces were well received by the global community of ceramic enthusiasts. The feedback that they provided was amazing and inspired me to explore bringing my work to different communities around the world. This positive experience further reinforced my belief that no matter where you are from, art is appreciated globally and there is someone out there who will appreciate your work.

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

LC – How is your creative process?
– My creative process is a multi-faceted approach to both product development, design and technique. I usually start with ideation in the form of a project or ideal piece. I do take into consideration what techniques are required to complete the piece and evaluate the technical requirements.
My creative process now has grown to also take into consideration input from members of my team with their diverse experiences and specialized skills. I believe that in the end, it results in a more effective and accessible piece of work.

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
– My work is generally in earthenware with a focus on raku firing. My signature finish is raku copper matte. The colours are inspired by nature and resemble the Aurora on some pieces, and a dancing flame on others. I love the reactions received when ceramic enthusiasts encounter my pieces for the first time.

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
– I believe that there has never been a better time for artists. Embracing change, evolving with the community and as an artist yourself is a rewarding journey. Change is inevitable. Opportunities for artists to reach a global community with their work are abundant if you know where to look.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
– Secret Spaces is a theme that resonates with my work greatly. Imagine finding a hidden gem, a flash of colour, or an inspiration piece in an unexpected place. This was the representation of my journey. From the beginning as a potter, to finding my calling with raku-fired pieces and now creating awareness within the ceramic “space”, RAAQUU indeed is a secret space within the art world that is calling to be experienced and discovered.

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
– For this exhibition, I selected three of my works that represent the spontaneity, joy, color and individuality of RAAQUU. There are 2 oval vases and 1 globe vase on display which have a striking splash of color in contrast to their contemporary shapes. My work uses a hybrid technique that has its roots in a traditional Japanese ceramic technique that combines a more Western approach to produce a rainbow of colors. Every RAAQUU piece embodies a cross-cultural, global and human approach to ceramic art. The colors of each piece also speak to a very primal and human core that seeks individuality, beauty and attraction. I believe this was a great alignment of concept and artwork for Secret Spaces.

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
– Yes! As an emerging artist ( although not new ) from Malaysia, the diversity, inclusiveness and platform that the group provides are invaluable.

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
– I would say that the ITSLIQUID team provided professional support to ensure that my pieces arrived on time for the exhibition all the way from Malaysia. This included compliance and regulatory activities. I am looking forward to a long-term partnership for the growth of awareness of my pieces worldwide through the ITSLIQUID platform.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
– I believe ITSLIQUID plays a critical role in the art ecosystem, breaking down barriers and opening opportunities for artists like me to reach a global curated audience. One must appreciate how difficult this is for an artist to do by themselves especially when they are not native to the region. The infrastructure, events, messaging and community that the ITSLIQUID platform represents is an amazing platform and launchpad for artists around the world to create awareness of their work.

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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani
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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani
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Image courtesy of Adil Ghani

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