Artist:  Husni Osman

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Size:  244cm x 183cm

Year: 2015



The Witness sums up all the chapters of life of “City” Boy, giving it a grand finale.  Monumental and imposing, the circle of faces flowing from the bottom to the top can be likened to the river of people that have probably sculpted the path of this maturing man in the centre.

It is a true test of Husni’s ability to transition from smaller artworks that hint at his street portrait painting, such as Why Are You Wearing Those Blue Glasses? to larger-scale works.  His key technique – a vocabulary of undefined contours as well as fluid lines and brushstrokes is even more magnified and formidable here.  They are presented against a grainy, textured surface that has been worked, reworked and now resembles stone.

The face’s serene, neutral expression reflects the person Husni has become in the present.  Looking back, he understands that the little boy would have become a spoilt brat if he always got his way.  The previously hated experience of studying alongside acquaintances from unfamiliar social circles and standings has enabled him to be more open to the differing sentiments of those around him; he can now accept people in different phases of life without getting riled up by them.

That being said, The Witness is but a temporary stopping point for Husni at this juncture in time.  The river of faces that dissolve in a haze of light at the top right signify the unending flow of life, and as an artist Husni must, too, continue to evolve.  Having effectively demonstrated the progress of his painterly skills to a greater level in “City” Boy, The Witness serves as a peek into the future when Husni will answer the all-important question: “What’s next?”