United Kingdom, 1971
The work of Mustafa Hulusi (London, 1971) is profoundly influenced by his family history. Hulusi studied fine art at Goldsmiths’ College and photography at the Royal College of Art, both in London. Although he was born in the British capital, his parents and ancestors are from Cyprus. His work revolves around questions linked to the construction of an identity based on hereditary patterns. Hulusi works with photography, painting and video. In his paintings, he uses floral and geometric motifs rooted in Islamic tradition. The pieces verge on photorealism, with colours and compositions that may strike us as deeply familiar, even kitschy at times, because of the subject matter, the use of saturated colours and his compositional choices. Hulusi evokes his own, personal history in his work, as well as the construction of these motifs throughout art history. Afyon (2009) is a video installation comprising four projections. Each image shows panoramic views or tracking shots of opium poppy fields in bloom. The beauty of the images surrounding the spectator is seductive and draws them in. The title of the piece refers to the area in Turkey believed to be the birthplace of the plant. Since time immemorial, opium has been used in religious rituals, as poison, for healing purposes, as well as igniting wars or providing the means to fund them.