Where it was once considered an eyesore, fast forward a few decades, street art now has gained recognition for being the most important artistic movement this century. From New York to Sao Paulo, it is now reclaiming and redefining urban spaces everywhere.
Street art has its beginnings in graffiti writings. In the neighbourhood of Queens to Bronx, its existence acts as territorial markers used by tribes, gangs and warlords to demarcate. In other words, it is a street signage only the inducted could decipher. Yet its signature writing styles, vibrant and fanciful, were much favoured and copied by street artists. In the purest definition, street artists paints on anything except canvasses. But that was then as in the olden days as many, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Rammellzee, once buddies in arms, have broken the code in pursuit of livelihood and fame.
Donald Abraham was born in the era of Hip Hop music when breakdancing was the rage. Being raised in a coastal village in Sabah, he became a city boy embracing every aspect city life could offer — rap music, baggy jeans, skateboarding and spray can painting. Unbeknownst to him, street art became the soul with which he lived when he decided to pursue art full time. Being trained by many except for a formal art school, his particular brand arises without the constraints of formal teachings. He combines graffiti and doodles with the hallmarks of street art, cartoon like figures with a glorious stream of technicolor.
In this series of works spanning six years in the making, Donald lends his signature style to the canvas. His storyline varies. At times, funny, at times dark and at times wishful, a sparkle of spontaneity and a serving of “Chop Suey” (Chinese style mixed vegetable dish) drive him to paint the way he paints. Culminating every thought he has inside his mind into a cauldron of instances and sorts. The title to his paintings serves to delve the observer into his inner world. And when one could not find his signature, “Yak” is his graffiti tag which appears repeatedly on his canvasses.